GPS tracking for trucks helps commercial drivers navigate their routes efficiently. At the same time, fleet managers can know where their vehicles are at any moment. This visibility offers many benefits and can improve overall fleet management. 

GPS tracking for trucks

GPS truck tracking monitors asset and fleet vehicle locations and activities using cellular and satellite technology. When fleet managers can locate vehicles and assets in real time, they can make strategic decisions to shorten loading times, boost daily productivity, estimate fuel consumption and emissions levels, and track asset usage.

There are two types of GPS tracking for trucks: active GPS and passive GPS. In the active approach, GPS trackers process and send data in real time, providing visibility anytime and anywhere. A passive GPS tracker will gather and send data when triggered (e.g., at a time interval or by the arrival or exit of a vehicle through a geofence). Most modern tracking for trucks leverages a combination of both active and passive GPS technology. 

How does GPS tracking work?

Fleet owners and operators attach a GPS fleet tracker to a commercial vehicle. The tracker identifies the vehicle’s location by connecting and sending data to a group of satellites. By analyzing that location data in relation to the positioning of at least three satellites from the global navigation satellite system (GNSS) network, vehicle latitude and longitude coordinates are calculated. The GPS tracker data also identifies the time and elevation. A wireless carrier tower picks up the signal and the transmitted coordinates for relay to a cloud server. Fleet tracking or management software connects to that server to access the real-time GPS data that fleets need.

4 benefits of GPS truck tracking

A GPS tracking system can do much more than just help drivers get from point A to point B. Consider these four benefits of GPS tracking for fleets

1. Increase efficiency and productivity

Tracking trucks with GPS provides real-time visibility across fleet operations. This can support productivity by reducing dependency on manual communication. Managers can easily access real-time and historical operational data for drivers, equipment, and vehicles without having to reach out to drivers during their jobs on the road.

Knowing where fleet vehicles are by tracking trucks with GPS enables real-time route optimization as well. Anticipating changing weather conditions or noting traffic or accidents on a planned route, managers could reroute vehicles to keep deliveries on schedule. 

2. Improve safety

Knowing where the driver is on a route at all times can also alert managers when a fleet vehicle enters a dangerous area to combat vehicle and cargo theft. Geofencing tools provide real-time alerts when a vehicle enters or exits a particular area. 

GPS tracking systems for trucks can positively impact driver and road safety. With access to telematics data regarding speed or harsh braking, fleet safety managers can monitor driver behavior. This can help identify drivers who are good candidates for coaching and focus continued training on areas of improvement relevant to individual drivers.

3. Reduce costs

GPS tracking data provides access to a real-time, bird’s-eye view, but insights can also be gained from historical location reports. Knowing where vehicles have been, which routes drivers picked, and how long it took them to complete trips makes it possible to optimize future trips. This can help managers identify which routes to avoid (e.g., to avoid idling time or high theft-risk areas). By selecting safer, more efficient routes, fleet managers can improve fuel savings, cut maintenance expenses, and counter asset theft.

4. Enhance customer satisfaction

Tracking trucks with GPS comes with the added benefits of geofencing and dynamic ETAs. With a geofence around the pickup location and the drop-off destination, customers can be informed of a truck’s progress. 

Dynamic ETAs — those that continuously update based on current trajectory, traffic, and weather conditions — also help provide managers and customers with the most up-to-date information of when to expect a truck. This level of communication can help improve customer relationships.

How GPS tracking benefits fleet management

With GPS tracking, fleet managers can know exactly where drivers, vehicles, trailers, and equipment are, in real time. This has benefits for all types of commercial vehicles including delivery, passenger transit, construction, oil and gas, and other fleets. 

Mohawk Materials, which produces and delivers high-quality concrete and sand across Oklahoma and Kansas, used GPS tracking to upgrade fleet visibility. Being able to track inbound vehicles and start preparing the outbound load for that driver has improved productivity. Plus, using location history, Mohawk is able to track how long employees are at a certain location. This simplifies invoicing and, if a driver is at a facility for over two hours, the company can charge for the extra time.

5 ways GPS truck tracking can improve fleet management

Tracking trucks with GPS provides more visibility into fleet vehicles so overall performance can be improved. This section outlines five ways GPS truck tracking helps fleets of all types and sizes become better, smarter, and more effective.

1. Real-time vehicle tracking

Real-time GPS fleet tracking and location history records can help fleet managers identify if a vehicle is being misused or take quick action if a vehicle deviates from its planned path.

Fleet tracking data can also help reduce administrative burden by helping managers know where vehicles and assets are and how long they’ve been there. This location-based data can help the back office easily manage billing, invoicing, and payroll.

2. Route optimization

Route optimization requires advanced calculations of many different factors. With GPS tracking data available, a fleet can engage in dynamic routing. Managers can plan routes to meet expected delivery times. Then, with the ability to track where the driver is and estimate when they’ll arrive at their designated stops while avoiding known traffic congestion or inclement weather.

Meanwhile, drivers are provided with a full view of the route, each stop along the way, and how long it’ll take to get there.

3. Maintenance scheduling

GPS truck trackers can provide a wide range of useful data about fleet vehicles including fuel levels, barometric pressure, battery voltage, coolant temperature, engine intake temperature, engine load, reefer temperature, and more. With this information, scheduling preventative maintenance is simplified. Drawing on utilization reports analysis, managers can take steps to ensure fleet health rather than having to deal with unexpected downtime. 

Fault code reports indicate potential issues. In some cases, when immediate attention is needed, a manager could use GPS data to route the vehicle to the closest reliable service.

4. Combat fuel fraud 

With GPS truck tracking it’s easier to counter fuel fraud because managers know where each vehicle is and whether it actually needs fuel. 

Combining the Motive fleet card with GPS truck tracking, helps managers verify that the truck and card are at the same location. If they’re not, and fuel is purchased, the fleet manager will get a notification about potential fraud.

5. Support compliance

Compliance can be simplified when tracking systems integrate with driver hours-of-service data as well. When drivers are notified that they need to take breaks to avoid HOS violations, this system can also suggest the most convenient places for them to rest while on their planned routes.

With truck tracking also monitoring refrigerated trailers and retrieving temperature logs, your fleet can easily meet Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) reefer compliance needs.

Integrate GPS tracking systems for trucks in your fleet

Real-time visibility into the location, utilization, and health of vehicles, equipment, and assets can transform your fleet. Enjoying centralized access to utilization reports with dispatch, fault codes, and dormancy data can help you to maximize fleet productivity.

Drivers may be reluctant to have their every movement tracked, but they can be won over to the value of fleet tracking by sharing this article’s many advantages. Effectively earn buy-in from drivers to GPS tracking and fleet management software solutions with the following steps: 

  • Identify what you want to accomplish with the technology
  • Create a program that achieves those goals
  • Check state privacy laws that could impact your plan
  • Communicate with drivers about the need to protect them, vehicles, and assets
  • Explain how compliance can benefit and administrative burden is reduced
  • Develop and share with drivers any policies regarding access to data (e.g., how access is controlled, what will and won’t be recorded/reported)
  • Train drivers and office staff in the full functionality of the software to let them enjoy the full benefits

A complete, all-in-one fleet management solution

GPS tracking has growing momentum in the transportation and logistics industries. Yet not every solution offers the same levels of visibility. To offer top-notch location collection, Motive’s truck tracking collects GPS data based on changes in speed and bearing to ensure accuracy.

We’ve also designed our dashboard system to be intuitive for the people in the office tracking an entire fleet. The Location History makes it easy to find what you need about a particular route while our Vehicles Tab provides a high-level view of the entire fleet. You’ll also know whether vehicles are moving, without having to refresh, as our Location Experience lets you follow a truck icon in motion, in real time.

With GPS tracking with Motive, enjoy an improved experience and the advantages of an extensive fleet management software integration. Along with increased efficiency, improved safety, reduced costs, and enhanced customer satisfaction, you can also optimize routes and maintenance scheduling. Try a demo of our GPS truck tracking solution.

Better combat fuel fraud as well. Motive is the only fleet management company with its own fleet card tied to truck GPS tracking to help detect and prevent fuel theft. Apply for your card today.