Vehicle Tracking & Fleet Management Systems

GPS vehicle tracking gives fleet managers the tools to know not only where all vehicles in the fleet are at any given time, but can also help cut fuel costs and vehicle wear and tear.

What Is A Vehicle Tracking System?

Vehicle tracking systems come in various shapes and sizes, from small dashboard trackers to professionally installed bulletproof asset trackers. They can provide data ranging from simple location updates every few hours to real-time telematics tracking which gives insights into everything from vehicle location and speed to fuel consumption to driving behaviour.

Most vehicle tracking systems will use satellite GPS technology to pinpoint the location of a vehicle. There are so-called active and passive tracking systems. Active systems will relay the gathered information in real time, to be accessed via an associated interface. This means fleet managers can see where every tracked vehicle is at any given time and will receive immediate updates about any issues.

Passive tracking describes the collection of data which later must be downloaded to be accessed. This means that real time updates are not provided, but this information is useful for long-term efficiency analysis and data backups.

Which system is right for your fleet depends on the size and industry of your business. Service oriented businesses such as taxi companies and couriers can only benefit from all the insights vehicle tracking can provide – allowing for more efficient dispatch and better customer service communications. Haulage businesses and long distance drivers can use this technology to maximise route efficiency and save on delivery time and fuel costs.

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Functionalities of Vehicle Tracking Systems

Fuel Savings

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Tracking your fleet with a GPS vehicle tracking system can help you save on fuel costs both directly and indirectly. Using GPS tracking lets you plan routes more efficiently and ensure that drivers stick to the predetermined routes. This is especially useful for long distance drivers and HGVs, where fuel costs add up due to the length of undertaken journeys.

In addition, tracking your fleet gives you insights into the driving behaviour of your drivers, with the option of providing trainings or other correctional measures for drivers who don’t drive in a fuel efficient manner. Many tracking systems will output your fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, and many will integrate seamlessly with fuel management services such as those provided by fuel card suppliers.

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Route Planning

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Vehicle tracking systems enable you to plan routes efficiently, both for short and long distances. HGVs can benefit from careful route planning, ensuring that their route does not contain toll roads or small streets that are unsuitable for large vehicles.

The geofencing feature integrated into many vehicle tracking systems will let you set alerts for the event of a vehicle leaving its designated route or area.

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Telematics systems are advanced vehicle tracking systems that operate as a kind of black box in a vehicle, transmitting data about the driving behaviour of the driver. This lets the fleet manager see and analyse less than efficient driver behaviour such as driving too fast, fast acceleration and hard breaking.

Improving driver behaviour can not only reduce fuel costs, but also the strain on the vehicles themselves.

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There are several aspects of compliance when it comes to vehicle tracking. Many fleet owners are unsure about the legalities of tracking vehicles and employees may feel concerns for their privacy when vehicle tracking systems are introduced. Vehicle tracking for a business fleet is perfectly legal, and sometimes even mandated by law, as with HGVs, which need to have a tachograph installed.

It is still important to comply with privacy and data laws. Being transparent with employees and helping them understand the benefits of vehicle tracking can help ease possible tensions in the business.

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Fleet management Software

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The fleet management software associated with your GPS tracking devices will give you access to all the data relayed by the trackers. This lets you see where vehicle are in real time, understand traffic conditions and receive updates and alerts about any issues.

In the long term, you will also be able to analyse the relayed data and identify trends within your fleet. This kind of data can help you cut delivery times, plan more fuel efficient routes and save your business money.

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Accurate Vehicle And Asset Tracking

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Accurately tracking your fleet with GPS means you will always know where your vehicles are. This can help solve disputes about working hours and fuel claims.

It is also possible to track mobile assets such as construction equipment or lorry trailers when they are not attached to a cab. Battery powered GPS trackers are available for this kind of tracking.

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Vehicle Tracking System Components

There is a wide range of vehicle tracking system suppliers on the market, with some supplying hardware or software only and others providing basic packages or bespoke integrated systems. The type and number of components you need depends on your business requirements.

Factors that can affect the components you need are:

  • The size of your business
  • The industry you are in
  • What analystics functionalities you demand of your software bundle

Smaller businesses might be adequately served by less sophisticated software, as almost all basic packages will provide real time vehicle tracking with basic reporting capabilities. Businesses with larger fleets might need more complex tracking devices which can track not just location and speed but also driver behaviour, and which have geofencing features.

Typical vehicle tracking system components are:

  • The GPS tracker - this can be one of several types
    • A standard vehicle tracker which is fitted into the vehicle and is powered by the car battery
    • An asset tracker which is powered by its own battery and is designed fir rugged environments
    • A covert tracker which is hidden under the chassis, will be tamper proof and can be activated remotely
  • A tachograph for HGVs
  • Fleet management software to access the relayed data
  • A telematics black box

Most vehicle tracking systems will offer many or all of the following features:

  • GPS tracking dashboard
  • Route replay
  • Reports – performance & maintenance
  • Alerts
  • GeoFencing & landmarks – designate where vehicle are allowed/not
  • Fuel card integration – control over fuel spending
  • Integration with Garmin navigation units
  • Mobile Application
  • Driver ID – keeping record of individual driver routes

Vehicle Tracking System Prices

The price of a vehicle tracking system including all hardware and software components can vary from almost free to many thousands of pounds. Small fleets with technologically savvy drivers may be able to get away with using smart phone apps for their fleet tracking needs. Larger fleets andthose including lorries will probably need to invest more money to install physical tracking devices in the vehicle - usually under the dahsboard - to take advantage of advanced tracking features.

Obviously larger fleets will need to buy more tracking devices for their vehicles, but many suppliers offer bulk discounts on trackers. In addition to this there will often be monthly fees for the tracking system.

Most UK suppliers don't publish how much their vehicle tracking systems cost and will instead give you an individual quote, based on the needs of your business. This is helpful in negotiating a good deal but it can be difficult to know what prices are available.

Anti-Theft Vehicle Tracking Costs

This is the simplest type of tracker, made to prevent theft. This device uses VHF or GPS and is able to tell the location of the vehicle. This can then be found by the authorities.

  • Around £300 - £500 per vehicle
  • Lease for £150 per annum

GPS Fleet Tracking System Costs

These systems are for a business fleet. Information is stored on the internet and can be accessed by mobile phones.

  • You pay for a subscription and this depends on how many vehicles you have
  • Expect to pay around £10 per month
  • Pay-as-you-Go service options
  • Additional charges for adding or removing a unit (£100) or setting your business up with software, alerts or reports
  • Deposit of £50 per unit fitted (refundable)

Fleet Management System Costs

This combines GPS vehicle tracking with additional features and tools. Examples of these features include route planning, reports on fuel efficiency and driver IDs.
  • Paid on a subscription basis (depends on number of cars/features)
  • Extra charges (same as GPS tracking systems)
  • Lengthier contracts & no Pay-as-you-Go option

Next Steps

Finding the right GPS tracking system for your business can be confusing. With so many options, it's hard to discover the best one for you. To take the hassle out of buying a vehicle tracking system for your fleet, simply fill in our web form and let us help you. We will provide you with free quotes from top UK suppliers. Taking into account your answers to the web form questions, we will forward you the quotes best suited to your business needs. It's quick, stress-free and easy, and you can start saving money today.

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