Why use GPS Tracking Technology?
To an outsider, deliveries seem pretty simple and straightforward. An order comes in and a delivery driver is dispatched to take it to the right address. However, delivery schedules can actually be incredibly complicated to plan and manage. With hundreds or even thousands of orders and only a limited number of drivers, companies need to ensure that:
- Every delivery is made on time and in line with the customers expectations
- Each drivers time is optimised so that there are no wasted journeys or unnecessary routes
- Each route takes in as many addresses as possible
- Traffic, roadworks, congestion and other obstructions are avoided
Essentially, each delivery driver needs to be working as efficiently as possible. If it takes one hour to deliver just one parcel, this is a massive waste of resources and could lead to financial disaster for the company. Ideally, delivery companies should be working towards hitting as many deliveries as possible per hour. Once targets are met, you can move on to a more ambitious goal for your fleet.
How tech can help
Nowadays, nearly all fleet managers use GPS tracking technology to monitor their fleet and ensure it is running at optimum efficiency. Smaller businesses and delivery companies can benefit from using GPS trackers too. In fact, anyone who takes on any delivery work should definitely be using them. So, what can GPS trackers actually do to streamline and improve your delivery schedules? Here are just a few of the benefits they offer:
Improving efficiency in route planning
Delivery companies spend quite a lot of time planning the most efficient and quickest routes for their drivers, to take in as many addresses and drops as possible. But it's one thing to plan a route with efficiency in mind and quite another for the journey to actually turn out to be the quickest and most direct. Your driver could easily run into traffic, problems finding somewhere to stop and turn around, dead ends and cul-de-sacs all of which adds extra time onto the journey.
GPS tracking technology can help in two ways. Firstly, you can use them to analyse your existing routes and see how long they are actually taking compared to your plans. Secondly, you can use the technology to plan and monitor more efficient routes. A fleet manager can monitor a driver in real-time and if problems emerge, use the data provided by the tracker to find a more efficient route.
Vital stats and analysis
GPS trackers offer a far more accurate way of monitoring the vital statistics for your delivery fleet. This includes mileage, time spent on deliveries, break times and even fuel costs (using mileage figures). You can work out the average speed of drivers and even analyse their driving habits to spot inefficient driving that could be wasting fuel. These statistics are hugely useful, especially when it comes to putting plans in place for cutting costs and improving efficiency. You can even use figures such as your mileage and fuel costs for your tax returns and other vital-but-boring paperwork. Having all of this essential data at your fingertips can be a real time-saver!
Providing better customer service
With the ability to track vehicles in real-time, you can also keep your customers updated with what time they can expect to receive their delivery. No longer do they have to wait all day because of a ridiculous 7 am to 5 pm delivery window, you can now tell them to expect their delivery from 1 pm to 3 pm. When the driver actually sets off or is around 30 minutes away according to the GPS tracker, another automatic update can be sent out to the customer. All of this provides a much higher level of customer service than you may previously have been able to offer, and it makes for happier customers. Best of all, a lot of these updates can be automated with the right GPS tracking technology, so it need not be time-intensive.
Keep a closer eye on drivers
Another thing that can affect the efficiency of a delivery service is the team of drivers you have working for you. Most will be safe, sensible drivers with a great attitude, but the occasional driver could be letting the company down. They could risk your reputation by speeding or irresponsible parking, or they could be deviating from the routes you've assigned them. Even worse, they could be missing out or failing to complete deliveries. All of these things can spoil the efficiency of your service, so will cost the company money.
The quickest way to spot these problems is by fitting vehicles with GPS trackers and monitoring each vehicle. If drivers are aware that their vehicle is fitted with a GPS tracker, they also are more likely to show the behaviours and attitudes you would prefer. An important point to remember, however, is that you cant track drivers in their own time. If they use their own vehicles, you should make it a point of company policy to stop monitoring the moment the driver clocks off for the day. If you dont do this, you could be violating the privacy of your drivers.
Shopping for GPS trackers
If you run a large fleet with lots of vehicles, you're likely to need something a little more advanced than a standard GPS tracker. You'll need a GPS tracking solution complete with monitoring and reporting software, one that is specially designed for fleet applications. However, if you are a small business that has recently started to offer a delivery service with just one or two vehicles standard GPS trackers could work very nicely. Online Spy Shop has a number of different options available, including real-time trackers and SMS trackers. The latter is a good option if you simply want to check in on your vehicles from time to time, as they send a location update on request via SMS right to your phone.