Maintenance is one of the most important parts of fleet management. A good maintenance strategy can help a company reduce repair costs, improve fuel efficiency and avoid vehicle downtime.
However, planning vehicle maintenance can be difficult, especially for companies that don’t know exactly where their fleet vehicles are located.
GPS tracking technology is one of the best tools that fleet managers can use to streamline or even fully automate maintenance.
Why companies are using GPS tracking for fleet management
GPS tracking is a fleet tracking strategy that uses connected GPS systems to provide managers with the real-time location of every vehicle in the fleet. Location data is often used to optimize scheduling and routing, allowing admins to make more informed decisions when they need to ship a vehicle or schedule a new job.
GPS data can also allow a system to track driver behavior, including unnecessary idling, speeding and hard braking. This information can be made available to fleet managers and dispatchers, as well as passed directly to drivers.
Fleet managers and dispatchers can use the information to improve their decision-making, while drivers can learn more about their own habits and practices, enabling them to identify potential areas for improvement.
These tools are popular with businesses in parts of the country where idling laws can mean hefty fines for companies that allow drivers to leave vehicles idling. They are also commonly used by companies looking to track and reduce dangerous driving habits that can affect vehicle health, reduce fuel consumption and impact driver safety.
The benefits of a GPS tracking system can vary from company to company, but most will see noticeable improvements in vehicle fuel efficiency, total driving hours, driver behavior, regulatory compliance, and safety.
Many GPS tracking systems are also part of a larger telematics system that can provide managers with even more fleet data. These systems may also include dashboards and data visualization tools to help fleet managers better understand the data being collected.
With the right solution, it can be much easier to predict fleet costs and implement new business policies that help improve fleet performance.
Automation of maintenance with GPS tracking
The most effective maintenance strategies are preventative. Long before small problems with a vehicle become serious problems, the company takes steps to keep the vehicle in the best possible operating condition.
For example, a company may hire a mechanic to periodically inspect brakes, check oil levels, change filters, or check tire tread. These simple controls allow companies to prevent the most common vehicle problems, such as: B. Brake failure, which is a common occurrence on vehicles such as tractor-trailers or trailer trucks when not properly maintained.
The simplest maintenance tasks tend not to be expensive or time-consuming, and can help keep vehicles on the road while providing other benefits — like better fuel economy and a reduced risk of breakdowns.
However, preventive maintenance can be difficult to implement – especially for companies that have historically relied on a reactive maintenance strategy.
The time and money spent on preventive maintenance usually pays for itself over time as maintenance reduces the need for repairs or the frequency of breakdowns. Typically, preventative maintenance only becomes a challenge when a company does not have enough information about their vehicles, drivers, or maintenance providers.
This information can be a shipping estimate for critical replacement parts, the availability of a mechanic, or the current status of fleet vehicles.
Without the right information, fleet managers can struggle to coordinate the different parts of a preventive maintenance strategy – like the company’s mechanics, tools, replacement components, or the vehicles themselves.
How GPS tracking enables maintenance automation
GPS tracking provides a valuable source of information about the location and driving conditions of fleet vehicles. The system continuously informs managers of the location of each vehicle and how drivers operate those vehicles.
With a GPS tracking solution, it is usually possible to create automatic maintenance alerts that immediately notify managers when maintenance is required.
These maintenance alerts are customizable, meaning managers can configure them to appear after a specified number of hours have elapsed or when a vehicle has traveled a specified number of miles.
Many of these solutions also track how employees drive their vehicles, allowing managers to make connections between driver behavior, maintenance costs, and specific repairs.
This data can help managers identify behaviors that are most detrimental to vehicle health, allowing them to track driver behavior and maximize vehicle life while minimizing maintenance costs.
A more advanced system could also offer additional benefits – for example, by automatically scheduling maintenance work when it is required. Using information from the GPS trackers, the system could automatically schedule service appointments and generate a route to the service workshop based on the vehicle’s current location, the driver’s work status and the distance to nearby service locations.
Over time, information from GPS tracking systems can also help managers understand their fleet’s schedule. With this data, managers can know exactly when business is typically slow or when specific vehicles are available, allowing them to plan maintenance work so that work is not disrupted.
They may also be able to provide customers with better availability estimates and help their team dispatch vehicles more effectively.
For companies struggling with creating driver schedules or meeting customer demands, these tools could help them create better schedules for their team, making it easier to dispatch drivers and complete jobs.
Integrate GPS with other maintenance automation tools
Fleet managers who benefit from using GPS to automate fleet maintenance are also likely to benefit from many other available fleet maintenance automation tools.
Many of these tools are designed with technologies like GPS tracking in mind, meaning they can easily integrate with existing GPS tracking solutions or take advantage of the real-time data provided by those solutions.
For example, a comprehensive telematics and maintenance automation system may be able to provide managers with automatic alerts based on both mileage driven and data collected from vehicle components such as tire pressure sensors, brake system sensors, and the engine control unit.
Using GPS to improve and automate fleet maintenance
An automated preventive maintenance strategy can help any business keep its fleet running. However, performing preventive maintenance without the right information can be difficult.
GPS tracking systems provide real-time updates on fleet vehicle locations that managers can use to make preventive maintenance much more practical. These tools can also help managers spot reckless driving or bad habits like idling.
When combined with other maintenance and telematics solutions, GPS tracking can also help make maintenance automation much easier. The right solution can provide automatic notifications when a vehicle hits a key milestone or number of hours driven.