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In the last article about mileage, its importance to the delivery process was discussed, and several ways to capture mileage were outlined. Today’s article will continue to cover the options which exist for accurate capture of mileage.
Smartphones are everywhere these days, and so are the apps that can be installed on them. Many companies are using smartphone apps to track mileage. Their drivers simply download the app on their phone, and then use the GPS signal from their phone to track their routes. The alternative is manual entry into a logbook. Or, a logbook can be used in conjunction with the smartphone app so that information can be corroborated.
The popularity of using a smartphone app to track a driver’s journey is definitely increasing. Even car companies are getting on the bandwagon, offering free apps for the purpose of mileage capture. Some GPS companies have also launched apps that work in tandem with their telematics and delivery route planning software, whilst others use app technology to sync driver journey details with the fleet manager database for easy and instant access.
Whilst the popularity of smart phone apps is growing, the convenience of using an app to track mileage is undeniable. However, not all apps work with all types of smartphone. A driver can forget to bring their smartphone to work, or may not wish to use their personal phone for work purposes. As well, employers may not provide their drivers with a phone.
Mileage Logging Hardware
This technology involves plugging a device into the USB port or cigarette lighter in a vehicle to track mileage via GPS. Depending on the provider, mileage data can be accessed remotely, or uploaded to a computer. There are many ways in which this device can be priced. Some offer ongoing subscriptions, whilst others prefer a one-off fee.
This method of capturing mileage is definitely convenient for the driver, who needs to do nothing but plug the unit in. It is also less expensive than tracking via telematics and requires less time for administration than other methods. But again, driver error can come into play with a driver forgetting to plug the unit in. As well, because the unit relies on GPS signal strength to operate properly, inaccurate information can be submitted in the event of inclement weather or other events which can muddy the signal.
Mileage Capture via Fuel Card
Many fuel card companies offer mileage capture software. Some offer levels of functionality, whilst others offer dongles that can be placed inside the vehicle. Drivers are already used to providing their vehicle registration and mileage when paying for their fuel, which may make this option easy to implement. There have been reports that using a dongle has cut claim completion to five minutes per month as opposed to one hour for manual input.
But a company may not wish to rely on its drivers to submit mileage, or on the cashier to ask for that information.
Like the dongle, a telematics device is installed in a vehicle and then controlled by the driver, who selects an option based on whether their journey is for business or personal reasons. The driver then must log into the telematics software to generate an expense report. They must also enter details about each journey into the software.
High accuracy is a definite benefit of using a telematics device, but it can also be very expensive to implement as well as time-consuming if drivers aren’t keen to use the technology. As well, monitoring may be required to ensure that only business journeys are being logged.
One thing is certain; a fleet manager is never out of choices where it comes to mileage capture.