Your fleet is the most cost-intensive investment your company has ever made. Knowing where your trucks are at any given moment is paramount to an efficient, profitable operation, and protecting that investment should be considered a foundational part of your overall fleet management strategy. This is where truck tracking comes in.
Make no mistake, a truck tracking system is an investment. Fortunately, it is an investment that can generate return-on-investment (ROI) quickly.
What is truck tracking?
A truck tracking system, also known as an asset tracking system, is an IoT device that allows a fleet manager to monitor a truck or asset’s location, speed, idling, engine and battery health, even driving trends. Benefits of fleet asset management include:
- Saving money on fuel
- Cutting vehicle downtime
- Reducing travel time by finding the most efficient routes
- Increasing driver and vehicle safety
How does a trucker tracker work?
A small GPS tracker device is connected to a truck’s onboard diagnostic port. The truck tracking device collects data from the vehicle including GPS location, distance traveled, speed, fuel usage, idle time, and any unusual braking or turning.
The device sends the gathered data to an online dashboard, generally through a cellular or WiFi connection. The data is then organized into reports and alerts, which you can analyze and use to better manage your operations.
When shopping for a tracker, look for a device that is “plug-and-play” and doesn’t require a mechanic to install or will result in vehicle downtime.
Truck tracking costs
As with anything that uses new technology, the costs associated with truck tracking can vary greatly. Some companies offer rental or leasing options, which can provide an advantage if your vehicles will be out of service for long periods of time, or if certain trucks are nearing their retirement.
The downside of renting or leasing is that you will be paying a monthly rental charge for the onboard equipment, and over time, you may end up paying more than if you had simply bought the devices outright.
When researching truck tracking solutions for your fleet, keep in mind the associated costs should be in alignment with your company’s growth plans. If you plan to grow you’ll want a solution that can grow with you.
Other factors that affect costs include:
- How sophisticated the system is (does it transmit in real-time, or at lesser intervals)?
- Is the tracking device plug-and-play or does it need a hardwire install?
- Do you want real-time monitoring of the devices with a robust monitoring and alert system?
- How large is your fleet (how many devices will you require)?
How much do you need for asset tracking equipment and monitoring?
Costs vary depending on the devices and monitoring systems chosen. Outright purchase of the devices (again, depending on the type of device) can range from $100 to over $500 per unit.
Even at the high end, purchasing may be the better option since rental costs can often equal the purchase cost in about a year, long before the end of a good device’s lifespan.
The cost of monitoring the data provided by the devices can range from $15 to $50 per vehicle per month, again, depending on the number of vehicles and the type of tracking system.
A truck tracking system is generally far more cost-effective when it is part of an overall fleet management system and platform that work together.
How truck tracking can offer a quick ROI
All companies, no matter what industry they may be involved in, share the common goals of saving money, increasing their bottom lines, and making sure that their investments offer a substantial return on investment. Truck tracking systems assist in making these goals attainable.
Trucking companies use GPS trackers for a variety of reasons, including:
- Tracking vehicles in the field
- Improving driver safety
- Reducing fuel costs
- Monitoring vehicle usage information for maintenance and repair decisions
- Improving the security of vehicles
All of these can contribute to monetary savings, once again showing great potential for quick ROI. An Aberdeen study showed that vehicles with truck tracking devices had, on average:
- A 21 percent reduction in CO2 emissions
- An 18 percent reduction in driving time
- A 15 percent reduction in vehicle downtime
- A 13 percent reduction in fuel costs
In addition, many insurance companies offer reduced premiums for companies that use truck tracking for their fleets.
A recent article in the Commercial Carrier Journal detailed how insurance companies are leveraging technology to calculate insurance risks, a major factor in determining premiums.
One firm cited in the article saw their premiums go from $14,000 per vehicle to $7,500 per vehicle. Since the trucking company had 50 trucks, they ended up saving $325,000 per year on insurance premiums thanks to the installation of truck tracking hardware and the accompanying software.
Lastly, asset tracking systems can help mitigate losses from theft or vehicle misuse. The theft of valuable cargo is a big concern in the transportation industry. The advantages of truck (and thereby cargo) tracking are immense, and generally include both vehicle and asset location tracking, and the ability to give real-time alerts to cargo threats using sensors.
Benefits outweigh the cost
As you can see from the above numbers, while there is an initial investment in a truck tracking system, the benefits can often far outweigh the costs.
Remember when you look into a truck tracking solution for your company that the cheapest route may not be the best solution for your fleet. Look for a robust system with monitoring solutions that address your company’s specific needs. The savings in fuel costs, downtime, insurance, and other factors could more than make up for the initial cost of a truck tracking system.