At some point, every technology makes the transition from its early-adopter stage to that time when business professionals start asking themselves, “Is this something I need in order to stay competitive?” For many commercial fleet operators, GPS fleet tracking is there now.
Part of making a strong business decision involves weighing the known facts instead of relying on secondhand stories, the wisdom passed along by a friend of a friend. In that spirit, here are some of the misconceptions regarding GPS fleet tracking — and reasons why your experience may differ.
GPS Tracking Myth Number 1
Drivers distrust new technology and believe that location tracking means getting all up in their business. If I add GPS I could lose some of my best working associates.
There are two reasons why that isn’t likely to happen. First, even if there are gripes about technology, drivers recognize that it’s here to stay, and leaving one job for another would only be a temporary reprieve.
Second, once they start working with GPS fleet tracking, they’ll actually appreciate the benefits it affords them as well as the fleet manager. Those pluses include being able to communicate more effectively, improved routing and faster response with roadside assistance.
As far as reluctance to learn, look at it this way: your older drivers grew up before there were smart phones, which seemed like a daunting technology when it first came out. How many of those drivers don’t have a smart phone today — and how many would willingly give it up?
GPS Tracking Myth Number 2
GPS fleet tracking is too new and there are still too many negatives associated with it. Bad technology; I’ve seen news coverage where a driver on GPS routing hits a low overpass and shears off the top of the vehicle.
The global positioning system has been around since the launch of the first tracking satellites in 1978, and has served in thousands of military and civilian applications. Compared to routing or tracking methods that rely on dispatchers or drivers using maps and drivers reporting in, GPS is an order of magnitude more reliable as well as faster and simpler.
As far as a driver using GPS running into a low bridge — among GPS fleet tracking and routing products, the better ones do not simply calculate the shortest distance between two points. They’re designed for commercial fleet use and can be set up to take into account other variables including low bridges or limited-access roads.
GPS Tracking Myth Number 3
Just what I don’t need — another collection of hardware and software that adds complexity and expense to my business. Not to mention the hassle of training staff in using it.
A GPS fleet tracker is actually pretty simple. It usually consists of a receiver in each vehicle and asset tracking software operating on a desktop computer. Installation and operation are about as difficult as that sounds. To make it easy, a good telematics provider will work with you on implementing the system, help show drivers and fleet managers how to use it, and provide ongoing technical and service support to make the experience essentially hassle-free.
GPS Tracking Myth Number 4
My company isn’t big enough to need anything like this.
Past predictions from futurists and technical professionals are fun to read -- and one of the most famous is credited to Thomas Watson, the head of business technology company IBM, in 1943: “There is a world market for maybe five computers.” Whether Watson actually said that is disputed but there is no doubt that even a few decades ago most experts thought that computers only made sense for a substantial, perhaps multinational corporation. Nobody guessed how indispensable the PC would become for a business of any size.
What starts out as a resource available only to the big boys quickly turns into a tool so basic that an organization without it is operating at a disadvantage, relative to the competition. And from a marketing perspective, imagine a customer who can choose between a trucking business that uses GPS fleet tracking or one that depends on maps. Which would you pick?
GPS Tracking Myth Number 5
The initial cost makes GPS fleet tracking impractical for me.
As with any business system there is a capital investment required, but a comparison of the initial cost and the resulting savings will tip the scales heavily toward acquiring GPS fleet tracking. It can help shorten driving routes, reduce engine idling, lower fuel costs and fleet maintenance expense, improve fleet safety and increase the number of trips per day. GPS fleet tracking pays off the required investment usually within a few months — and continues to deliver a return on that investment, month after month.