Track Vehicle Trips Without Expensive GPS Fleet Management Systems

/ / cfo, finance, fleet management, obd2

Fleet management software offers many benefits to businesses that choose to implement them.  Outside of fleet maintenance management, trip tracking is one of the most popular value-added features.  Not all systems offer the same level of comprehensive trip tracking and most of the real-time Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) GPS fleet tracking systems are expensive costing $30, $40, $50 or more per month.

However, many business fleets can implement trip tracking that meets their business needs and avoid the expense of these high en, high cost AVL systems by using wireless OBD-2 fleet monitors with trip tracking to achieve many of the same goals at a fraction of the cost.

What problems am I trying to solve with trip tracking?

Implement vehicle trip tracking for your fleet using OBD2 and avoid the expense of AVL GPS-based fleet management systemsThe first question that any business owner needs to ask is what the business problem is that they need trip tracking software to solve.  There are so many ways that trip and utilization tracking help business and nailing down the justification is the first step to identifying the right solution.   Some of the most popular requirements include:

  • monthly analysis of fleet operations
  • bill back of business mileage and expenses
  • end-of-day job completion log for vehicles and drivers
  • tracking daily driver to vehicle assignment and expenses
  • monitoring workforce load (who’s busy vs who’s not)
  • live dispatcher driven service business

The first five of these can be easily handled without a live GPS/AVL system and all five can be handled even without GPS.  That means that business owners have alot more choice in their fleet management decisions.

When do I need GPS/AVL real-time tracking?

AVL GPS systems are critically important if you run a real-time dispatch system with live dispatchers who can reroute drivers to meet customer demand immediately.  That’s it.  Every other use for real-time trackers can probably be accimplished using less expensive options.

OBD-2 fleet monitors can do equally well as these real-time systems in meeting every other requirement and most do it for less than $30/month.  Even better,  they also won’t require a cellular contract to get the data from the vehicle to your desktop.

How do OBD2 fleet monitors track trips?

OBD-2 vehicle monitors track a vehicle’s trips by monitoring the engine status when it is running.  As the vehicle moves the OBD-2 monitor is constantly monitoring this data and logging it.  These monitors also track idle time and a long list of other parameters.  These monitors collect and upload valuable trip information such as:

  • Trip start – end date/time
  • Trip duration
  • Trip distance
  • Average speed
  • Max speed
  • Fuel use
  • engine idle time

When you marry this trip information up to a vehicle/driver’s list of activities you get a good record of a vehicle’s daily use profile and you can easily match that information back to critical busines activities like customer visits, deliveries or other tasks.

Do AVL fleet management systems offer the best ROI?

Promises of ROI benefits are not the same as delivering real-world ROI benefits.  Soft ROI benefits are eay to claim and promise because proving them is very elusive which is why so many AVL systems claim them.

From our perspective the best ROI returns are first measured using the hard savings on fleet management system equipment and operating costs.   OBD2 fleet management systems with trip tracking are often at least 50% less expensive to operate than AVL systems.  So right off the bat you’ve saved a bunch and improved your ROI in the process.

Of course, some businesses absolutely require AVL capabilities and for those folks they’re stuck.  Happily, the great majority of businesses can escape the AVL trap and capture powerful fleet intelligence at a more affordable price.

photo credit: leunix via photopin cc