Fleet tracking is a necessary element of running any logistics business. Similar to asset tracking, you need to be aware of where your vehicles are at all times. But it’s about more than that. With deliveries, for example, fleet tracking allows you to better serve your customers by offering real-time location details, accurate delivery estimates, and much more.
Even small businesses can benefit from tracking, especially thanks to modern technologies like IIoT and connected solutions. It doesn’t matter whether you have a small fleet or a large one — the same problems exist. The same benefits can be had by implementing smart fleet tracking, too.
7 Fleet Tracking Benefits for Small Businesses
No matter the size of the fleet or the business, it’s invaluable to have a real-time tracking solution in place. You can see where drivers and vehicles are, what goods they’re carrying, and create accurate delivery estimates down to the minute.
Of course, there are plenty of other benefits the technology provides, as well.
1. Real-Time Location and Fleet Tracking
Real-time data allows for higher transparency, which can also reveal a ton of underlying insights. The route a vehicle takes, for instance, is valuable to know, and it’s crucial for optimizing delivery and travel times.
Locating vehicles at a moment’s notice also means locating the goods and packages they’re carrying. This helps keep customers in the loop about where their packages are, and it optimizes your services by allowing you to estimate process times.
If you’re waiting on a particular supply pickup, you can see exactly when it’s going to arrive. Any delays those vehicles encounter will automatically create notifications so you can plan accordingly.
2. Smart Customer Processes
Building trust with your customers is critical for keeping your business afloat because the more they trust you, the more they’re willing to support and spend on your services.
Real-time location tracking means being able to provide customers with accurate delivery estimates and much more. You can open up tracking to them directly, allowing customers to monitor their orders and deliveries from the moment they leave a fulfillment center or store.
The technology can also be used to streamline returns and backorders.
3. Regulatory Compliance
The ELD rule, or hours of service mandate, is just one example of a regulatory requirement that businesses must uphold. It requires companies to track hours of service and compile records of duty status (RODS) for employees. There are also stringent guidelines for how to implement this.
Real-time tracking not only helps companies comply with the ELD rule but also many others. Through digital tracking platforms, it’s possible to understand theft and fraud events, notify customers of potential problems, and comply with other rules or regulations on logistics, development, and beyond.
4. Optimized Operations
No one can perfectly predict the weather, traffic, or human-related events like accidents, wildfires, or the current pandemic. But every operation must be able to pivot at a moment’s notice to deal with these problems, like finding another delivery or transport route.
What’s more, there may be bottlenecks through the fulfillment and delivery process that can be mitigated with the right oversight.
Fleet tracking and real-time data enable optimized operations because of the increase in transparency and insights. Management can dig into what’s holding back an operation, eliminating bottlenecks and other obstacles. With the help of machine learning, those insights become even more powerful because the tools can discover patterns and trends human eyes cannot.
5. Mobile Support Solutions
With real-time data and advanced technologies in play, it’s also possible to develop remote operations support — which your drivers can tap into using mobile devices. Fleet tracking apps allow users to monitor travel speeds, location, routes, and much more, by working with your employee’s mobile device.
This also gives you a direct line of communication with all of your drivers to share updates and road information, issue commands, or provide additional roadside assistance.
6. Improved Driver Safety
Better tracking and awareness lead to better safety. You can see where drivers are on the road, when they stop, how much rest they’re getting, and what road hazards they might encounter along the way.
Operations can also leverage this to support drivers, like ordering a backup when a truck breaks down.
7. Cost Savings
Delays, unforeseen events, poor optimization, and damaged or stolen goods all increase operational expenses. Fleet tracking means eliminating or mitigating many of these problems and, in turn, reducing the associated costs.
Even fuel expenditures, for example, can be reduced with smarter tracking. You can use analytics tools to find the best routes, maximize fuel efficiency, or locate the cheapest fueling stations nearby.
The same is possible by monitoring driver behaviors, as certain habits can increase waste and costs. As an example, aggressive driving can burn more fuel. You can communicate with drivers and better train them to drive safely and more efficiently.
Your Business Needs Real-Time Tracking
At this point, it’s clear the benefits are numerous, even for a small fleet and smaller businesses. There’s no reason not to invest in smart, real-time tracking solutions, if only for the process improvements and better customer experience you can provide. Modern technologies are making these solutions much more accessible, as well.
Emily Newton is an industrial and tech journalist. She’s always looking for new ways businesses can save money by incorporating new technologies.