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Don’t lose track: Why it makes sense to keep one eye on your fleet – with real-time tech

Real-time tech is popular these days for SMEs that want to keep an eye on productivity. Here, we explore the benefits of keeping tabs on your fleet assets.
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Owning a fleet means putting your trust in drivers to take your assets out on to the open road. It means trusting other drivers not to damage your vehicles, and it means relinquishing a certain amount of control – it’s the ultimate in delegation.

For many small and medium-sized business owners (SMEs) used to juggling everything themselves, this is not ideal. However, there is another way. The range of tracking and telematics services out there today allow business owners to flex a greater degree of control and to make fleets more efficient.

Most tracking tools basically come down to placing a GPS system in the vehicle, which allows the business owner to keep tabs on each driver and know where each vehicle is with real-time tech. in fact, some fleet providers have systems built into cars allowing for real-time telematics on how cars are being driven.

This kind of watchfulness isn’t just for control freaks – it’s actually a very sensible precaution, and can offer tangible benefits for your bottom line.

Asset control

Your vehicles are your assets, and it just makes good business sense to know where your assets are. If your vehicle is stolen, a tracker means you can find it much more quickly – as well as any stock that might have been on board.

You can use the tracking technology to see what routes your drivers are taking and ensure they are taking optimal routes.

Better-behaved employees

Your employees are probably going to be on their best behaviour when they are being watched by an authority figure. That means, if they know their boss can see when they are dilly-dallying, taking needlessly complex routes or time wasting, they’re less likely to do so.

In addition, if an employee knows you are monitoring their driving performance, they are much more likely to drive safely and within the speed limit. Safer employees mean safer assets – reducing the risk of a crash means a reduced risk of damage to your vehicle.

“We have GPS trackers on all our vans,” said Bob Muxworthy, health and safety manager at technical services maintenance firm MRM Solutions.

“The trackers provide a way to find out in real time where each vehicle is, and allows for driver behaviour to be monitored. It can also be useful for checking what employees are doing – if a vehicle is stationary for a long time without good reason, say parked at the driver’s home during the day, then the information can be used in support of disciplinary evidence, for example.”

Covering your back with real-time tech

Some fleet vehicles now have CCTV or dash cams in place to help resolve disputes in the event of an accident. Helping prove who was at fault should help ensure you’re never paying out for an accident that wasn’t your drivers’ fault.

It’s worth noting that some insurers may offer discounts for fleet vehicles, so in the long-term, the tech could pay for itself in more ways than one.

Happier customers

How much your customers are likely to benefit from your fleet tracking depends a lot on what service you offer.

If you run a cab company, tracking might help you decide which drivers are in the area and which one to dispatch to a job.

Alternatively, if you have a delivery service, you might be able to relay information to a customer about when their packages are due to arrive. This sort of reliability can really help build customer loyalty.

While all of these advantages taken on their own might not seem that big, altogether they add up to provide a better bottom line. After all, lower costs, operational savings and happier customers can only be good for business.

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About Author

Letitia Booty

Letitia Booty is a special projects journalist for Real Business. She has a BA in english literature from the University of East Anglia, and since graduating she has written for a variety of trade titles. Most recently, she was a reporter at SME magazine.

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