Prova Systems has been ranked as best low-cost GPS fleet tracking system by Business News Daily. The online daily business magazine researched dozens of fleet tracking software packages and chose its top 3 vendors in the category focused on small and medium sized businesses. Fleet Genius was chosen for the “tons of features and flexibility” it offers at friendly to small business prices.
“We’re pleased and excited to be rated as the best in our category,” remarked John Collins, President of Prova Systems, “It is great to be recognized for the excellence of our Fleet Genius product. We have worked hard to create an affordable enterprise fleet management systemwhich really helps small business fleet owners.”
Business News Daily ranked Fleet Genius for its ease-of-use and the software’s comprehensive features including:
- Vehicle monitoring,
- Driver monitoring,
- History log,
- And Mobile access.
Prova Systems is proud to welcome Medstar Mobile Healthcare ro Fleet Genius.
Medstar Mobile Healthcare has implemented the company’s Fleet Genius fleet management system to provide diagnostic and maintenance meter tracking for its fleet of 75 vehicles. The system will be used to automate the collection and reporting of vehicle usage metrics that drive ambulance fleet maintenance system. MedStar is the exclusive Public Utility Model EMS System serving Fort Worth and14 other cities in North Central Texas. MedStar responds to over 120,000 EMS calls, and has the most recognized Mobile Integrated Healthcare system in the country.
MedStar has integrated Fleet Genius into the company’s vehicle fleet to provide a new level of automated reporting of vehicle usage metrics and engine diagnostics to reduce the time and expense of collecting that information manually for the 75 vehicles in MedStar’s fleet. The data will be used to automate vehicle maintenance scheduling for all vehicles and will support maintenance metrics including odometer and vehicle mileage, idle time tracking, running time monitoring and reporting of DTCs and MIL status (check engine light).
“We run a 24×7 vehicle fleet with fast turn-around of ambulances when they come back to the service depot” explained James Cogdill, MedStar’s Fleet Manager. “Fleet Genius will help us optimize the time of our team when the vehicles are back at our locations and free them from having to inspect and collect vehicle maintenance information from the vehicle’s computers. This means we can update our maintenance schedules more frequently and detect and repair engine issues more quickly.”
MedStar has implemented the Fleet Genius PRO Export features which enable easy integration with a company’s existing fleet maintenance software systems and enables a higher level of automation of manual systems without requiring a full scale replacement of the existing maintenance software system. MedStar has installed Fleet Genius OBD2 wireless fleet vehicle monitors into each ambulance providing 24×7 visibility into vehicle operations and engine performance.
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
The 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)
Your business has grown up around you and your hardwork has paid off. You have growing sales and happy customers. Along with the exciting growth you’ve started noticing that your small vehicle fleet is taking more of your time, resources and hard earned cash.
In the early days you might have relied on your memory and some hand written notes to remember when to take the vehicles to the dealer for their regular servicing …. but eventually your success means you have to pay more attention to this critical business asset. Now what?
Don’t hide your head in the sand
Business growth and success always brings rewards and challenges. Managing vehicle fleets can be an enormous burden: managing maintenance, registration and insurance, fuel costs and driver safety can all begin to feel like enormous weights. Luckily there are plenty of options available for you and many options can fit even the tightest budget.
Why risk business continuity by risking your fleet or drivers.
Computerize your fleet management
Getting your fleet management tasks out of your head and off the yellow sticky sheets that cover many fleet owner’s desks is the first step. Without a doubt if you are determined to conquer your fleet management challlenges you need to computerize your data. There are many ways to tackle this first step.
Option 1: Fleet management by spreadsheet
The easiest and least expensive involves a little DIY computer work. You can create your own spreadsheets using Excel or Google docs to track your vehicles, mileage, maintenance history and receipts. These are easy tools that most business owners already now and because of the evolution of the cloud you can update them from almost anywhere.
While they can require a fair bit of work to keep up to date, spreadsheets will make it easier for you to keep track of your fleet’s requirements than a that sticky note. Spreadsheets won’t remind you when things are do but as long as you keep them up-to-date you can stay on top of your growing fleet.
Pros: Quick and easy to develop, Very low cost or no cost.
Cons: Not great for reporting results. Difficult to manipulated data and to update.
Option 2: Build your own fleet management database
A more involved approach to cpmputerizing your fleet is to build your own database. Depending on your database skills (or the skills of the freelancer you hire) you can build yourself an a handy tool that makes data entry as easy as a spreadsheet and simplfies reporting of that data too.
The big advantage of a database is that data entry is often easier and you can normalize the data to make calculations and reporting easier than with a spreadsheet, Many of us also have Access database software included with our Windows desktops.
Pros: You get exactly the system you think you need. No more and no less.
Cons: These often come at the expense of your nights and weekends unless you outsource it and then you could easily pay several thousand dollars for the system to a freelancer.
Option 3: Purchase fleet management software for your office PC
Let’s face it. You probably already purchased software to run your business accounting. Your fleet vehicles are a valuable asset and you should probably consider investing at least as much to keep them running. If you have 10 vehicles you could easily be looking at $230k of investment in the vehicles. So Spending $300-1,000 might be well worth it in the long run.
Pros: You get a system that is already developed and tested and working for other customers with similar needs. It might be more affordable to get started and to maintain the system than doing it with a freelancer.
Cons: You’re likely giving up the cloud capabilities you got with the first 2 options. Having yous software in the cloud gives you total flexibility of where and when you work. You’re also at the mercy of your supplier so choose one with a good reputation and definitely get a demo and try it out.
Option 4: Subscribe to fleet maintenance software in the cloud
If accessibility is high on your list and you don’t have an IT staff you should consider cloud based alternatives to option 3. You’ll likely get most of the same features in the cloud as you will with a PC based preventive maintenance system but the management and maintenance of the software will be infinitely easier.
Cloud based systems update their software automatically so you get new features and bug fixes without any interaction from you or your team. Since it is based in the cloud you can also provide access to any of your staff regardless of their location. Many of these systems also support data export into your accounting system making it easier to keep your financial system in synch with your fleet expenses.
Pros: Full featured fleet maintenance software with cloud based data backup, high reliability and high performance servers ensure 24×7 access to your fleet maintenance data from anywhere. Online vehicle maintenance logs help you stay on top of your vehicle maintenance.
Cons: Might be a little more expensive for the software but the savings on server hardware, backup systems and time spend updating new features and bug fixes will even out the long term costs.
Are fleet tracking telematics worth the investment?
With cloud systems you get a host of additional options that you can’t get with home grown software or local PC based preventive maintenance software. Implementing fleet trackers can be one of the most useful tools to automate the collection of vehicle maintenance information.
Fleet preventive maintenance software requires triggers to automate system schedules. You can use fuel receipt tracking or input fuel card data to keep track of fleet vehicle odometers. It is also possible to raise the capabilities of the system with OBD2 fleet tracking monitors which tie into your cloud based software to collect engine running hours, diagnostic messages (DTCs) and check engine light status, engine idling, driver safety monitoring and more.
Whether you decide to invest up front in telematics or you choose to wait until later in the process you’ll save yourself alot of extra work if you choose a system that allows you to upgrade to fleet tracking telematics when you’re ready.
You don’t need to throw out your existing fleet maintenance system to upgrade it. You can evolve its capabilities with wireless vehicle monitors to add automated preventive maintenance management meter updates and fleet vehicle diagnostics. Its an affordable, easy and painless way to upgrade your existing system for less.
If you’ve had your existing manual entry fleet maintenance software for a while you’ve likely made a significant investment in it. You undoubtedly have lots of maintenance history on fleet vehicles that you’re presently using and some that are providing historical information background for vehicles that have been retired.. Why throw it away when you can evolve it to fuller automation with no disruption?
You may have also invested in tieing the data in your software back to your organizations ERP applications like accounting and asset management systems. You may even have significant data on fuel use from added receipts or a fuel card system. An evolutionary update to your fleet maintenance system is probably a better investment than wholesale replacement.
Many customers find themselves in this situation and feel stuck with the system they have. They want to upgrade their systems to be more automated but getting there is disruptive and expensive because they require new fleet management software and hardware to enable the change.
Automating a software based fleet maintenance system
There is no doubt that automating preventive maintenance managenent in your existing fleet maintenance system can bring significant benefits to your organization. These benefits result in better data and reduced operational costs since automation guarantees that data is being recorded and reported even when you or your team are too busy. These benefits include:
- more accurate usage reporting
- reduced manpower requirements
- safer fleet vehicles
- fewer vehicle breakdowns
Many fleet owners believe that adding actual vehicle mileage and engine running hours meters to their system requires a complete, expensive and disruptive upgrade. There are other options.
Fleet tracking telematics data export
To update your existing maintenance software you’ll definitely need some fleet telematics monitors. These monitors can track, record and report the preventive maintenance meters you use to drive your fleet’s pm schedules. Once installed these monitors relay trip-by-trip information on crtiical maintenance information including:
- vehicle mileage
- engine running time
- engine idle time
- fuel consumed
- engine diagnostic codes
- engine emissions system status
- check engine light status
All of this data can be imported into your existing software application to turn it into a higher performance preventive maintenance program for your vehicle fleet, What’s even better is that it is more accurate than your fuel card reporting system which are often full of user odometer entry errors. We estimate that up to 20% of driver reported odometer entries are incorrect.
Local wireless fleet maintenance monitoring versus cellular telematics
To keep this evolution affordable you’ll want to invest in local wireless telematics systems instead of dedicated cellular based systems to collect and report vehicle usage meters. Since local wireless systems incur no monthly data charges for the wireless service and can save your business a small fortune very quickly. When you think about it most cellular data plans for your vehicle fleet just wastes your hard earned cash.
A local wireless system allows for hands-free updates of fleet vehicle pm usage meters and ensures that all data is collected and reported without staff intervention. The most cost-effective telematics monitors use local wireless for reporting data and the vehicle’s own diagnostics port for collecting the meter data. These are either the OBD2 port on cars and light duty vehicles in your fleet or J1939 port on your heavy duty vehicles. Self-installed plug-and-play systems save you a bundle on installation fees and are just as accurate as any installed under the hood. They usually install and start reporting in a couple minutes.
Fleet Genius Export helps you evolve your fleet maintenance system
Fleet Genius helps fleet owners and managers take the evolutionary path to better fleet management. Our VHM vehicle monitors collect, record and report your fleet vehicle’s usage information using affordable local wireless systems. The Fleet Genius software collects the data in the cloud and allows you to update your existing fleet maintenance software with current vehicle usage data automatically or whenever you want.
The system offers both easy-to-import CSV files of vehicle trips and diagnostics data and also supports full export of full trip details in an XML format. We’d be happy to show you how you can update yout existing fleet maintenance system affordably and with minimal disruption. Let us help your fleet management system evolve with the times.
The latest Small Business Guide fromSmallBusinessComputing.com offers great information on the opportunities for fleet management systems use by small and medium enterprises. The article covers software and hardware options as well as a comprehensive list of features you might expect for your own system.
If you’re looking for an unbiased view of the opportunities it is certainly worth a read Small Business Guide to Fleet Management
If your doctor told you that she was going to perform and EKG on your heart but instead of recording all activity over a few minutes she told you it was too expensive to do continuous monitoring during that time; instead she was just going to take a look only for a second every couple minutes. What would you say? You’d probably find a new doctor!
Many GPS fleet management systems offer exactly that one second diagnostic frequency. They offer you glimpses of your vehicle’s activity only every 2 minutes or 5 minutes and they’ll charge you a fortune for continuous monitoring if they can even offer that.
If all you want to know is where a vehicle is and where it is going (or where it has been) a 5 minute snapshot might be just fine. What if you want to know more? What if you need to know more?
Monitoring performance data
There are lots of reasons that fleet owners invest in a fleet management system. The simplest requirements usually involve basic vehicle tracking or AVL. This technology is so straightforward that lots of companies implement it on a smartphone or tablet and are skipping integrated systems entirely.
What’s more complex is getting real vehicle performance data from the vehicle itself. Most GPS trackers only draw power from the vehicle they don’t ever communicate with the vehicle’s computers. This results in the loss of lots of valuable data that fleet managers can collect to do a better job at managing their fleet.
A 5 minute reporting frequency offers only 0.3% of the performance accuracy of a system that monitors every second.
Playing peek-a-boo with performance data
When it comes to most fleet vehicle monitors and trackers the design of most devices seems to assume that less is more. Most vehicle trackers collect data in support of a GPS breadcrumb trail the sampling gap between breadcrumbs is usually somewhere between 2 and 5 minutes – but what happens to the data between those samples? It is lost.
With such long sample intervals these systems are basically playing peek-a-boo with critical performance data. Only powerful data loggers can bridge this intelligence gap and provide you with the level of performance accuracy that you need to optimize your fleet management software and tools.
Data loggers provide continuous monitoring
The only way to fill this critical data gap is to ensure that you’re using robust data loggers to track and monitor every second. Data loggers don’t have the limitations of cellular GPS tracking devices because they are designed to support second-by-second data collection and reporting.
This level of data collection enables more useful and powerful data analysis that goes far beyond what can be done with infrequent GPS coordinate collection. In fact, alot of the data you can collect and analyze using continuous data monitoring provides richer intelligence for your fleet maintenance operations and driver safety monitoring
- engine performance analysis
- engine diagnostics reporting
- continuous speed monitoring
- fuel usage and real engine idle time analysis
Optimize your fleet management system
Improve your fleet intelligence with fleet vehicle monitoring from Prova System’s Fleet Genius fleet management system. Fleet Genius vehicle health monitors (VHM) offer robust and powerful reporting of vehicle and driver performance. The monitors can be used standalone as part of the Fleet Genius fleet management software.
The J1939 & OBD2 fleet vehicle monitors can also report to any fleet management software or fleet maintenance software system using the Fleet Genius Export capabilities. This allows you to improve and upgrade your existing fleet management system without throwing out the tools and software you are already using,
The more things change the more they remain the same. Incredible as it may seem a strong majority of vehicle fleet owners (76%) are still managing their fleets the old-fashioned way using books, paper and spreadsheets or nothing at all. According to Software Advice, an even larger majority, 80% of fleet owners want to use software to organize their fleet data. It begs the question: what’s stopping them?
The latest fleet management survey from Software Advice, Fleet Maintenance Management Survey BuyerView 2014, highlights the feature requirements of vehicle fleet owners but only hints at the reason why many fleet owners have not yet implemented a more professional fleet manageement system (FMS). What is clear from the report is that with over 76% of vehicle fleet owners still using non-electronic methods to manage their fleets something is holding back adoption of these useful software applications.
Preponderance of AVL Suppliers
When you have a hammer everything looks like a nail.
When you examine the top-requested fleet management features you find that GPS ranks very low on the list (only 2% ranked GPS tracking as a required feature). Unfortunately, most fleet management suppliers offer only real-time automatic vehicle location (AVL) systems which are driven by GPS.
AVL systems are notorious for making it complicated for smaller fleets (57% of respondents have fewer than 50 vehicles and 72% have 100 or fewer vehicles) to engage a supplier. They offer expensive features that 98% of fleet owners say they don’t need. These AVL GPS tracking systems are plagued with issues that make smaller fleets less likely to adopt the technology:
- expensive monthly subscriptions of $30/month to more than $60/month
- complex implementations and high installation fees
- requirement to assign dedicated staff to monitor vehicle locations
- 36 – 60 month service contracts
- cellular contracts required per vehicle
- weakness on key features like reporting, maintenance management and fleet fuel management
Feature Fragmentation Complicates Supplier Selection
Being forced to pay high monthly fees for AVL and GPS vehicle tracking features that 98% of fleet owners say they don’t want presents a huge obstacle to system adoption. On top of that the frustration of feature fragmentation makes choosing a fleet management system an overwhelming task.
- Which vendor best supports the critical features my business needs?
- Am I paying for features I don’t need or won’t use?
- What if I want to change my software supplier later on?
Getting the answers to these critical questions can be so distracting and time-consuming that many fleet managers throw up their hands in frustration and stay with their existing inadequate and inefficient manual systems.
The best way to fight through this complexity is to parse the fleet management system selection problem into smaller decisions. Knowing what the number 1 business goal is can really help identify the most important features. If maintenance management is the key then search for products that do that as their primary function then let the technology decisions support that requirement.
Automation is the key to maximizing fleet management efficiency
Software can only solve so much. The GIGO rule (garbage in – garbage out) holds true here. Moving from a spreadsheet to a PC based fleet management application may solve some fleet management issues but it won’t solve them all. 48% of fleet owners in the survey indicated that improving fleet management efficiency is the primary goal for implementing a sofware-based fleet management system.
Automation of fleet management functionsreduces errors and improves efficiency. It is no secret to most fleet managers who manually collect odometer readings for their maintenance management systems that employees are bad at supplying the correct odometer reading. Fuel card systems which collect that data everytime a vehicle is fueled suffer from the same problem.
With mileage and odometer readings being the primary driver for fleet maintenance management automation getting those right is critically important. Using technology to automate that process is the only way to achieve those efficiency gains these fleet managers seek.
Strong automation requires either a web-based software-as-a-service SAAS application for tight integration with the automation hardware or a more expensive stand-alone implementation on the fleet owners site. Since most survey participants favored web-hosted fleet management systems by a 2-to1 margin it seems that many fleet managers understand this advantage.
Choosing a solution that can easily be managed by local IT resources
Perhaps the final issue that may keep fleet owners from adopting a professional fleet management system is the unknown cost of managing the hardware and software. Clearly a web-based approach simplifies teh software management component greatly for the fleet manager. In web-based systems the supplier manages the entire resource for the end customer including servers hardware, licenses, software updates and 24×7 access capabilities.
The hardware systems required for automation like GPS tracking devices often require professional installation and can not be as easily managed by the fleet manager or the local IT person. Newer OBD2 based fleet vehicle monitors are much easier to manage and maintain by local IT personnel and offer the same efficiency benefits as GPS AVL systems at a more affordable price point. Thess plug-and-play vehicle monitoring systems may also offer easy export of vehicle information to third-party applications to support best-in-class fleet management.
Make the move to more efficient and productive fleet management
Products like Prova Systems Fleet Genius help companies, especially smaller businesses looking to automate their fleet management operations, bridge the gap between the manual bookkeeping fleet management systems and web-hosted systems at a more affordable small business price points.
Charts are courtesy of Software Advice, a company that reviews and compares fleet management systems.
Fuel expenses represent the single largest operating expense for most vehicle fleets. Controlling these costs is difficult since fuel prices rise and fall with breathtaking speed.
Many companies implement fuel tracking systems and fuel card systems to help manage these costs, but the reality is that fuel receipt tracking highlights the expenses but does little to change fleet behaviors to reduce fuel waste. For many fleets, OBD2 vehicle monitors provide the most affordable tool to capture the missing information that can make a measurable reduction in fuel costs.
Fuel cards and fuel receipt tracking
The most common method for monitoring fleet fuel costs is to track fuel receipts. This is done through the tracking of actual receipts turned in by drivers or through the use of fuel cards that report fuel purchases. Either method is an effective way of tracking actual fuel expense and when that data is entered into a fleet management software system it becomes much easier to see an individual vehicle’s impact on fleet fuel expense and fuel efficiency. Many online fleet management systems provide methods to import fuel card data directly into the software.
On their own fuel receipt tracking and fuel cards only tackle half the fleet management problem. They don’t address issues that affect fuel use and consequently fuel expenses like fuel waste due to excessive idle time or bad driver behaviors. They also can’t provide a view of how fuel is being used by vehicles because they don’t monitor fleet vehicle activities.
Many fleet managers also find that the odometer data provided through fuel cards can often be wrong due to data entry errors at the pump or deliberate attempts to hide actual vehicle mileage by drivers. OBD2 vehicle monitors provide valuable information that makes fuel card data more useful because they track this important primary use information.
Excessive engine idling wastes fuel and money
Everyone knows that an hour of engine idling roughly costs a gallon of gas. What is harder to know is how much of my fuel purchases are being wasted by excessive engine idle times? Unfortunately fuel cards and fuel receipts can’t provide that information. Without careful management it is pretty easy for a fleet to lose 25% or more of its fuel purchases through excessive idling.
OBD2 vehicle monitors compliment fuel receipt tracking by identifying instances of excessive engine idling and they can even send alerts to fleet managers to highlight the worst offenses. While it is impossible to get rid of all engine idling you can use OBD2 engine idle monitoring to find patterns of idling that can be remedied.
For example, a workcrew that idles their vehicle every morning for 20 minutes at breakfast and an hour at lunch time with a 10 minute break thrownin during the day can waste 2 gallons of fuel per day. Over the course of a year that is 520 gallons of wasted fuel which at $4/gallon is over $2k/annum for a single vehicle. A fuel card could never capture this information but an OBD2 monitor can.
Speeding and other fuel wasting driver behaviors
In addition to engine idling there are other driver behaviors that affect fuel use and your fuel budgets. Most folks think that speeding is primarily a safety issue for their fleet but it is also a cause of reduced fuel economy figures for the fleet and individual vehicles. Fuel economy drops off precipitously after you pass 55 MPH as this graph from theUS DOE shows. The DOE predicts a 7%-14% fuel economy benefit for slowing down by 5-10MPH.
OBD2 monitors can help you reduce your fuel spend by targetting instances of speeding that could be wasting fuel and raising your fleet operating costs.
Fuel cards and OBD2 monitors – a natural partnership
Integrating OBD2 monitoring alongside your existing fuel card or fuel receipt tracking system provides far great fuel management benefits than fuel receipt tracking on its own. In addition to saving money on fuel tracking these fuel wasting driver behaviors can also reduce your vehicle maintenance expenses through reduced wear and tear and for those who worry about climate change your fleet will be emitting far less greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. So everyone benefits!
Learn how Fleet Genius can work alongside your existing fuel managament system to improve theaccuracy of your odometer data, help reduce fuel expense through idle time reduction and speed tracking.
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?
The 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.