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Geotab Privacy Mode

Geotab Privacy Mode

Geotab has created a privacy mode that will allow drivers and fleet managers to temporarily hide their vehicle tracking in the Geotab application. When privacy mode is used, location, speed, and engine data will not be visible. The driving data will still be collected while in privacy mode, however, it will be stored as private.

The purpose of privacy mode is for companies to temporarily not track drivers that take their vehicles home after working hours. This feature can be set to automatically turn on when work hours are finished (for example 5 pm to 8 am) or when a vehicle enters a specific zone. This is a great feature for companies that will let their employees use company-owned vehicles for personal use. Privacy mode can also be used when operating in sensitive areas to hide vehicle movement.

The privacy mode feature is downloaded through the Marketplace inside of the Geotab application. Once it is downloaded, it can be configured so that privacy mode will turn on automatically or it can be left alone so that drivers can turn it on and off themselves. For a driver to enable privacy mode, they will need to install the Geotab Drive app on their phone or smart device. A member of the admin team will also need to create the driver in the database and set them up with a password so that they can log into the Drive app. If your company is using E-Logs/HOS, you do not want to download the Privacy Mode Add-In as it will affect your duty status logs and you may no longer be in compliance per the FMCSA.

 

Learn more and join our: Introduction To Privacy Mode Webinar

Driving Productivity

Driving Productivity

Driver Productivity

Undoubtedly fleet managers are tasked with a multitude of different responsibilities and there is constant discussion about how busy fleet managers are in the workforce. The two largest and most expensive assets to fleet managers are their vehicles and their drivers therefore it is important to find drivers that are reliable, have the necessary requirements for the job and are productive. We will discuss three key aspects that help increase driver productivity.

Technology is a key component to increasing driver productivity. The use of GPS/Telematics solutions help save time and money. With better route planning additional stops can be generated along with a decrease in unnecessary mileage both generating additional profit. Having the ability to find the nearest qualified driver for unexpected calls saves valuable time as well as improving customer service. All of which drive productivity higher!

Proper vehicle maintenance is another factor when looking at increasing productivity. Implementing daily or weekly vehicle inspections will help maintain the vehicles key components. If combined with a GPS/Telematics solution engine management data that is otherwise unavailable is now at your fingertips. Less vehicle downtime = Increased productivity.

Finally let’s talk about driver involvement. Communication with the drivers is an absolute when working to increase productivity. Making sure the drivers are scheduled for training for refresher courses improves driving behavior which decrease wear and tear on the vehicle (as well as making them safer on the road). Coaching drivers on an individual level as well as the use of scorecard reports, will also have positive impact on productivity. Engage in a driving program that publicly acknowledges good driving behavior within the organization. Whether it is simply a certificate or an actual bonus type program working with drivers rather than against them will impact profits!

By implementing a GPS/Telematics solution, properly maintaining vehicle maintenance and better driver communication and involvement, fleet managers across the board will increase their organizations productivity. For more information please contact Fleetistics.

ROI with Fleet Management

ROI with Fleet Management

Return On Investment (ROI)

ROI Fleet Management | Fleetistics

ROI with Fleet Management

Discovering the Hidden Savings with GPS & Telematics!

No matter what industry you are in whether it be HVAC, Construction, Landscaping, or Law Enforcement we all face the same challenges. How do we maximize our bottom-line to increase profit growth? The quickest and most cost-effective way to improve profitability is to reduce expenses.

Fleetistics understands that expenses make up for a large portion of any company’s budget. However, it can be tough looking for opportunities to locate cost savings. Incorporating your telematics solution into your daily tasks can assist with finding savings.

In this article, we will review a wealth of opportunities that fleet managers and fleet operators can use to help improve the company bottom-line.

What Is ROI?

To maximize ROI, you have to first understand what ROI is:

ROI measures the amount of return on an investment relative to the investment’s cost. To calculate ROI, the benefit (or return) of an investment is divided by the cost of the investment, and the result is expressed as a percentage or a ratio such as 3:1. At Fleetistics we like to express the ROI in the number of days to recover the initiial investment and then the benefit in comparison to the monthly subscription service.

 

Where Are the Savings?

Every fleet is unique and requires each fleet manager/operator to calculate cost differently. With our 16+ years in the telematics industry, we have concluded there are two common variables that impact operating costs: vehicle class and vehicle mileage.

If you take a heavy duty (HD) long-haul fleet compared to a light duty (LD) low mileage fleet, you will notice that these vehicles have very different rolling costs per mile. The HD fleet will have higher proportional fuel, maintenance, depreciation and labor costs per mile. There are also several other factors that we need to consider such as
fuel management, reduction in miles, reducing repairs, vehicle maintenance, and driver coaching.

These are all factors that will affect the bottom-line for any organization. How proactive you are in managing these variables will determine your potential savings.

 

Fuel Management

The Fuel Flex Card is one of the simplest ways to help manage cost. Fleetistics offers a fuel card option from WEX called the Flexcard. This card has several great options and features to easily assist in reducing operating costs. Fleetistics has integrated WEX data with your Geotab GPS data for more insight into fuel purchasing and use.
You can view fuel expense data such as:

  • Fuel Type
  • Price Per Gallon
  • Non-Fuel Purchase
  • Security and Protection
  • WEX Mobile App
 Fleetistics-Fuel-Card-240px

When integrated with your Geotab telematics solution, each of these features ensures that your fleet is only using the vehicle only for work purposes. You can also send an alert for unplanned or unauthorized transactions!

These features cut down on fraudulent actions. It will also provide another level of fuel savings.

 

Reduction in Miles = Reduction in Man Hours

Each company is different so the need for man hours and miles will vary. However, if each company can reduce the miles driven from A to B, man-hours will also decrease. By understanding the miles driven between each location, you can see the effectiveness of the routing and scheduling process. Working to reduce the average distance between stops means a lower rolling cost per mile per revenue dollar.

  1. You can monitor the route each driver takes to every stop. Are they taking the most efficient route? If several businesses are in one geographical area, are they completing those stops first or are they bouncing back and forth between stops across town?
  2. Is the driver following, or sticking to, the route plan? Holding the driver to the optimized route plan is essential. If a driver has a favorite spot they like to stop for lunch, add a geofence and view it on the GPS track data to understand the impact on the optimized route. We call this plan versus actual route analysis.

 

Reducing Repairs and Maintenance

Planned and unplanned vehicle maintenance is the one thing that is common among all fleets. As fleet managers know, unplanned maintenance or breakdowns caused by a lack of maintenance, vehicle misuse or aggressive driving can be a costly. This does not have to be the case.

Telematics engine diagnostics data can assist in keeping unplanned maintenance time down by as much as 14%. Interruptions can cost between $100 to $300 per hour. Using your telematics solutions engine diagnostic tool can help prevent large and costly repairs by notifying you of a small issue before it becomes a big issue. Preventing safety issue and roadside breakdowns also avoids costs maintenance related expenses.

 

Driver Coaching

GO Talk Driver CoachBecoming proactive with your fleet is an integral part of your formula for success. Implementing driver training and best practices can quickly reduce fleet operating expenses and help you achieve your ROI sooner.

Not every driver is perfect. Fleets often have good drivers with bad driving habits. These are the drivers you want to target with a telematics solution. The GPS system can see what risky moves they are taking on the road and the built-in driver coaching buzzer will alert them when they are exhibiting unwanted driving behaviors. Driver coaching not only saves the company money but also supports safer driving habits. The goal is to change behavior, not to change drivers.

Here are a few programs and tools we recommend.

  • DriveTRAX – What GPS tracking cannot tell you.
  • Driver Challenge – Raise awareness by creating competition (Gamification).
  • Speeding Violations – Use your reports to see has been violating company driving standards.
  • GO Talk – Verbal instructions through an in-cab speaker to relay a clear coaching message.

Each of these factors offers tangible and quantifiable savings that can be realized given careful examination. As you look to incorporate greater levels of location intelligence into your business, look beyond the obvious benefit of GPS tracking to find other ways your company can save money.

GPS Tracker Comparison

GPS Tracker Comparison

Compare GPS Trackers

GPS Tracking System

Finding the right GPS tracker can mean thousands toward your ROI.

GPS Tracker Comparison

There are a wide variety of GPS trackers on the market today. Almost anything can be tracked but not everything can be tracked well. Understanding the basics of GPS tracking technology will help you make a quicker and better decision for your asset tracking needs. Being familiar with the industry terminology and technology will actually lead to an increased ROI. If you are looking for a fleet safety tool but realize you can also benefit from productivity data, you can find a GPS tracker that can help in both areas.

Let’s get started.

 

Vehicle v. Asset Tracking
Vehicle Trackers

Vehicle tracking provides a consistent and generally protected environment inside the vehicle. Devices don’t need to be IP67 rated like asset trackers which are more expensive. Vehicle GPS trackers typically use cellular communication due to a desire for more data, at a lower cost, because satellite coverage is not needed. Vehicle tracking services typically update every few seconds to no more than 2 minutes depending on the monthly cost. More data means a higher monthly cost.

Asset Trackers

Asset tracking can be done with satellite tracking systems or cellular GPS trackers depending on where the assets operate. Frac tanks used in the oil and gas industry generally use satellite trackers. Skid steers in urban construction almost always use cellular GPS trackers. Customers generally choose to receive more data at a lower cost; even if they cannot track an asset live 100% of the time. All GPS trackers have dead spots where they cannot communicate for some reason.

Backup Batteries

Backup batteries (BBs) are often requested and needed for unpowered assets. GPS devices require power from the asset or from a battery to operate. Assets, such as trailers, often sit without power for extended periods until connected to a tractor where power is restored. In these cases, a backup battery is needed. In vehicles, GPS devices receive constant power from the car battery.

In vehicle tracking, backup batteries are less important. BBs don’t enable the device to function as normal. BBs put the device in a reduced performance mode so the battery lasts longer. Customers often think BB will enable them to track the driver after they remove the GPS tracker as if it were still installed. BBs range from a CR2525 watch battery to lithium ion batteries. Vehicle trackers typically use small BBs which generally show you where the employee tossed the GPS unit out the window but not much more.

We sell all of the above options and have seen every scenario over the last 16+ years.

Tracking, Telematics, Diagnostics
Tracking

Vehicle location and speed data. Where an asset went, where it stopped and how long it was there.

Telematics

Data provided by the vehicles computer network and sensors (excluding engine data). This includes RPMs, accelerometer data for jack rabbit starts, harsh breaking, and reckless driving. It is the data used in accidents. Read more

Engine Diagnostics

Data transmitted by the engine through the OBD or J-Bus port generally consisting of fault codes and status data. There is a wide range of data available and GPS companies claim to offer these if they provide one data point out of several hundred. Ask good questions.

Installation & Tampering

 

There are essentially two types of installation used today; 3-wire and plug and play. The 3-wire installation is considered more reliable but it isn’t if the plug-and-play installation is done right with a Y-harness. View more on installations. 3-wire installations can be done on small to mid-size fleet trucks by most anyone that can install a car stereo. On bigger trucks and equipment it is best to use a trained installer or mechanic. Learning to install and troubleshoot the technology can save your operation a lot of time and money.

Tampering has been an issue for over 16 years. Tampering occurs with plug-and-plan (P&P) and 3-wire devices about equally. OBD devices that are installed without a Y-harness (moves GPS into the dash) are the most likely to be tampered with. Companies that sell devices requiring 3-wire installs will tell you OBD devices are always an issue. We sell both and the tamper rate is about the same. Tampering stops when you put your foot down. Read more about introducing GPS trackers to employees.

Equipment Considerations

 

Several equipment considerations such as backup batteries and communication networks are discussed in other areas of this blog. However, there are other things to consider in the physical design and construction of the GPS device itself.

First, all GPS trackers are not made equal. Significantly more engineering goes into some devices like the Geotab GO device. Othe GPS units are almost “dumb” in comparison and everything else is in between. We sell them all so we are communicating facts as we know them, not opinions.

GPS devices vary in construction quality. Some have thinner plastics and others more robust internal components. A good GPS chip set means faster acquisition time from a cold start and more accurate coordinates in tough environmental conditions. Some devices do well in heat where others shut down in the Arizona sun. Ask for the technical specification sheet and the warranty on the device.

Warranty Considerations

If you think about GPS trackers like a cell phone you will be able to easily understand the general conditions. In short, most have a limited warranty period if you are not on a perpetual lease or rental. Second, if you break it you buy it. If it breaks, you keep paying for the service until fixed. If it fails due to manufacturing the device is replaced and you are responsible for the service cost to swap the unit.

Backup Battery Size and Type

Lithium ion batteries are the only real choice for a battery due to durability and long-life. The size of the battery in milliamps determines how long the battery will last based on the draw from the GPS unit when asleep and when it wakes to transmit without constant power. Since batteries don’t last forever be sure the device will use off the shelf batteries to keep your cost down. Having to special order custom batteries drives up the operational cost. If you can replace the batteries you will save big money on service work.

ELD & Dispatching
Electronic Logging Device (ELD for FMSCA compliance)

ELD is a big deal which is coming at certain industries fast and furious. Selecting the right GPS tracker means you will also get ELD options, if and when needed. The first deadline is 12/17/2017. On this date fleet operators must be AOBRD compliant. AOBRD is a simpler rule set to follow than ELD. Those fleets, not AOBRD compliant by December 17 will have to be ELD compliant 2019.

Read the full 126-page ruling here.

Dispatching

Dispatching is the process of sending stop or route data to a driver.  Most ELD devices will offer some type of dispatching as an additional service. If you need both getting a GPS tracker that offers both will be significantly more convenient than two systems, which aren’t integrated, from two vendors. Read more here. 

Cellular v. Satellite

 

There are really two types of communication technology used for GPS trackers, satellite, and cellular. Don’t confuse GPS satellite with communication satellites. GPS satellites broadcast a radio wave like an FM radio station and you cannot “talk” back to it. Cellular and satellite communication generally talks 2-ways but satellites can be 1-way.

Most GPS trackers use cellular networks to move GPS and other data from the vehicle, to a cell tower, to a server, to the Internet. Because of the low cost, most fleet operators use cellular. Understanding the carrier used and the coverage footprint will enable you to know when you will receive “live” tracking data. Cellular is also more reliable because it can communicate with the towers more easily due to the radio frequency used.

Satellite communication is more of a specialty technology used when assets are operating in very remote areas where cellular service is not an option. Communication satellite signals do not penetrate objects such as trees or buildings and costs significantly more than cellular. Satellite systems also manage battery power differently which leads to less detailed track data.

Cellular networks generally use GSM or CDMA technology. Verizon and Sprint use CDMA and are generally being phased out and replaced by 4G or LTE service which also SIM cards. GSM is the international standard and is easily identified by a SIM card. SIM cards offer some flexibility but you cannot take a GPS device from one vendor and use it on another vendors website.

Log, Update & Refresh Rates

 

Understanding the relationship is important to sort out the information from various sales reps. Unfortunately, most sales reps in call centers don’t understand these concepts so you will have to prompt them to explain each in detail so you know what you are getting.

Log Rate

The frequency which the GPS tracker logs the position of the asset. This varies from a few seconds to once per day.

Update Rate

The rate at which the log data collected is transmitted to a cellular or satellite communication tower.

Refresh Rate

The rate at which the website refreshes and displays newly received log data.

Integration

 

Integration refers to the sharing or movement of data between applications, databases or services in order to increase the overall use and value of data already paid for. If you have a need to utilize the GPS tracker data in other areas you want to be sure the GPS vendor offers APIs. APIs are an industry standard method of moving data via the Internet in a secure manner. Read more

Critical Weather Layers

Critical Weather Layers

MORE THAN RADAR – CRITICAL WEATHER.

Almost any business with a fleet is impacted by critical weather. Critical weather references the exceptions to routine weather which is average and does not change our daily routine. Critical weather requires adjusting how we do business and live our lives because it represents extremes. Black ice, hail, tornados and heavy rain are examples of critical weather.

With 10 years of weather data to work with, formulas have been created and tested that provide statistically significant probability of accuracy in predicting when black ice might be present, where a storm is going and the severity of a hail storm. The MyFleetView map in your account (shown above) gives you access to various map layers for evaluation. Let us know your thoughts by completing the survey below.

 

Severe Weather Track

Daily Operations

As fleet managers we understand the impact weather has on our business. As weather intelligence gets better weather data becomes another variable in the decision making process. The accuracy and timeliness of weather data determines the value of the data. The sooner the data is available the more time there is to plan or respond more effectively.

Whether trucking, service of delivery, all fleet operations are subject to weather conditions. Critical weather goes beyond fleet operations and into many areas of a business such as:

  • Customer service – customers which cannot be serviced have to be rescheduled which results in a loss of productivity and revenue
  • Administration – Service credits, billing adjustments and service ticket administration all feel the impact of weather
  • Dispatching – Weather determines how many customers can be seen in a day, how many delays or reschedules are needed
  • Risk & Legal – Workers compensation, accident liability, and insurance vary based on weather
  • Logistics – The ability to get supplies to the right location at the right time so customers can be service or operations continued

Critical-Weather-Survey

How Important is Critical Weather Data?

**Click here** to let us know your thoughts. Knowing road conditions, snow fall, wind speed, temperature and other data can aid in planning, safety and logistics. Click the Filter tab on the right to view all available layers.

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