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You need to track a vehicle in case it is stolen; so long as geo-fences are established that will alert head office when a vehicle goes walkabout (and so that the police can give chase). Or more importantly, to ensure that the insurance company will accept your claim.
But do you need to track the vehicle for anything else? Yes I hear you cry, you need it to inform clients how close the vehicle is to delivering an item or to monitor the driver’s location when having a lunch break. But you don’t need to track the vehicle to do that! Tracking a smartphone or other mobile device can achieve the same outcome.
If any of your drivers have smartphones why not simply track it, show the location on a map and enable employees to view? All other related field data capture – vehicle checks, PoD scans and signatures, driver notes – can be included on an app. Now, if the vehicle is stolen with the smartphone not in the vehicle it is of course not tracked. But as most thieves disable the ‘fixed’ tracking device anyway when stealing a vehicle this argument becomes redundant.
Smartphone, tablet or fixed in-cab device? 100% dependent on user requirement. Dust filled, vibration intensive cabs need IP rated in-cab devices such as those made by Panasonic and Nexcom whereas Sprinter vans delivering bar snacks can make do with a smartphone. If the van driver has some data capture tasks then maybe replace the smartphone with a tablet – Android, iOS, Windows.
Decreased Insurance Fees
This paragraph is very much in favour of old school vehicle tracking…? If having a vehicle tracker reduces insurance premiums then it is a no brainer over smartphone apps. But, and it is a big but, if you have a paid for app anyway, and the insurance premium reduction is minimal when deploying fixed trackers, then the costs may favour the app approach. Conclusion: Do the math!
Don’t forget Plan vs Actual
GPS vehicle tracking and tracking smartphone apps makes it possible to monitor daily resource usage via reports and analytics. One key KPI is the comparison of the route plan against the actual GPS track to establish variation in the transport costs.
Telematics is much, much more than just vehicle tracking as it includes data about the vehicle itself, such as idling time, harsh breaking, etc. And telematics is dealt with in another blog!