How OBD2 Fleet Tracking Monitors Improve Your Fleet Intelligence

/ / cfo, finance, fleet management, obd2

Lots of fleets are using old GPS fleet trackers to manage their daily fleet activities.  I talk to fleet managers every week who are looking to upgrade the data they collect from their fleets.  Many of them feel trapped because although they’re satisfied with their existing GPS fleet management system it doesn’t offer a capability to collect vehicle diagnostics..  These fleet managers generally want to increase and improve the data they’re collecting without necessarily ripping out their existing systems.  Unfortunately, most vendors encourage them (or require them) to do a forklift upgrade to a new system when there are other ways to accomplish their goals.

OBD2 fleet tracking monitors supplement GPS trackers

Many fleet managers are surprised to learn that there are fleet tracking monitors that use vehicle diagnostics to get their data instead of GPS.  Just like GPS fleet tracking devices these systems create and monitor vehicle activities 24 hours a day except they use data captured from the vehicle’s onboard computers to generate their trip logs.

OBD2 and J1939 trip logs contain far more detail about a vehicle’s performance than a vanilla GPS tracking device.  They detect and report operational errors but can also form complete trip data using information from the engine.  Sophisticated diagnostic fleet trackers even highlight and alert fleet managers to unsafe driving behavior.

If you’ve already installed a GPS fleet system you might find it far easier to implement an OBD2 vehicle tracking system alongside as a secondary complementary system to assist with those things that most GPS systems can’t do or are pretty bad at doing.  These include:

  • real engine idle time monitoring and reporting
  • engine diagnostics and error code reporting
  • emissions systems health reporting
  • tracking ignition on/off events 
  • more comprehesive preventive maintenance scheduling

OBD2 fleet trackers offer comprehensive fleet maintenance software support for alerts and email updatesThe great news about installing an OBD2 vehicle trackers as a parallel system is that you can save alot of time and money by avoiding the forklift upgrades which require a huge effort on the part of organizations large or small.

Deploy OBD2 fleet trackers with tablet-based fleet dispatch systems

As companies embrace mobile computing we see a strong movement to in-vehicle tablet computer management systems that give drivers a strong interaction with the dispatch system.  These systems can be a powerful tool to redesign how a business manages its fleet assets as well as its mobile personnel.   We hear of many companies who are ripping out the GPS AVL vehicle tracking systems for these more sophisticated workforce management tools.

Ripping out the existing GPS systems makes sense because customers with tablet based systems can eliminate a cellular connection from their vehicle by having only one GPS tracking unit.

While its easy to get a tablet-based dispatch system to do GPS tracking of the vehicle and/or driver it is impossible for that system to do a great job at collecting vehicle performance data.   Installing OBD2 fleet tracking system alongside the tablet based system is likely to be the only option if a customer requires engine diagnostics, idle time management and better vehicle maintenance management.

Fleet maintenance software data is improved with OBD2 trackers

GPS tracking can only give a limited amount of information about the health and performance of your fleet vehicles.  If you need detailed operational support to improve your fleet maintenance outcomes and improve the reliability of your fleet maintenance software you need OBD2 trackers.

OBD2 trackers record more than just DTC and check engine light events.  They also monitor and report on other parameters supplied by your vehicle’s engine.  Improving your fleet maintenance software requires more automated data input and OBD2 tracking devices add that capability to your fleet even as an add-on system.

Adding OBD2 fleet tracking monitors helps avoid the painful forklift upgrade

With a variety of choices available fleet managers should consider adding OBD2 systems to their toolset to help them inprove their fleet intelligence through the collection of richer data on the performance and health of their fleet vehicles.  The hidden costs of fork lift upgrades means that the likely expense involved in a wholesale replacement of existing GPS trackers could eat up any ROI you’ve been promised when you count in set-up time, learning time and deinstallation and installation times.

Implementing an OBD2 side system will help you improve your knowledge of your fleets operations and allow you to preserve your investment in your existing technology solution.
photo credit: New Norcia station via photopin (license)

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