GPS connectivity made the lives of long-haul truckers vastly easier by eliminating paper maps from their cabs. This changed the game even before smartphone apps like Waze and Google Maps were available on our phones. Now GPS is just a given—table stakes for most long-haul trucks and other fleets.
So, while getting from point A to point B quickly with GPS eliminates a lot of downtime, the technology has more advantages for trucking, construction and mining – or any fleet related business – to realize. Satellite tracking coupled with a holistic, real-time view of asset whereabouts and connected workflows is a powerful combination for increasing efficiency and productivity. Here are some additional ways GPS fleet management can improve service, increase productivity and break bottlenecks:
- Superior client service and communication – Carriers must offer clients a minimum basic level of service, but no one distinguishes their business based on a minimum basic level of service, especially in a commoditized industry. Differentiate based on transparency and communication. GPS fleet management lets carriers show customers where their loads are always, dispatch the right drivers for maximum efficiency, provide accurate estimated times of arrival, provide proof of service or delivery and track total time on site.
- Understanding the Haul Cycle – heavy construction equipment and off road mining vehicles cost money every minute they’re in use; mining operations are especially cost sensitive. Understanding the haul cycle is critical to measuring productivity. Knowing how long the average haul cycle is—from queuing, to picking up a load, transporting & drop off time, cycling back, speeding and queuing for a new load all goes into the profitability equation. The difference between idling and stationary time is important, too. An asset may be stationary, but could be loading aggregate, which isn’t unproductive time or idle. Whereas a piece of equipment that is sitting idle—with the engine off—are examples of inefficiencies operators want to eliminate.
- Fleet management software reduces or even eliminates instances of an asset sitting idle by making sure there’s a reason for that truck or piece of equipment to be on the job. On construction sites, driving efficiencies means eliminating asset underutilization. Any piece of equipment that is sitting idle is wasted money. If it’s not needed where it is, wouldn’t it be better off making money for you at another site that needs it? Fleet management streamlines business processes to squeeze the most productivity out of the resources at the construction job or mine site.
- Bottlenecks – gridlock in congested areas of the country like Atlanta are productivity killers. Each extra hour on the road adds increased costs to the business. It’s a ripple effect: more time on the road means more costs in fuel, payroll and maintenance of the vehicle. That’s felt throughout the supply chain and can even run drivers afoul of HOS regulations. Data integration between trucks, dispatch and GPS-guided communications creates a better decision-making environment, like mapping trips through typically traffic-choked regions at off peak hours. Making use of under-utilized assets closer to pick up points is another remedy, but only if the organization has a complete view of every truck available to it at any moment.
GPS fleet management uses are more numerous than what we explored here. Others include vehicle analytics to schedule maintenance to correspond with slow points in the business cycle; monitor equipment for small issues that could balloon to bigger problems; and helping logistics providers and suppliers accommodate late schedule changes while keeping to deadlines. It’s technology for the sake of efficiency and a more streamlined, responsive and profitable business.