5 Myths About GPS Fleet Tracking

Let’s Separate GPS Tracking Fact from Myth.

GPS Fleet Tracking technology is an ever changing field, and is dramatically different now than it was when we started out in 2004.  When we talk to business owners and fleet operations managers about implementing a GPS tracking solution as part of their overall fleet management strategy, we usually run across the same set of objections and concerns.  Here are five of the most common myths that we come across these days.

Myth #1. GPS fleet tracking systems are expensive.


Fleet monitoring monthly service fees range from around $20 to over $50 per vehicle.  Price is always a factor, but it is equally important to be sure that the service is capable of doing what it needs to do to get you a solid return on your investment.  If all you plan to do with the service is check to see where your vehicles are and where they have been recently, then a basic service may do the trick.  But as you dig deeper into the true cost saving opportunities of a fleet monitoring solution, you will find that the investment in a more comprehensive solution can easily return 3 to 5 times what you spend.  If you are thinking about a low cost solution, be sure you understand what kind of support you will receive with the service.  Cutting support staff is usually the first thing that goes when the price drops on a service, and having help available when you need it can be crucial.

Myth #2. I can just track everyone’s smartphone.

Tracking smartphones is an option, as long as you are careful and really think things through.  Remember that privacy considerations will come in to play if you are tracking someone when they are off duty, so be sure that you are not tracking someone’s activity when you are not supposed to.  It’s also important to remember that phones can be turned off and tracking apps can be disabled, which can lead to not having tracking services available when you need them.  We normally recommend to our clients that they focus on tracking the vehicles rather than phones since vehicle operations are usually where the largest cost savings opportunities lie, but each situation is different so it’s a good idea to talk things over with an expert before making a decision.

Myth #3. The employees will mutiny if I track them!

We have seen this happen, but a little preparation can go a long way towards avoid any major disruption.  Change can be uncomfortable to any organization, and this can be especially true when it involves adding an extra layer of supervision.  While there is a good chance that a few employees will be unhappy having their work day monitored more closely, the good ones aren’t likely to mind much.  The truth is that the employees who have the biggest issue with the implementation of a fleet GPS tracking system are often the ones who have been goofing off in the middle of the work day, and getting their behavior under control is better for the entire organization in the long run.

Myth #4. GPS fleet tracking systems are complicated.

It is true that a professional grade GPS fleet tracking solution is a sophisticated, powerful, complex system that can seem overwhelmingly difficult to learn in the beginning, especially if you pick the wrong GPS company to partner with.  Our advice is to pick one or two key issues and focus on those first.  If you use this approach you will find that learning how to use the tracking system to address those primary issues will be much easier than trying to learn everything at once.  You will also find that if you fix a couple of big items a lot of the little problems will magically disappear all by themselves. Why?  Because once the word gets out among your fleet staff that problems are being identified and addressed by the new fleet GPS tracking system, everyone will begin to think twice about any inappropriate behavior that the tracking system could monitor, regardless of whether or not you are actually looking at all the of the telemetry that is available.

Myth #5. Fuel costs are so low. I don’t need to worry about fleet costs right now.

While it is true that fuel is almost always one of the top cost in a fleet operations budget, there are many other significant cost savings opportunities that can be addressed by a quality fleet monitoring program.  Making sure that staff are starting on time and not leaving early, taking the appropriate amount of time for lunch or breaks, and making sure important vehicle maintenance cycles are not overlooked are just a few of the areas of opportunities that can more than pay for the cost of a monitoring system.  Besides, fuel prices may be low now but it won’t stay that way forever, and cutting back on unnecessary vehicle miles is still one of the best cost savings opportunities available to any fleet.

About Don Sesler

Don Sesler is the Owner and President of Sageplan Technology Consulting. While being the "company quarterback" does take up some of his time, Don still prefers the role of technologist, helping his customers improve the efficiency, security, and productivity of their business.