Whether you’re adopting a vehicle tracking solution for the first time, or are looking to upgrade your current system, there are things to keep in mind that will make the process much easier. Broadly changing your operations amounts to not only a technological and workflow shift, but a cultural one as well. But if you know what to expect, all the pieces should fall into place with minimal effort. Here are some tips to help make the process smooth and painless.
Evaluate Your Choice
An effective solution should provide a core set of functions. To see if yours makes the grade, answer the following questions.
Does your system:
- Enable two-way communication between your dispatcher and drivers?
- Optimize routing so your drivers can avoid traffic slowdowns?
- Remind you when it’s time for routine maintenance, reducing the likelihood of higher-cost repairs?
- Feature built-in dashboards to give you deeper insight into your operations?
Stay Organized and Make a Plan
During the transition to a new system, platform or method of vehicle tracking, it’s important to equip your entire organization with the information they need to implement effectively. When it’s finally time to “flip the switch,” make sure you have a plan that suits the scale of your solution and prepares everyone that will be impacted.
You might begin with a learning period to develop awareness and transition staff to new processes. Follow this up by enforcing compliance and correcting mistakes or entrenched, outdated behaviors. Once everybody’s up to speed, let your existing and new employees know that following the new process is a job requirement.
Establish Goals and Metrics
A large part of the value of vehicle tracking is the difference in metrics before and after implementation. Before implementation, examine your current performance and cost metrics to establish achievable short- and long-term goals. Choose improvements that matter most to your organization — a common one is reducing the total cost per mile driven. And be conscious of incremental improvements that can have synergistic effects. For example, driver performance can impact fuel economy by up to 33%.
Metrics to track:
- Total miles driven
- Driver routing
- Cost per mile
- Fuel economy
- Vehicle idle time
Fleets that implemented vehicle tracking can see a 10.2% decrease in fuel consumption.1
Fleet management can reduce total miles driven by up to 10%.2
To successfully meet your business goals, you should identify concrete steps towards achieving them. For instance, rather than merely ordering drivers to reduce idle time, provide them with the training to do so. Dispatchers can help by suggesting data-driven recommendations.
Finally, it’s important to periodically check to see what’s working well and where your vehicle tracking solution can improve. Record data over set periods of time based on your implementation level and compare those data sets with each other and with your pre-implementation data. This process will help you evaluate your progress and re-tool your strategy to achieve an even better return on your investment.
Get Employee Buy-In
Even a perfectly implemented VTS may not yield results if employees don’t understand or appreciate its benefits. Securing their buy-in often determines the long-term success of your investment. Get your employees on board by involving everyone in the process from the very beginning.
A vehicle tracking solution can lead to a 12% decrease in labor costs.3
Communicate the benefits of implementation well before you plan to start, and be sure to reinforce the connection between a well-run fleet and the health of the entire organization. For example, vehicle tracking data can help managers identify high-performing employees, which directly affects employee wages and the outcome of periodic reviews. Inviting employee input about the change reduces resistance by giving them a stake in the decision.
During and after implementation, a great fleet manager or business owner will empower all employees to play their part in maintaining vehicles and keeping good records. Preventative maintenance software is often based on e-mail notifications, so encourage staff to develop a cadence to check those messages and act on them in a timely fashion. Establish a maintenance routine for all vehicles and stick to it.
A 2015 survey revealed that 59% of fleets thought productivity was a major benefit of using vehicle tracking.4
Vehicle tracking increases efficiency, reduces costs and empowers drivers. If you plan properly, implement effectively and encourage employee participation, your company can see benefits at every level.
To see how U.S. Cellular can work with you to help you get the most out of a vehicle tracking solution, call 866-616-5587 or visit our fleet management solutions page.
- Automotive Fleet. "How to Increase Fleet Productivity Using Telematics." September 2015. http://www.automotive-fleet.com/article/story/2015/10/how-to-increase-fleet-productivity.aspx
- GPS Insights. "2016-17 Fleet Management Technology Report."
- Automotive Fleet.