GPS Trackers And Delivery Schedules - Could Tech Save You Miles And Money?

Why use GPS Tracking Technology?

To an outsider, deliveries seem pretty straightforward. An order comes in, and a delivery driver is dispatched to take it to the right address. However, delivery schedules can 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 customer’s expectations.
  • Each driver’s 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 work 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 runs optimally. Smaller businesses and delivery companies can benefit from using GPS trackers too. In fact, anyone who takes on any delivery work should be using them. So, what can GPS trackers 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 actually to 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 adding extra time to 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 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 like the SMS Terrain Tracker 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 great attitudes, 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 and 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 know that their vehicle is fitted with a GPS tracker, they are more likely to show their preferred behaviours and attitudes. However, an important point to remember is that you can’t 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 don’t do this, you could be violating the privacy of your drivers.

Shopping for GPS Trackers

If you run a large fleet with many vehicles, you'll likely 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 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.