What is GPS Fleet Tracking?
Fleet tracking involves using fleet tracking software (often including and making use of a GPS fleet tracker and fleet GPS tracking system, for instance) to both monitor and manage a fleet of vehicles. Through the use of a fleet tracking app or other ways of monitoring all of the vehicles in the fleet, a manager or business owner can gather and utilize data such as vehicle locations and driver behaviors to inform and increase fleet productivity.
In general, a fleet GPS tracking system works like this:
- A GPS fleet tracker is placed in each vehicle. The tracking device uses GPS and the cellular network to constantly determine its location, which it then sends to the central database or server.
- The GPS location data is then often shared on a map (which managers or owners can view at any time). Depending on the fleet tracking software you use, other data is often available in real-time as well, including driving speed, braking intensity, and more.
- In general, though, all a manager needs to do is login via a fleet tracking app or fleet tracking software and review the data—and with practice, they can use that data to make their scheduling and routes more efficient and more.
Many different companies offer support if you’re interested in investing in fleet tracking software or a fleet GPS tracking system, too. We’ll look at what some of those systems might look like, including benefits, software options (including fleet tracking app choices), pricing, and more, including our recommendations for the 10 best GPS fleet tracking companies and the best GPS tracking system for vehicles in your fleet, too. Let’s jump in!
What are the Benefits of Fleet Management?
As noted above, fleet tracking software can help you better manage your fleet. Not only can it help you determine which drivers are your best and which drivers need help to be the best drivers they can be—but with practice, a fleet GPS tracking system can help you revise routes and schedules to become more efficient, which can save you significant money.
Let’s look at some of the significant ways in which a fleet GPS tracking system can help make your business more profitable—especially if you handle freight, transportation, or delivery of goods.
- Fresh growth. Better dispatching allows companies to focus their energy elsewhere—which leads to additional jobs and projects. When you understand where your vehicles are, available time (and how to create additional jobs and projects with that time), and are able to schedule more efficiently, you can make better use of your profits—which can, in turn, allow for better growth.
- Fleet report automation. Depending on what data you need, whether for reporting or for internal use, odds are good that your fleet tracking software can automate the creation of those reports, which in turn frees up time and energy elsewhere. Additionally, having those automated reports can help you adjust your fleet behavior to work more efficiently.
- Improved fuel efficiency. One of the best ways to use those automated reports is in analyzing driver behavior to increase fuel efficiency, for instance. Fuel savings alone can greatly increase profitability for your fleet.
- Improved fleet safety. By gathering driver data courtesy fleet tracking software, fleet managers and owners can help bring dangerous behaviors to drivers’ attention. That, in turn, results in a safer fleet.
- Improved insurance benefits. Similarly, a safer fleet also may cost you less in insurance, as many insurance companies will provide discounts if they can see a strong record of using GPS fleet tracker data to improve driver behavior and implement safety policies.
- Improved customer service. Better and more efficient schedules and routes may result in customers getting their deliveries more quickly, and that, in turn, may well mean more loyal and happier customers.
As you can see, the list of ways a GPS fleet tracker and fleet tracking software can help you improve your company’s bottom line is quite lengthy—and well worth their cost.
What is Fleet Management Software?
Any software application (including any fleet tracking app, for instance) that helps companies track, manage, and coordinate fleet vehicles from a central system. Ideally, fleet management software not only keeps a fleet running smoothly but additionally helps ensure fleets comply with any and all applicable regulations, reduce fuel- (and other related) costs, and improve efficiency and performance.
Common fleet management software features include:
- GPS tracking
- Route planning and optimization
- Cargo optimization
- Fleet maintenance scheduling
- Dispatch and route scheduling
- Price and quote management
Additionally, much of this is done in real-time, sometimes even courtesy a fleet tracking app; some systems allow drivers to see some of their own driving data, for instance, courtesy an app. Even better, this data collection often means that companies can create driver profiles that including routes, instances in which they speed (and by how much), idling time, and more.
Most of these systems use a combination of networks, including GPS, GLONASS, and/or cellular triangulation. Some systems offer remote control capabilities as well, meaning fleet managers can manually override drivers to limit speed. Similar remote features may include security measures that can help prevent stolen cargo or vehicles. Other ways in which fleet management software can help improve business operations include tracking vehicle acquisition and vehicle disposal as fleet vehicles are turned over, tracking maintenance records and mechanical issues, insurance records, keeping up with government regulation, and even helping manage driver licenses.
As a result, fleet management software benefits not just fleet managers and owners, but also inspectors, drivers, procurement specialists, data analysts, technicians, and more. A wide range of industries make use of fleet management software, too, including utilities, government, energy, transportation and freight, education, and much more.
Benefits of utilizing fleet management software and fleet tracking software include
- Reduced wear and tear, mechanical issues, and maintenance costs;
- Improved parts inventory management;
- Increased efficiency both in scheduling and routes;
- Increased vehicle life;
- Increased customer satisfaction;
- Improved regulatory compliance;
- Improved worker productivity; and
- Optimized inventory tracking and delivery.
GPS Fleet Tracking Pricing
Of course, with the wide range in options when it comes to choosing a fleet GPS tracking system—especially as every fleet tracking software comes with different features—there’s also a wide range of pricing structures. Some fleet tracking software comes at a set base rate, for instance, whereas other GPS fleet tracker options might charge on a per-vehicle basis or per fleet tracker app user. As a result, it can take some research to figure out what choices might work best for you, your company, and your budget.
These are some of the questions you should consider:
- What is your budget? Determine what your budget is overall, as well as per vehicle, per user, and so forth.
- How many users will be using each level of the fleet tracking software? That is, how many people will need administrative privileges, how many people might a fleet tracking app, how many people will need a GPS fleet tracker on their vehicle?
- What are your end goals? That is, which pieces of data are most important to you? Are you hoping that the fleet GPS tracking system will help you with scheduling and load management, or are you simply looking to keep an eye on your company vehicles? Do you need driver safety data?
- How will you implement the data to improve your business? If, for instance, the fleet tracking software you choose can help you design better schedules and routes, will you actually use that to improve your business? Try to be realistic, and know that you can only implement so many changes so quickly and still do so effectively.
GPS Tracking Systems For Small Business
When it comes to small business, those questions we asked you to consider in the list above become especially important. Small businesses usually have smaller margins and less room for error, so being very intentional in your choices when it comes to selecting the right fleet GPS tracking system and the right fleet tracking software for your business needs becomes especially important. Verizon, Sprint, and other cellular network service providers or carriers may also be options. If you don’t choose to invest in a dedicated GPS fleet tracker for each company vehicle, another option might be simply investing in company phones, which allow you to track employees as well.
Let’s look at some of your other options in the sections below.
GPS Tracking Companies in the USA
There are a wide range of companies in the United States that offer fleet tracking software, so let’s look at some of the best. For instance, check out our list of the 10 best GPS fleet tracking companies:
- LandAirSea. Not only is the LandAirSea 54 one of our favorite GPS trackers, but their full suite of options means that you’re likely to find a solution that works for you. The Flashback GPS is (hard as it may be to believe) potentially even better than the LandAirSea 54, and the odds are good that whatever GPS fleet tracker LandAirSea designs next will be even better. It’s hard to go wrong with one of the leading GPS companies in the world.
- GPS Tracker Shop. Their Driving Activity Reporter is one of our favorite data loggers on the market, and they offer a wide range of fleet tracking app and other options for businesses working on a budget.
- Tracking System Direct. With one of the more diverse client rosters, Tracking System Direct is able to work with you to customize the approach you need for your GPS fleet tracker to be most effective. Even better, they offer free technical support 24/7, ensuring that when you run into trouble you can get the help you need when you need it.
- GPS Trackit. With a 30-day money-back guarantee, it’s clear that GPS Trackit expects you to see results quickly—and with more than 1,500 reviews on their site, it’s clear that lots of other businesses have done precisely that. They’re especially skilled at helping businesses comply with any and all relevant regulations. Unlike many other GPS tracking companies, there are no long-term contracts or cancellation fees, either.
- Verizon Connect. Verizon Connect similarly offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, and is generally considered one of the best options for mid-sized fleets (though they also work with large companies, such as Pepsi-Cola and Costco). Their systems are generally plug-and-play, too, meaning set-up is generally rather straightforward. That said, they do generally require a 3-year contract.
- Teletrac Navman. One of the top choices for small businesses, Teletrac Navman is great at working with businesses to help scale up their fleet GPS tracking system as needed. They also offer geofencing and a wide range of compliance features. Like Verizon Connect, however, they require a 3-year contract.
- Quartix. Offering some of the best reporting features, Quartrix also only requires a 1-year contract. They also offer much more straightforward pricing than many of their comparable competitors.
- Samsara. While Samsara is one of the newer entries to the GPS fleet tracker marketplace, they offer some of the best fleet tracking software. Like Verizon Connect, most of their software is plug-and-play, as well, often taking less than 15 minutes to install.
- NexTraq. If safety is your key consideration, NexTraq is one of the best options available. Features such as DriveGuard (which prevents drivers from using their phones while driving, for instance) and scorecards which can help you identify which drivers need further education and training to become safer drivers.
- Rhino Fleet Tracking. Rhino offers a range of services, including landmark designation (so you can tell if drivers are spending too long at any one stop), maintenance scheduling, speed reports, and time sheet checks, among more.
What is the Best GPS Tracking System for Vehicles?
Okay, so that helps examine some of the best American fleet GPS tracking system options. But what is the best GPS tracking system for any given vehicle? Let’s check out some of the best options available to you if you’re just looking for a GPS fleet tracker.
The Top 7 Fleet GPS Trackers
- SilverCloud OverDrive. Yet another fantastic offering from LandAirSea, the SilverCloud OverDrive offers real-time updates (with frequency options as often as every 3 seconds), accuracy within less than 10 feet, a rechargeable battery (which lasts up to 30 days), and unlimited data and usage.
- SilverCloud Sync GPS. Our top OBD (on-board diagnostic) choice, LandAirSea’s SilverCloud Sync GPS offers all the features of the SilverCloud online mapping platform, but with the added bonuses of OBD data, including speed, battery and fuel indicators, idling time, and even rapid acceleration notices.
- Flashback GPS. LandAirSea’s best passive GPS data logger, the Flashback GPS can record up to 50 hours of data and offers location accuracy within six feet. This is one of the best options for fleets that return to a central base regularly, such as trucking and delivery companies.
- SpyTec STI GL300 mini Portable. SpyTec’s GL300 is one of the smallest trackers available, so if you need a device that you must hide, the GL300 is one of the best options available. Additionally, the GL300 offers both a two-week battery life and can be paired with a fleet tracking app, as well—either SpyTec GPS for iOS or Track Pro 2.0 for Android.
- LandAirSea 54. With plans that range from live updates every three seconds to once every minute, there’s a reason LandAirSea 54 is one of the most popular real-time GPS trackers on the market today; it’s versatile, small, and offers a wide range of features at an approachable price point.
- MasTrack MT-OBD Live Vehicle Tracker. One of our favorite OBD GPS fleet tracker options, the MasTrack MT-OBD also offers a fleet tracking app for both iOS and Android, meaning you can monitor your vehicle in real time and with a wide range of data available as well.
- Optimus Tracker GPS Tracker. Optimus offers several different options, including portable and OBD options, and their customer service is great. Personally, we’re fans of their OBD tracker, because of the extra data it makes available, but any of their options may work for your needs.
How does OBD GPS Tracker Work?
On-board Diagnostic (OBD) GPS trackers work by utilizing the vehicle’s own on-board diagnostic computer system, meaning they have access to all of the vehicle’s data, including speed, braking and accelerating, even maintenance schedules. As a result, OBD GPS fleet tracker options often are a great choice for business owners and fleet managers that need more information about how their drivers behave. OBD-enabled data can help identify drivers who need safety training, as well as identify drivers who may no longer be a good fit for their organization as a result of safety concerns. All of that can make your organization better.
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