Fleet Management

Fleet tracking is the use of GPS technology to identify, locate and maintain contact reports with one or more fleet vehicles in real-time. Immediate access to the location history of individual fleet vehicles allows precisely time-managed, current and forward journey planning, responsive to changing travelling conditions.

A study entitled Improving Productivity and Profitability through Service Fleet Management[1] reports[on how fleet management impacts on both small and large businesses, was published by the [[Aberdeen Group], March 2008.

In the report, businesses were grouped together based on the size of their fleet:

  • 1 to 10 were characterized as small
  • 11 to 50 as medium small
  • 51 to 250 as medium
  • 251 to 1000 as medium large
  • More than 1000 as large

The report also measured the main reasons cited by businesses seeking increased efficiency through the implementation of fleet tracking technology. An intention to improve the customer experience through better response times was listed as a top priority by 73 per cent of fleet repondents.

Other reasons businesses cited for wishing to implement some form of GPS vehicle tracking technology were:

  • Reduce service response times (57%)
  • Reduce fleet related operating costs (46%)
  • Increase service related productivity (41%)
  • Extend life of service vehicles (16%)

Applications of commercial vehicle tracking solutions in the fields of transport, logistics, haulage and multi-drop delivery environments can include optimised fleet utilisation, real-time operational enhancements and dynamically remote-managed fleets. Fleet tracking is scalable by design and interfaces with the logistics industry’s leading back-office systems[2].

Rising fuel costs constantly challenge fleet operators to maintain movement of vehicles and monitor driver behaviour to avoid delaying traffic conditions by either, combining deliveries, reconfiguring routes or rescheduling timetables. This aims to maximise the number of deliveries while minimising time and distance. It has been found that even restricting the number of left hand turns can improve on time, efficiency and energy savings[3].

Fuel Economy

Fleet managers and drivers operating within both large and small companies, have realised an average savings of nearly 25 percent in reduced ‘downtime costs’ due to maintenance management programmes using a GPS fleet management solution[4].

A company with a fleet of 20 vehicles (medium small business) can typically have one vehicle out of service for unscheduled repairs at least twice every month at an average cost of £ 419 a day (the cost may vary according to industry)[4]. A simple 25% reduction in this unscheduled soft cost can result in an annual savings of nearly £ 2, 514 based on the following formula:

Cost:

£419 x 2 days = £ 838 per month
£838 x 12 months = £ 10,056 per year

Savings:

25% savings x £10, 056 (year) = £ 2,514 per year

Escalating oil prices are increasing costs for many businesses, particularly those with large vehicle fleets, adding a powerful financial impetus to the search for fuel efficiencies. Implementing real-time vehicle tracking as part of a commercial company’s mobile resource management policy is essential for comprehensive operational control, remote driver security and fuel savings[5].

Reduction in Carbon Emissions

One example of how fleet tracking technology has a significant role to play in both a measurable reduction in fuel consumption and clear environmental benefits by the reduction in carbon emissions is Interserve, an engineering and support services company, who have both saved 15 per cent of its fuel costs and seen a drop in CO² by tracking its vehicles with satellites[6].

Interserve is using an advanced vehicle tracking system[6],which works over a web browser and updates vehicle location reports every 20 seconds. It also displays mileage information, live traffic information and exception reporting. According to Mark Stimpson, the commercial director for Interserve, fuel bills were estimated to be cut between 10 and 20 per cent.

Using GPS vehicle tracking technology and viewing interactive maps online enabled the company to see where it was losing money, time and wasting fuel (such as on duplicated journeys).

Case study

In the Autumn of 2008, a winter maintenance tracking solution was supplied on the Highways Agency‘s new winter service fleet which is responsible for keeping all of the UK’s motorway and major A roads free from snow and ice during ther winter period.

The Highways Agency will be able to monitor route treatment progress in real-time and provide customers with more reliable information on road conditions. The telematics system gives the contractors the ability to monitor location-based information, monitor planned versus actual activity, to react to problems and to be confident that roads have been adequately treated. The system also records whether the vehicles are spreading, the rate of and pattern of spreading, width and lane position, and ploughing[7].

Tracking and the Law

In some countries, there are legal concerns over using tracking technology. In the UK, for example, the law stipulates that companies must inform drivers if they use telematics to monitor vehicles for purposes other than asset tracking[8].

Future Growth

The current worldwide market for fleet tracking powered by Global Positioning Systems (GPS) receiver technology is estimated at more than £1 billion and is expected to grow to more than £15 billion during the next 10 years[8].

References

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