GPS Tracking Systems Big Savers For Small Firms

From an article in The Australian Financial Review 4th October 2012 featuring IntelliTrac and Navman Wireless

Click Here to View Original Article in The Australian Financial Review

On track .?.?. improved vehicle allocation with modern GPS technologies can save owners up to 25 per cent

On track .?.?. improved vehicle allocation with modern GPS technologies can save owners up to 25 per cent

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By:- Mark Abernethy

GPS location technologies have been used to reduce fleet costs for large organisations for at least a decade. But while large fleet owners have reduced operating costs and increased productivity by fitting GPS and data devices to their vehicles, small and medium sized businesses have traditionally stayed out of the market, either for lack of funds or low awareness.

That situation has changed, according to fleet management service providers, as not only devices and software are packaged more affordably for small business owners but high-powered computing also becomes ubiquitous.

“The original fleet management systems were enterprise grade,” says Ian Daniel, managing director of Navman Wireless Asia-Pacific.

“It wasn’t just the set-up cost per vehicle that kept the smaller guys out of the picture – it was also the technology requirements back at the office. Most SMBs [small and medium sized businesses] were not properly equipped.”

Daniel says the fleet management industry is servicing the 1.5 million small and medium sized businesses in Australia, as small fleet operators see how much they can save by using location services on their vehicles.

Navman Wireless uses two technologies: GPS and the cellular data networks, Daniel says.

When vehicles are fitted with the boxes the owner is able to see the whereabouts at all times of his or her vehicles, and the data associated with the journey is streamed over the cellular network and into the owners’ own system.

Daniel says the typical business owner is saving between 10 and 15?per cent in fuel costs by being able to properly allocate vehicles to jobs – by knowing which are closest to the next job – and by using routing software to get them there most efficiently.

Fuel savings are the most obvious advantages; business owners also use the systems to increase

productivity, improve customer service and better manage risk, thereby decreasing insurance premiums and accident costs.

“In the SMB space, timely response is very important,” Daniel says. “Being able to take a job request, see where all of your vehicles are, and then commit to the job, is an important tool. It makes clients happier and it allows you to reduce overtime in your workforce.”

He says Navman Wireless has a product in which the business owner can track driver behaviour in the vehicles, which means measures such as speeding, over-idling and over-braking are collected by the system’s software.

The next frontier of the GPS systems, he says, is treating the vehicle as an article of business intelligence integrating directly into accounting systems.

This is a direction also being pursued by Melbourne-based IntelliTrac.

“The most obvious part of the GPS service is dots on a map,” says IntelliTrac CEO Dean Calapai. “But the real value to business owners is bringing together vehicles, time and location as management reporting – a business efficiency tool so you get the most out of the asset.

“The next phase that we’re selling now is management reports integrating straight into the accounting systems.”

The IntelliTrac integrated system is called iDispatch and allows remote invoicing, FBT reporting, photos

to be taken, documents to be downloaded and sent, signatures to be made on an iPhone and Android, and even receipts to be collected.

IntelliTrac sells its basic black box for $199 and charges $27 per month to host the programs and the data clients use. Even in the basic product – where routing, pick-up/drop-off, time management and fuel/maintenance costs can be tracked for each vehicle – Calapai says clients get impressive results.

“We have over 20,000 vehicles running our black boxes, and the data from those vehicles really tells the story,” Calapai says.

The story is that businesses with a fleet of five vehicles enjoy an average benefit of 24.97 per cent. That’s not only from savings in fuel, maintenance and overtime, but also from extra work.

“Clients with this product can put on an extra two jobs per vehicle per week,” Calapai says.

“They can also expand their business without buying more vehicles. We have clients who analyse their vehicle activity and reassign low-performing vehicles when they want to open a new branch”

The Australian Financial Review

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