Saturday, April 4, 2009

Myths About GPS Fleet Tracking

The common objections to implementing GPS tracking capabilities in a fleet are all based on reasonable assumptions — but, the actual experience users have had with this technology tells a much different, and more encouraging, story.

MYTH 1. We don’t need GPS tracking because we trust our people.

GPS tracking is not about monitoring employees’ every move. It’s about reducing operating costs and inefficiencies in the field. GPS tracking systems have proven to reduce fuel and maintenance costs, increase routing and dispatching efficiency, provide safety and security for drivers, and increase response speed and accuracy to customer questions.
$ Employees are generally good. You know about the “bad apple”, but without GPS do you have the proof?
$ What about the good employees? Do you know much are they using your vehicles for personal use?
$ If your employees are using your vehicles for personal use, then aren’t they creating wear on your vehicle, using your gas, and using your company time? What’s the cost to your company?
$ Do you know if your employees are doing any ‘work on the side’ (moonlighting) with your vehicle?
$ Are your employees putting your company at risk by doing any work ‘on the side’ (moonlighting) with your vehicle?
$ Without GPS monitoring, how much is the cost to your company in wasted time & wasted fuel?


MYTH 2. All our drivers will quit if we get GPS tracking.

Experience with thousands of customers contradicts this belief. In fact, once field employees gain experience with GPS tracking, they depend on it for routing information, roadside assistance, verification of work performed on time, etc. In many cases, GPS tracking eliminates time-consuming paperwork and provides additional security for both drivers and cargo while on the road.

“Our guys have adapted very well to the system. We didn’t have anybody leave, and now the drivers are starting to realize the benefits of the system for them,” said Clay Phillips, president, Ross & Witmer HVAC, Charlotte, N.C.

Many drivers will “get on the GPS bandwagon”, especially since it :
$ verifies their good behaviour
$ gives proof of delivery and service call times, (ie. employee’s word against customer’s word)
$ gives proof of meeting performance goals
$ increases their safety


MYTH 3. GPS tracking systems are complicated to install and use.

Most fleet tracking systems comprise the same basic components: a GPS receiver installed in each vehicle and a user interface that organizes and displays gathered information. Both installation and use of these systems are simple.

A reputable, experienced GPS tracking vendor works with fleet managers to:

  • Implement the fleet management solution as seamlessly as possible.
  • Interpret system data and apply it improve the operational efficiencies.
  • Provide knowledgeable, accessible technical and sales support to cover service issues.

MYTH 4. GPS tracking is unnecessary.

I can track my fleet well enough using cell phones/handhelds.
Though useful as communication tools, cell phones/handhelds cannot provide information useful to fleet managers: real-time vehicle location, engine status, history of stops and stop times, and other valuable metrics, such as mileage, fuel consumption, or speeding patterns. Cell phones and handhelds can be turned off easily, not carried in the vehicle, dropped/damaged, etc. Even when cell phones are functioning correctly, they track people rather than mobile assets.

“With handheld GPS cell phones, we were unable to track vehicles. We had some instances where employees would just simply turn the phones off. If the phone is turned off, you can’t track the trucks. The system becomes totally ineffective,” said John Boucher, founder & owner, Boucher Real Estate Co., Woonsocket, R.I.

$ How many hours per month do you waste asking drivers where they are?
$ Do you have some drivers who will tell you what you want to hear, not where they actually are?
$ What about the driver who doesn’t really know?
$ Without GPS monitoring, how much is the cost to your company in wasted time & wasted fuel?


MYTH 5. All GPS tracking systems are essentially equal.

“If you can tell me where all my vehicles are at any moment and can give me information about their daily activities, that’s good enough for me.” That demand sounds reasonable enough on the surface, but the business-enhancing potential of GPS systems for fleet management goes well beyond tracking dots on a map. Most GPS tracking service users realize the full impact of the gathered information only after regular use.

Many providers simply set up basic GPS tracking capabilities, but don’t commit to helping customers leverage this powerful technology to transform the way they do business. When evaluating GPS tracking providers, determine how much interest each has shown in learning about the customer’s business and specific requirements and goals.

This myth does does contain an element of truth, however. Technology is not the most important criterion in choosing a GPS tracking service provider. Experienced users know the relationship with the provider over the course of the service contract is where value truly lies.
“We started using the technology about five years ago, but quickly became unhappy with the system we had purchased. Once we had bought it, we had to maintain everything. It became clear that we needed a more capable and sophisticated GPS partner,” said John Doyle, director of technology & communications, Alure Home Improvements, Inc., Plainvew, N.Y.

MYTH 6. A GPS tracking system is another product I can buy to help make my business more productive.

GPS tracking should not be viewed as a product. Rather, fleet tracking is a service to which a fleet subscribes — a service that delivers information a fleet manager lacks the means to collect, but helps increase the company’s overall productivity and profitability.

All GPS tracking vendors ask customers to sign a service agreement, typically for three to four years. So the question is which vendor does the fleet manager trust to help manage the company’s mobile assets for the next several years? Service is the crucial factor when it comes to effective GPS fleet tracking.

MYTH 7. My company can’t afford a GPS tracking system.

Cost is an understandable concern. GPS tracking systems typically require an investment in hardware for each vehicle and a monthly fee for data and wireless services. However, these systems identified inefficiencies and practices in the field that already cost companies hundreds, or even thousands of dollars every month: excess overtime, inefficient routing, side trips, excess engine idling, reckless driving, etc. The cost of these inefficiencies often exceeds the monthly investment required for a GPS tracking service. Most fleet achieve an immediate return on investment after using the system, due to savings in overtime costs, fuel expenditures, lower insurance premiums, reduced vehicle maintenance, and more.

$ The truth is, you can’t afford NOT to use GPS tracking.
$ Return On Investment is typically one to three months.
$ No up front capital outlay. Only the first month payment. The complete GPS solution becomes an operating expense rather than a capital cost and you’ll have a tax deduction for the operating expense.
$ Without GPS monitoring, how much is the cost to your company in wasted time & wasted fuel?


MYTH 8. GPS tracking is an unproven technology.

GPS technology itself (the ability to locate and track objects at any time and in real-time using satellites and wireless communications) has been used effectively for decades. The core technology is now prevalent throughout the consumer market with such popular brands as Garmin and TomTom.

In commercial applications, GPS systems’ effectiveness in increasing productivity and reducing operational costs has been well-documented by reputable third-party sources.



MYTH 9. “Our company is so busy, we’d never use a GPS tracking system”



$ This is one of the top warning signs that your business is out of control …running you, instead of you running it.
$ Do you pay supervisors to watch the workers?
How much are you paying the supervisors to drive around and play ‘cat and mouse” games with the workers?
Can you afford to pay people to watch people? GPS “watches” automatically.
A GPS tracking system will empower supervisors to do supervisory work, while keeping track of employees better than any roving watchman ever could.
$ The GPS system can be setup and running within a couple of hours.

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