GPS fleet tracking, as part of the telematics industry, is possibly one of the most underutilized tools for managing and reducing costs in large, enterprise companies.

However, as Bob Dylan once sang, the times are a-changing, and businesses with large fleets are scrambling for cost-saving ideas, including advanced location-based tracking solutions—an option once thought too complicated or even unnecessary.

The growth of telematics solutions is reflected in the meteoric rise of technology companies like Telogis, a global software business regularly acknowledged as one of the fastest growing companies in the industry. Telogis recently completed its second acquisition in just eight months (growing a record 922% since 2005) and is set to continue as a leading provider in the coming years, securing large enterprise fleets around America—fleets that are eager to achieve significant cost-savings.

Why telematics? Enterprise fleets are seeing value in fleet tracking

  • Cost-effective maintenance scheduling— In one example, fleet maintenance managers were able to start performing vehicle repairs based on actual usage rather than an arbitrary interval. For example, UPS would replace starter motors every 18 months regardless of how many stops a vehicle actually made. With telematics, they can now replace them based on usage, saving thousands in parts that didn’t need replacing.
  • Remote diagnosis regardless of location — Vehicle sensors can beam specific engine data back to a central location, regardless of where the asset is working. Not only can repairs be completed quickly, with the needed parts automatically ordered from a central office, potential breakdowns can be avoided with alerts monitoring vital engine parts. Large crane operator Lampson saw the value in monitoring a particular belt that could potentially save them around $60,000.
  • Improved driver behavior — The data is not just about tracking worker activity in real-time; it’s about providing managers with a lot more insight into how their staff work. It allows them the ability to look at areas where the company needs to modify behavior to stay financially competitive or avoid expensive liability claims.

There are plenty of other reasons enterprises, as well as smaller fleets, are switching to telematics, but the fact that it generates a positive ROI (saving them more than the solution actually costs) means the move is essentially a no-brainer. With several different solutions on the market, though, how do you choose the right one for your enterprise?

Choosing a telematics solution can be tough

We all know that enterprises don’t generally make big decisions on a whim. They can take months to arrive at a decision and require involvement from a lot of different experts, making sure that all the possible repercussions are considered, and the various options explored.

Enterprise fleets may worry about not just the direct impact of installing a telematics solution, but also the potential side effects. Will staff accept GPS tracking or will they sabotage it? What are the long-term costs of installing? Will we get positive ROI? Will the technology become obsolete in the next few years? Can I trust my vendor to stick around and also to keep pace with new technology?

Generally, firms will try to get answers to questions like these when they send out an RFP, but what sometimes happens is that they get answers from several different telematics software suppliers that all sound very similar, with the same marketing spin applied.

How can an enterprise cut through the noise and know what telematics solution is best for them?

The best way to choose a telematics solution

It sounds obvious but the best solution is the one that addresses the problem — the real problem. Not an artificial problem a salesperson has created, but the original problem you set out to solve in the first place.

And sometimes the only way to do that effectively is by checking with other, similar organizations that have been through the same process, know where you’re coming from, and know what the most common pitfalls are. While it’s not always easy to make contact with these people (because in most cases they’re competitors!) you can review available telematics case studies.

Case studies will provide you with some general direction on the sort of challenges you’ll face, how to overcome them and where you can go for help. In some cases, vendors will even be able to arrange for you to meet the subject of the case study so you can dig deeper.

Is telematics right for you?

If you’re an enterprise fleet looking to make cost-savings, productivity gains and managerial improvements (seriously, who isn’t?!) then you should at least look into deploying a telematics solution. Run a pilot project with a percentage of your vehicles and we’re sure it won’t be long before you convert the whole fleet.