Addressing Fleet Technology
Overcoming the challenges of fleet management
- By Ananth Rani
- Jan 01, 2014
The ever-increasing challenges that fleet managers face may seem
impossible to overcome—fluctuating fuel costs, increased maintenance
costs and stricter emission regulations, not to mention, the
most important challenge for any fleet manager: security—keeping
employees and properties safe.
While pressures in the industry have increased over the years, technology
has experienced significant advancements, specifically cloud-based software
management and GPS device hardware. Benefits of cloud-based, GPS systems
for security fleets include:
- Instant install. A plug-and-play device that installs within seconds in a
- Thought leadership. Reduce inaccurate reporting, streamline your efforts
and cut costs before your competitors.
- Trim insurance premiums. Check with your insurance dealer on special
rates when purchasing tracking solutions.
- Doing the right thing. Increase your efforts to keep people safe.
This new breed of fleet technology can help increase the efficiencies of a fleet,
allowing the fleet manager to sleep at night knowing that he or she can report
decreased cost, minimized liability and satisfied, safe customers and employees.
The average driver knows that a vehicle gets its best gas mileage when it operates
at peak condition. Routine vehicle maintenance, such as properly inflated
tires, has been proven to improve fleet fuel economy by four to 10 percent.
However, essential maintenance can often be overlooked.
New plug-and-play, cloud-based, GPS tracking solutions can help choose
the best routes, saving time, fuel and mileage. This ultimately reduces overall
wear and tear on vehicles and streamlines maintenance processes.
If you manage a small to medium fleet, you know that vehicle maintenance
is considered a premium feature by many solution providers in the GPS tracking
industry. This technology, such as Azuga B2 System, can give small and
medium fleets benefits that were only available for Fortune 1000 companies
a few years ago.
Employee and Customer Safety and Assurance
The use of a cloud-based, GPS system to track employees will give your business
peace of mind during any type of location visit or investigation. A tracking
solution will provide real-time snapshots of locations, entry and exit into
virtual perimeters, and duration of stay.
These systems communicate directly with an online tracking platform and
read engine data up to 60 times more than standard GPS tracking systems.
With this functionality, proof of visit can be provided quickly, accurately and
in a streamlined manner.
All of these metrics are important, not only for employee safety but for
customer safety as well, and delivering this information to your customers
will assure them that they are being taken care of.
“Going green” is a good way to assure your employees, customers and community
that you are doing your part to enhance their way of life. Fleets are
inadvertently reducing their carbon footprint by simply using GPS tracking.
Here are few simple steps in order to fully integrate a “green” program into
your fleet management solution.
Step 1: Track fuel usage and idling time to set a baseline for the first 30
days after deployment.
Step 2: Analyze fuel usage and idling; then, establish your green program
goals and new performance requirements.
Step 3: Create driver incentives and recognition awards for achieving and/
or exceeding program goals and communicate these goals to your team.
Step 4: Upgrade communication channels to the community, existing
customers and prospective customers with a “go green” web page, newsletter
communications, “green” tag lines in advertisements, and social media updates
on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), excessive speeding
may decrease fuel economy by up to 20 percent. Even more surprising,
the National Safety Council reports that one employee crash is estimated to cost $24,000. Of course, there are
strict regulations, policies and laws
that help enforce safer driving habits
within the industry. However, nextgeneration
GPS devices can come to
security fleets’ aid.
These cloud-based software products
can make information on speeding,
hard braking, sudden starts, miles
driven, cell phone use and personal
use of the company vehicle available
in real time to fleet managers. Evaluating
driver speeds and braking is a key
factor in monitoring driver behavior
practices that will ultimately decrease
fuel cost and minimize risk. While
reckless driving may seem imminent
within fleets, speeding and hard braking
is very dangerous, even sometimes
fatal. In fact, it is responsible for 40
percent of workplace fatalities.
In addition to reckless driving,
distracted driving causes nearly 28
percent of all fleet vehicle crashes.
Distractions come in all forms, including
eating while driving, changing
the radio station, texting and/or
talking on a mobile device or locating
the quickest route.
Most large fleets’ operations have
distracted driving policies, and as
those policies evolve, there is a trend
toward focusing on the distractions
caused by consumer electronic products.
Researchers at Virginia Tech
Transportation Institute observed
more than 1,700 drivers and discovered
that three out of every four drivers
using a cell phone committed a traffic
violation. They also found that talking
on a cell phone while driving makes a
driver four times more likely to crash,
and texting while driving increases the
chances of a crash by 23 times.
Be Safe. Be Smart.
Alarming statistics have prompted 47
states to enact legislation related to
talking/texting and driving, creating
an additional layer of liability where
company vehicles are concerned.
Distracted driving is particularly
dangerous while behind the wheel
of any operating fleet vehicle because
the driver is always on a mission to
get somewhere very quickly.
To reduce crashes, minimize risk
and mitigate lawsuits, fleets must
prevent employee usage of mobile
devices while driving through both
stringent safety policies and a new
breed of enforcement technologies.
In short, by eliminating distractions,
tracking driver behavior and regularly
servicing fleets, your company
can reduce the number of crashes,
save tens of thousands of dollars and
significantly reduce risk.
Within the past three years,
cloud-based software and management,
along with GPS device hardware
has experienced significant advancements
in technology and cost
savings. Yet, according to a recent security
fleet survey, only 44 percent of
fleet vehicles are equipped with GPS
devices. Out of this percentage, only
a small amount of fleets use the GPS
capability to its full capacity.
The challenges and pressures of
the fleet industry are enormous. On
the bright side, these tracking solutions,
dubbed “the future of GPS
tracking and driver behavior applications,”
will continue to evolve and
become more efficient as services
become more streamlined, accurate,
easy to use and affordable, making
this solution more attractive to fleet
This article originally appeared in the January 2014 issue of Security Today.
Ananth Rani is the vice president and general manager of Azuga, part of Danlaw, Inc.