When choosing a GPS tracking service, you should ensure that the hardware and software can provide you with access to the data you need to improve and streamline operations.
Hardware and Installation
All GPS fleet management services we reviewed offer plug-and-play hardware, including the trackers themselves. They plug into the OBD-II port on your vehicle. With most providers, it takes around 10 minutes to install a device and connect it to the software. You can move GPS trackers between vehicles at any time.
Some providers offer hard-wired trackers. They require professional installation, often at an additional cost. They are less prone to tampering and do not require as much maintenance.
Most providers offer dashcams (many of them powered by artificial intelligence), asset trackers, trailer trackers, heavy equipment trackers and driver ID readers.
Driver Safety and Performance
GPS fleet management systems allow companies to monitor the performance of their drivers for safety and fuel efficiency.
Incidents of unsafe driving that wastes fuel are recorded and sent to the control dashboard, including events like harsh driving, speeding, hard braking, rapid acceleration, aggressive cornering, idling, fuel usage, cell phone distractions, unauthorized usage and engine on/off times.
Some systems create driver quality scores from this information, allowing you to see which drivers are behaving responsibly and which may need additional training.
Vehicle Condition and Maintenance
Maintaining the health of your fleet is imperative to reduce costs and increase safety and performance. Fleet management software can record the fuel level, battery voltage, odometer reading and coolant and engine temperatures of each company vehicle. The sensors within your vehicle hardware also alert you to DTCs that indicate emerging problems, sending fault data to your control dashboard.
Many fleet tracking platforms allow you to set a timetable for preventive maintenance.
Alerts and Reports
Many systems send automatic alerts to drivers, system admins and supervisors and people at destinations where your vehicles are headed. Choose what you want them to be notified of and the system will take care of it.
For example, in addition to DTC alerts, you can tell the system to notify you and your driver of unsafe driving habits in real time.
Your system collects and stores a lot of data on vehicles, drivers and trips. You can run reports on that data to identify driver training needs and fuel consumption trends, such as fuel wasted through unsafe or poor driving habits.
These reports provide the insight you need to save money and increase efficiency across your business.
Location and Navigation
All GPS fleet management systems send back each vehicle’s position at intervals between one second and five minutes. You’ll be able to see each vehicle in real time on your control dashboard map, many of which allow you to click in to see which driver is behind the wheel, when they started their trip, their final destination, their estimated time of arrival and other notes.
Most systems offer in-cab driving directions to drivers, often via a mobile app. This allows drivers to take the quickest and most efficient route. This type of GPS navigation is different from car navigation services offered by Google and Apple. Professional GPS navigation will direct drivers to roads that are legal to drive on depending on the type and size of vehicle they’re driving.
If real-time reporting is important to you, make sure the vendor you select truly offers it. Only a few of the companies we reviewed offer reporting from one second to the next.
Fleet management systems are controlled via the online dashboard. All providers have attempted to create an intuitive user interface, although some providers do this better than others. For brand-new fleet tracking system users, you may want to choose a provider with an extensive online knowledge base that offers tips and techniques about how to get the most from your system.
Some mobile apps offer system supervisors and administrators the full range of features available on the PC/Mac desktop dashboard; however, some providers offer limited mobile functionality.
Many providers offer REST API interfaces, allowing data on the platform to be integrated into third-party programs like Salesforce and other top CRM software solutions.
Customer service levels vary from provider to provider. Some offer 24/7 access while others are available during working hours only. Some make it easy to speak with representatives on the phone, while others prefer you to communicate by email, help desk or ticketing system. A few companies provide named accounts or customer success representatives to customers.