Small Tracking Devices: Questions to Ask Yourself Before Investing

Vehicle Tracking / Wednesday 18th April

If you’re a business that employs one or more drivers on their taskforce, you will have probably heard of fleet management software and how it can make your operations more efficient than ever. However, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to leap straight in and buy the first GPS tracker you can find without understanding why you want a tracking system installed.

When investing in small tracking devices for your fleet, you’ll come across many different types of tracker, and some of these won’t be suitable for your business. It’s important to identify which vehicle tracking system will meet your needs.

One of the first steps on your road to success is to establish what these business needs are. This will help to easily narrow down your options, saving time and money by only investing in a product which will give you a great return while ticking all the boxes.

To make things easier for you, here are some questions businesses should be asking themselves BEFORE they begin their search.

8 Questions to Help Identify the Right Small Tracking Devices for Your Business

When searching for the best car tracking device for your fleet, some of the most important factors to consider are what your business needs are, your goals and the elements stopping you from reaching these aims. A fleet manager should ask themselves throughout the process, “will this vehicle tracking system make life easier and help us reach our business goals?”

To establish the full picture of your business needs, ask yourself the following questions.

What type of information do you want to track & how will this help your business?

This is the most important question as it will define what you’re trying to achieve by implementing vehicle tracking. This can be factors such as:

  • Real-time vehicle locations
  • Log of driver routes
  • Driver behaviour (e.g. speeds, steering, braking)
  • Driver hours
  • Live traffic
  • Geo-fencing zones
  • Car dash cam footage
  • Engine idling
  • Maintenance plans & repairs
  • Mobile tracking with a vehicle tracking app

While you may start making your own list of aspects you want track and data you want to collect, ensure you understand how you will use this information to benefit your business. There’s no point investing in features for the sake of it unless you can understand how you’ll use each one for the good of your fleet. For example, a fleet manager may decide that they struggle to meet delivery targets and want to ensure drivers can plan the shortest route. Features such as journey planning and live traffic reports (to avoid areas of congestion) may become a priority to improve efficiency and reliability.

You should also think about how each feature will affect the day to day running of your fleet. Do you need accurate, to-the-minute tracking or regular updates at set intervals? Do you want to analyse data after its been collected or receive alerts so that you can communicate with your task force in real-time?

Create a list of what you need to track and how you’ll use that data to your advantage, whether it’s motorcycle, car, lorry or van trackers.

Which expenses are denting your profits?

One of the main reasons many companies opt for business vehicle tracking is to improve their profit margins by cutting down on unnecessary expenses which are costing them money. This is often factors such as:

  • Excessive fuel costs
  • Vehicle insurance premiums
  • Maintenance & servicing
  • Breakdowns & repairs
  • Driver hours & overtime claims

Fleet management live systems can help in a variety of ways. Firstly, the data collected may help you to identify where you’re spending too much money. For example, by integrating with other systems within a vehicle such as fuel sensors and ignition, you may find that those drivers who have excessive engine idling times are using the most fuel. This is invaluable information for fleet management who can then address practices which are costing the business money. Specific brands of software can also double as organisational programs for implementing robust, efficient servicing of your vehicles so that maintenance doesn’t interrupt your business operations while monitoring the conditions of your vehicles for timely repairs to occur. You may even find when speaking with some vehicle insurance providers that they’ll lower your premiums if you have a vehicle tracking device professionally installed and even further if adding in dash cams to your package.

What processes can you automate?

It may sound clichéd, but the saying ‘time is money’ couldn’t be more apt for fleets, especially where manual tasks carried out by drivers require submission. This can be anything from delivering their timesheets to manually checking the condition of the vehicle. Tracking device software can help digitise tasks as well as implementing automation into many of your processes. Tacho integration, for example, can create an accurate record of driver hours. Take a look at your manual processes and which ones take the most time. Is this something a GPS tracking device can help with? You can also decide whether you want software which can integrate with other software systems. This helps to avoid double entry of information, share common data within your company and minimise errors.

How much do you want to spend on upfront costs & monthly fees?

Defining your budget is an important step to take before undertaking your search. It’s not just the upfront fees to think about but also any monthly costs, length of warranty and how long your contract lasts for. This will set your expectation for how much you can spend. However, don’t always just look for the cheapest option when selecting a vehicle tracker. Often, it’s worth investing more to get the best deal and maximise your ROI. If you can afford a system which provides more cost-savings, for example, you may find you achieve a more impressive return.

What type of installation do you want?

There are different types of tracker installation and which one you choose depends largely on the data you want to collect and the setup of your operations. The three main types of car tracking device UK installation are:

 

  • Hardwired: These small tracking devices will integrate with other systems in your vehicles, collecting advanced data over wider coverage. However, they need to be professionally installed (this may come included in your package), and you won’t be able to move them easily from vehicle to vehicle.
  • Plug and play: This type of tracker is ideal for those who need to move their tracker around (perhaps you use rentals or have fleet which is only used occasionally). They’re usually self-installed in the OBD II socket, but may be more susceptible to theft and will only collect basic tracking data.
  • Satnav integrated: This type of tracker is in-built within satnav screens, so is ideal if your fleet mainly uses satnavs for their primary in-cab routing functions.

Are you concerned about the security of your vehicles?

Stolen vehicle tracking is something many businesses choose to invest in, especially if their fleet contains a number of motorcycles which are at higher risk of being taken. A motorcycle tracker not only acts as a deterrent but can even be linked to an off-site facility who monitor vehicles for unauthorised movements 24/7. If this is a priority for your business, think about finding a system which specialises in police-approved systems and tracking for stolen vehicles.

Where do your customers fit into this picture?

When making any business changes, the effect on your customers should be considered and how you can use this to your advantage. They may be a large part of the reason for implementing trackers in the first place, especially if you’re struggling to keep up with your competitors. Some systems can even be used by customers, giving them access to GPS live information about the whereabouts of their delivery or pickup driver. This is a great way to enhance the customer experience while reducing your time spent tracking down drivers for your customers. When mapping out your expected changes, consider the impact on your customer base and how you can improve their experience, even if it’s something as simple as 100% success at fulfilling delivery times.

What changes do you perceive for your fleet?

When making any investments in your business, it’s essential to think ahead about where your business is going, its goals and also any changes to come. Are you looking to grow your business and use car tracking device software to help with this? If so, look for a system which is scalable, i.e. it will easily cope as your business grows and can add more vehicles to its system.

Get a Free Consultation & Quotation

If you’re looking for the best small tracking devices to track your fleet, the VTC is here to help. Our experts have the right knowledge and expertise to easily identify which GPS tracker for car, van, motorcycle or lorry dashboards will meet all your needs. Save time and hassle with a comparison expert.

Get in touch now for vehicle tracking help and advice.

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