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GPS Fleet Management Buyer's Guide

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Is fleet tracking right
for my business?
G P S F L E E T M A N A G E M E N T B U Y E R ’ S G U I D E
TA B L E O F C O N T E N T S
Why You Should Read This Guide
How GPS Fleet Tracking Works
Features & Benefits of GPS Fleet ...
Selecting the right GPS fleet tracking solution for your business is not an easy
decision or one to take lightly. With an ...
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GPS Fleet Management Buyer's Guide

  1. 1. Is fleet tracking right for my business? G P S F L E E T M A N A G E M E N T B U Y E R ’ S G U I D E
  2. 2. TA B L E O F C O N T E N T S Why You Should Read This Guide How GPS Fleet Tracking Works Features & Benefits of GPS Fleet Tracking Checklist for GPS Fleet Tracking Providers The NexTraq™ Fleet Tracking Platform 3 4 6 9 10
  3. 3. Selecting the right GPS fleet tracking solution for your business is not an easy decision or one to take lightly. With an increase in the number of solutions available in the marketplace, finding your way through the considerable amount of choices can seem like a daunting challenge. The features and benefits of each solution can and should differ depending on your company’s needs. A GPS vehicle tracking solution is not a “one size fits all” solution. The needs of a small to medium-sized business varies greatly compared to a large enterprise organization’s needs. Finding the right system for your business requires careful research of available options and solutions. T H I S G U I D E I S A G R E AT S TA R T To start, take a moment and consider your daily operations. Are you a small HVAC company that makes service calls to residential locations within a small metro area? Or, are you a national food and beverage distribution company that needs to track vehicles that could be anywhere nationwide? Choosing the solution that fits your company’s size will make installing the system easier and get more of your employees on board. In an Aberdeen Group benchmark study, 66 percent of respondents said enhanced productivity and resource utilization was the most important factor that pushed them towards a GPS vehicle tracking solution. 45 percent of all respondents said they needed to speed up delivery of their services to consumers. Consider what you’d like to get out of a fleet tracking solution. This buyer’s guide will help you navigate the path to purchasing and adopting a fleet tracking system and find the soution that maximizes your revenue while reducing operating costs. The solution should not only be easy to use, but should provide a quick return on investment. When it comes to adopting a business solution, it always comes down to your bottom line. In this guide, you’ll see how GPS fleet tracking technology works, what the technology has to offer businesses and you’ll see how real customers have put the system to use with great success. Finally, we’ll provide you with a checklist for what you should look for when purchasing a solution. Thanks for downloading this guide! Best of luck to you and your business! W H Y Y O U S H O U L D R E A D T H I S G U I D E 3 Adopting a new business solution can be a daunting process. Even after you begin to research a solution, you may start to feel doubt about whether it’s right for you. Regardless of what your business does and how many vehicles you have – whether it’s 5 or 500 – a tracking solution can work for you. Here are just some of the industries that have found success with GPS fleet tracking: HVAC Construction Electrical Plumbing Waste Management Cable/Telecom Food & Beverage Delivery Landscaping & Tree Service Pest Control Paratransit Security Services Government Utilities Is fleet tracking right for my business?
  4. 4. 3 W W W There are two basic types of GPS tracking: active and passive tracking. These two systems differ a lot. While they both track vehicles using GPS satellite signals and let you view that data in a map interface, the big difference is in how the data is delivered to you and the ability to react in real time. A C T I V E T R A C K I N G 1 The US has approximately 34 GPS satellites in orbit around Earth. These satellites allow devices to pinpoint their location. Installed inside each vehicle is a device that reads GPS signals and transfers that data through cell towers or satellite networks. Cellular (both CDMA & GPRS) or satellite networks read and transmit data in real time. The solution provider's servers receive the vehicle data — speed, location, heading — from the cell networks and begin to churn through the information. The servers are accessible via the Internet. Using a customer portal, users can log in and receive real-time updates about where their vehicles are, where they're heading and how long they've been stopped — among other things. This is most often done using only a web browser. 4 5 3 P A S S I V E T R A C K I N G 1 Passive tracking use the same GPS satellite links as active tracking solutions. Realistically, we only "see" about 16 satellites at any point and only 12 are really needed for an accurate position within 10 meters. Installed inside each vehicle is a device that reads GPS signals and stores that data. Devices can be battery- operated or hardwired into the vehicle. They can also be installed into the ODM port. Using either a close-range wireless connection (WIFI) or by removing the device and connecting it to a computer, users download historical data from their device. Software installed on the computer then plots out the historical data. 6 2 2 H O W G P S F L E E T T R A C K I N G T E C H N O L O G Y W O R K S 4
  5. 5. While the same basic technology drives both tracking systems, there are some pretty sub- stantial differences for different end users. For businesses, the difference between active and passive tracking can be great. Depending on the nature of your business, and your day-to-day needs, the pros and cons of each can range from dealmakers to deal breakers. A C T I V E V E R S U S P A S S I V E T R A C K I N G 5 A C T I V E T R A C K I N G P A S S I V E T R A C K I N G PROS Real-time data Can reroute vehicles based on business Can make workday decisions Can handle issues as they arise Help vehicles arrive at their destination React to real-time traffic data Solutions allow for smart phone access to data Relatively inexpensive one-time cost No installation costs Gives accurate view of routes driven CONS Monthly fee Often requires contract Requires cell data coverage Must download data often enough or memory will overwrite itself Cannot make decisions on the fly Cannot communicate with driver through device Cannot be used to track stolen vehicles Data cannot easily be accessed on multiple computers or smart phones W H AT F L E E T T R A C K I N G C U S T O M E R S S AY: “We originally had a low cost solution that didn’t provide enough functionality for our company. Because we lease space for our trucks throughout our market area, it was important to track vehicle movement at a moment’s notice.” - Jeff Dumas, Vice President of Acres Group North
  6. 6. So now that you know how the technology works, you’re probably wondering how it can benefit your business. The features of each solution provider do differ, but many offer the same basic functionality. F E AT U R E S & B E N E F I T S O F G P S F L E E T T R A C K I N G T E C H N O L O G Y 6 Mapping Using the device locations, fleet tracking software will plot where your vehicles are on a mapping interface. Depending on the service, map software can be proprietary – meaning it must be installed on a computer – or web- based, meaning you can access the map with just your Internet browser. Some mapping software offers familiar tools, such as satellite view, zooming and panning and a street-level snapshot. Locations & Geofences Within the mapping interface, you should be able to define locations as addresses and general areas. Locations can be job sites, customer businesses or even employees’ homes. Saved locations allow you to quickly route vehicles and also receive alerts when vehicles arrive at, or leave an area. Alerts With an active tracking solution, real-time information is available around the clock. But you shouldn’t have to hover over a computer all day. With alerts, fleet tracking systems let you know (either by text message or email) when a driver does something you’ve asked to be alerted about. Examples include speeding, first movement, excessive idling and after-hours use. Reports Generating reports through a fleet tracking system can help you see where your operations need improvement and where they are performing up to par. Many fleet tracking systems also integrate maintenance scheduling and reporting into the application. By running this report, you can see which vehicles need scheduled maintenance. Reports should be able to be created in multiple formats. Closest Vehicle When emergency situations arise, finding the closest vehicle to a location can make a big difference. With active tracking solutions, vehicles can be found based on how close they are to a given location. Routing Routing is an important feature of active tracking solutions. You can create a complete itinerary with multiple stops and then name and save any number of customized routes. Systems may also provide an efficient route tool, which reduces your fuel costs and makes drivers more productive by giving them the shortest route for their workday. Routes also help reduce your payroll expenses by reducing the number of overtime hours paid out to your employees.
  7. 7. F E AT U R E S & B E N E F I T S O F G P S F L E E T T R A C K I N G T E C H N O L O G Y 7 Dashboard Dashboard applications allow managers, drivers and dispatchers to see how their vehicles are performing over a period of time in an easy-to-understand, visual platform. The application should let you set benchmarks based on idle time, miles driven, engine-on hours, stopped time, moving time and speeding violations. You should also be able to define what time period and vehicles you are looking at. Map Overlay Solutions with a robust product will often offer web map services. With web map services, you can overlay your map data onto the applications. This gives you a view of where your vehicles are in relation to your points of interest. This is especially helpful for those who deal with locations not found on standard maps. Custom integration can also pull in weather radar, making sure your employees stay ahead of a storm. Sensors Many solutions offer sensors that monitor different aspects of your vehicles. Other sensors include temperature sensors (for refrigerated cargo), Power Take Off (PTO) sensors (for equipment operation) and Pick Up/Drop Off sensors (for passenger transport). These sensors can be especially helpful if a claim is ever made against your business. W H AT F L E E T T R A C K I N G C U S T O M E R S S AY: “If there is a customer dispute about the hours our technicians spend at a location, I can pull up the report and validate time spent on the job. With this data in hand, our billing and customer invoices are accurate and we aren’t losing service revenue.” - Louis Turner, Operations Coordinator for Premium Electric Historical Replay (Breadcrumbs) A major advantage of both active and passive tracking systems is their ability to replay a driver’s route. With passive tracking systems, the data is stored on a device that then has to be transferred onto a computer – usually by plugging in the device. An active tracking system uploads the data to a web server that can be accessed by any web browser. Historical replay allows you to see if your drivers are sticking to their approved routes and scheduled stops. With this functionality, there’s no need to hover over a computer to watch your drivers’ every move. Asset Tracking Some systems will offer to track assets as well as vehicles. These devices are more rugged for outside mounting and can be hard-wired into the power supply, fed by battery power or a combination of the two. Asset trackers generally only send signals a few times a day, as opposed to continuous trackers on vehicles. They can run on cellular or satellite networks, so they can be used to track anything, at any time, anywhere. They can also report back information such as engine-on hours or unauthorized movement. Starter Interrupt In the event of theft, or unauthorized use, this feature can remotely deactivate the starter on the vehicle, preventing the vehicle from being started.
  8. 8. F E AT U R E S & B E N E F I T S O F G P S F L E E T T R A C K I N G T E C H N O L O G Y 8 Dispatching With active tracking solutions, there is often an added feature available, which allows businesses to route drivers on the fly. Dispatching functionality may integrate with personal navigation devices (PNDs) and can feature job scheduling. This is especially helpful when responding to emergency situations where time is critical. Messaging Along with routing, dispatch solutions can offer messaging features that work with the PND or other devices. Common responses can be stored – called canned messages – to minimize the time a driver has to spend replying to the dispatcher. With cell phone based tracking solutions, this feature is already built in by the nature of the device, though the carrier may have a per message charge. Role Hierarchy Some systems will allow you to organize access to certain vehicles based on your business. For instance, a division manager may only see his employees, while a higher-level manager may see all vehicles. This is especially important for larger organizations that have numerous divisions. Driver ID For businesses that don’t assign drivers a permanent vehicle, Driver ID allows for a “check out” using a key fob or other sign-in credential. The system then knows which driver is using which vehicle. M O R E I N F O R M AT I O N : Fleet tracking systems vary greatly and can offer services other than the ones listed here. For the best insight, contact a sales representative for a demonstration. The demo should be free.
  9. 9. C H E C K L I S T F O R C H O O S I N G A G P S F L E E T T R A C K I N G S O L U T I O N 9 For many companies it is easy to realize the benefit of GPS Fleet Tracking, but it can be difficult to choose between the ever-growing numbers of companies that provide the service. When considering providers, it is important to look at the company. Here is a simple checklist with the top 10 things all providers should have. L O N G E V I T Y GPS fleet tracking providers come and go. They should be financially stable and, even though this is a relatively young industry, they should have a proven track record of at least 10 years. V A L U E Value doesn’t mean the cheapest solution. It means the total package, including the company, its solutions, the people and their level of commitment to your success. R E L I A B I L I T Y Unexpected outages are not unheard of but should not be accepted. Companies should have a system uptime in the 99.999% range. A B E S T- I N - C L A S S I N S TA L L E R N E T W O R K Companies should use installers that are not only conve- nient and local to their customers but that are the best at what they do. All installers should be certified to ensure a smooth and seamless implementation. I N N O V AT I O N A quality provider should have industry-leading technology with extensive investments in research and development. They should have a proven record of industry firsts. They should also have an aggressive software development roadmap. All upgrades should be automatically applied and should be provided for free. T O TA L C O V E R A G E Not only should the company offer both CDMA and GPRS, they should offer satellite coverage as well. They should offer top quality hardware that is diverse enough to track any type of vehicle or asset. S T R AT E G I C P A R T N E R S H I P S The best GPS fleet tracking companies have industry leading technology and solution partners to provide great features and value to their customers. These partners should include mapping partners, network providers, fuel card companies and other 3rd party vendors that can fully integrate with their clients’ business applications. E X T E N S I V E T R A I N I N G Training should be free, unlimited and ongoing. It should offer new user orientation and advanced training. The company should have dedicated training resources to ensure that customers are getting the most out of the solution. S U P E R I O R C U S T O M E R S E R V I C E A company’s customer service associates should be highly knowledgeable, professional and should respond quickly to customer requests. Moreover, they should be available nights and weekends as well as during normal working hours. S AT I S F I E D C U S T O M E R S Providers should have customers that realize ROI in as little as a month and cite up to a 20% decrease in fuel costs and an increase in driver productivity by 35%. They should have a customer referral rate around 95%. They should also have case studies and customer testimonials as proof of their reliability.
  10. 10. M O R E I N F O R M AT I O N : For more on the NexTraq Fleet Tracking platform and its host of applications, please visit nextraq.com or call 800-358-6178. One of our sales representatives will be happy to provide a free online product demonstration. Thank you for taking the time to look through this buyer’s guide. We know you’re well on your way to understanding what features are available for fleet tracking solutions. While you’re considering new solutions, please consider the NexTraq™ Fleet Tracking platform and its applications – Fleet Metrics, Fleet Dispatch and Fleet Mobile. T H E N E X T R A Q ™ G P S F L E E T T R A C K I N G S O L U T I O N 10 T H E N E X T R A Q F L E E T T R A C K I N G P L AT F O R M T H E N E X T R A Q F L E E T M E T R I C S A P P L I C AT I O N ( A B O V E ) A N D C L E A R P AT H R O U T I N G ( B E L O W ) QUICK FACTS: All NexTraq hardware is MADE IN AMERICA Customers have seen a return on their investment in just 1 month MONTH 195PERCENT of customers would refer us to another business

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