GPS tracking, Tech Talk, Telematics

Why GPS tracking is a must for every operator

By Anthony Laras, national manager for transport, Teletrac Navman 

Operators of all sizes – from three vehicles to 3000 – can take advantage of the benefits of GPS vehicle tracking. By knowing where your assets are at all times, you can manage fuel costs, track usage and maintenance, comply with the relevant NHVR rules, including the Chain of Responsibility (CoR), as well as improve driver safety and behaviour.

GPS-powered fleet management solutions help to digitise paper-based manual processes, enabling operators to better compete in this digital age. The worry of human errors can be reduced so both your drivers and fleet managers have all the information they need, when you need it, at any time. 

Fleet tracking lets you do predictive maintenance

Technology needs to be easy to use, and must show benefits, both immediately and in the long-term. Teletrac Navman’s platform brings together artificial intelligence and machine learning to help operators easily interpret and share data via its insights tool.

This data can also be used for predictive maintenance. Patterns in breakdowns or malfunctions can be forecast over time if all services are recorded and all assets are maintained properly. You can better understand service intervals based on the distance travelled, so oil changes, brake inspections and tyre rotations, along with many other tasks, can be performed as they’re needed so you don’t fall behind.

Depending on your fleet characteristics, preventative maintenance may need to be carried out before the manufacturer’s set intervals. While it may seem like an extra expense to do an oil or fluid change or service the engine or conduct brake maintenance ahead of time, it can save money in the long run. 

No one wants a break down due to an overlooked maintenance schedule. You don’t want to be hundreds of kilometres out from your destination and the coolant isn’t topped up, or a tyre wasn’t checked. The downtime associated with a breakdown is also expensive in terms of wages, lost productivity, unsatisfied customers, and missed loads – having a truck off the road can be a major blow to any operator’s budget, regardless of its size.

When it comes to maintenance, it’s just as important on your vehicles as it is on your assets, equipment or trailers. Asset tracking continues to help with jobs that are often spread across state lines or even just longer distances across town. You’ll know that the vehicle is where it is supposed to be for the maintenance engineer to work on. It’s not uncommon for an engineer to drive several hours to a site and then find the equipment they were sent to work on is no longer there. With fleet management software, costly, time-consuming mistakes like this are avoided entirely.

The role of drivers

Drivers are the people who interact with your vehicles the most, which means they have a critical role to play in maintenance and roadworthiness of your fleet. But drivers also need training on how to conduct pre-and-post journey inspections. This training enables them to identify problems before they arise and have an impact on your business.

As a driver, you can use an electronic checklist that lets you complete inspections via an in-cab device. The device then sends a digital report to your fleet manager or workshop team, alerting them in real-time so they can plan the needed service and maintenance to the vehicle. 

Managing trailer weights and maintenance

Trailers can get overlooked when it comes to service and maintenance, but operators can maximise the service life of their trailers, as well as achieve compliance with necessary regulations, using Smart OBM, along with telematics monitoring applications (TMA).

Most operators would be familiar with the concepts of Smart OBM and TMA, which use digital technology to collect and transmit the mass of axle groups and then calculate the gross vehicle mass in a reliable and standard way.

By having fleet management data at your fingertips – and allowing the driver to know, with the press of a button, what their axle loadings are – Smart OBM empowers operators and their drivers to run productively and safely in purpose built vehicles and trailers for the task at hand.

Understanding axle and wheel loads also helps operators know when trailer maintenance, including tyre rotations, must be carried out. This ultimately saves time and money for the operator by minimising any periods the trailer is off the road for repair.

There are myriad benefits to a tracking solution, both for the prime mover and its trailer. Operators using these solutions can be on top of maintenance, saving money through avoiding unplanned downtime and bolstering the bottom line through more efficient fuel use.

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