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Trending News and Stories in the World of GPS Fleet Tracking

The Fastest Way To Fuel Efficiency

11/14/2014 by Dennis Jaconi

The EPA and DOE have released the new Fuel Economy Guide for the coming model year. 2015 looks like a great year for fuel efficiency, with manufacturers offering a much-expanded selection of fuel-efficient models.

Unfortunately, the Guide does not include SUVs and passenger vans with a GVWR of more than 10,000 pounds, or other vehicles with a GVWR of more than 8,500 or a curb weight of over 6000 pounds. The reason is that the law does not require manufacturers to release fuel-efficiency information for these vehicles. The Guide is still an important resource for companies that maintain fleets of small vehicles, however.

The Guide makes it easy to determine which models have the best fuel economy for their class, which can use alternative fuels or flex-fuels, and which have new, more efficient technologies, such as start-stop systems.

However, upgrading fleet-wide fuel efficiency requires more than simply choosing the vehicles with the best fuel-economy rating or the latest efficient gadgetry. For one thing, the Guide rates each model within its class, so that even the top-rated vehicle in one class might be less efficient than the mid-range vehicles of another class. For another, how a vehicle is used has a big impact on how efficient it is. For example, small vehicles tend to be more efficient than larger ones, so a company might be tempted to buy under-sized cars and make up the difference in storage space with roof-racks. The problem is that a loaded roof-rack decreases fuel efficiency by 5%, according to the Guide.

When upgrading a fleet for fuel efficiency, it makes sense to consider right-sizing the fleet first. Switching to smaller models might ultimately lead to greater fuel savings than choosing the most efficient model of an unnecessarily large class. Conversely, a car that is too small, or otherwise not right for the job, can raise fuel consumption again.

Improve your company's fuel economy with Teletrac, get a free demo now!

Besides the fuel efficiency number itself, the Guide also provides information on various technologies that influence efficiency. Again, fleet managers need to consider the particular needs of their company before deciding whether to purchase a particular technology.

Hybrid engines, for example, are much more efficient than non-hybrids of a similar size that use the same fuel type, but hybrids are not always the best path to fuel efficiency. For example, the Ford Escape comes in a hybrid version that gets about 10 MPG better than its standard counterpart. That’s enough to bring its highway fuel economy into the mid 30’s, which is pretty good, for a light SUV. The Chevrolet Cruise 2.0L Diesel 6AT, on the other hand, gets 46 MPG and it isn’t a hybrid. It’s just small, lightweight, and a diesel.

The lowest MPGs on the road belong to electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, since these derive at least part of their power from somewhere other than a gas tank. They are excellent options for companies that have ready access to affordable electricity from a non-fossil-fuel source, such as wind or landfill gas. But if the only electricity available was generated in a coal-fired power-plant, then plugging in a car increases its carbon footprint. Generally, alternative fuels and electric vehicles complicate fuel efficiency calculations because different energy sources have different environmental and monetary costs. For those willing to tackle that complexity, all the new options are definitely a good thing.

Choosing a vehicle with an eye towards greater fuel-efficiency is all about juggling context—the type of driving the company needs, size requirements, budgetary constraints, and different types of energy sources. But while the Fuel Economy Guide cannot deliver a simple, ready-made answer as to which vehicle to buy, it is a convenient and easy-to-use resource.

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How Driver Shortages Will Affect You in 2015

10/31/2014 by Caroline Ailanthus

As 2014 draws to a close, everyone in trucking is looking forward to the new year, wondering what 2015 will bring to the industry. This year as every year, CK Commercial Vehicle Research has surveyed the managers of fleets big and small in order to report on equipment changes between this year and last, and in order to look forward to what companies plan to purchase next year. And according to their results, it’s all going to be about the driver shortage.

The industry-wide shortage of qualified drivers limits the number of trucks each company can run and therefore limits or shapes business development and expansion, which in turn influences what kinds of equipment each business buys. Not surprisingly, most fleets plan to buy very little.

The driver shortage is not new. Recent purchasing trends that may be related to the shortage include increased adoption of lighter, more fuel-efficient 13-liter engines and more trailers with tire-pressure monitoring systems. It seems as though fleets are focusing the purchases they do make on upgrades, not expansion. Next year will see lots of orders for vehicles with adaptive cruise control and various added driver comforts as companies strive to compete for the limited number of drivers out there.
One especially striking trend from last year is the jump in the trailer-to-tractor ratio. Apparently, buying more trailers is one way to expand even when the number of drivers—and hence the number of tractors in service—must remain roughly constant. Yet planned orders for trailers for next year are down. It is possible this form of expansion is about played out.

Industry leaders also specifically cited the shortage as their primary concern in the survey. Other concerns include various new regulations, with their attendant costs and initial difficulties.

Besides adjusting their buying habits, fleet managers are responding to the ongoing driver shortage with new recruitment efforts, including efforts aimed at recruiting more women. While trucking has had its women drivers for a long time, the industry still has a reputation as a boys’ club and women are still relatively rare. By giving employers an incentive to reach out to a new pool of potential talent, the current shortage has the potential to change the face of trucking dramatically.

For men or women, the labor shortage could make this a good year to be a driver, even as it complicates fleet management. At the same time, increasingly sophisticated telematics software—plus new rules for rating driver performance—is making it easier for managers to identify top employees. Those drivers who can really bring exceptional skill to their work should be able to look forward to a very good 2015. Fleet managers who can reward the best drivers’ loyalty should also have a very good year.

 

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What's The Best Vehicle For Your Fleet?

10/31/2014 by Caroline Ailanthus

Trucks are getting complex these days, and not everyone thinks that is a good thing. Part of it might be simple nostalgia for no-fuss, no-frills machines, but part of it is cost and convenience. Today’s vertically integrated manufacturing chains, where each component must be just so for precise compatibility, make it harder for smaller suppliers to compete. There are many reasons why a resurgence in simple trucks seems ready to take hold.

On the other hand, there are also many reasons why trucks have gone high-tech. Superior safety features, more efficiency, and modern fleet management tools all give the high-tech rig a definite advantage.

The best thing for a fleet manager to do might just be to let these two radically different approaches to truck design go at it, head to head.

Low-tech trucks are not necessarily vintage machines. Most of the new low-techs are designed to work in rough, remote places, like Siberia, where maintenance options are basic at best and mechanical failure could be life-threatening. These are simple, rugged designs that work hard until they can’t roll anymore.

Most routes in the United States are not so demanding, but the low-tech truck is easy to use, easy to maintain, and easy to pay for. With no on-board computer system, a low-tech truck can’t generate false error codes or develop software problems. Simpler systems mean fewer parts to break, and when low-tech trucks do need repair, finding parts and a mechanic qualified to do the work is easy. All that translates into lower operating costs and fewer days in the shop—and more days on the road, where trucks belong.

But high-tech trucks have their own ways of offering the same benefits of efficiency, while also making the truck safer and more reliable on the road. If a low-tech truck is stolen or abandoned, there is no straightforward way to find the vehicle and recover the load. GPS systems solve that problem. If the driver of a low-tech truck develops some bad habits that damage the equipment or put other drivers at risk, there is no way for his or her employer to know unless the police get involved. Telematics solves that problem, too.

The bottom line is that a low-tech truck is really only ever as good as its driver. Some drivers, of course, are very good, but the addition of fleet management software and related components means that the entire company can act as an integrated team.

Ultimately, both approaches to truck design will find their own niches within the market. It’s quite possible that the low-tech option will gain dominance among independent drivers, or even among some smaller companies that do not have their own shops and mechanics. But head-to-head and toe-to-toe, it’s high-tech for the win for those companies ready and able to act as a team.

To manage a fleet well, a manager simply must know where the vehicles are and what they are doing in real-time.

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What The Election Means For Trucking

10/31/2014 by Caroline Ailanthus

The American trucking industry, like everyone else in the nation, is waiting with bated breath for the outcome of the midterm elections. Most analysts’ best guess is that the Republicans are likely to take control of the Senate and retain possession of the house. If they do, the legislative agenda may shift, with repercussions across the country.

The most obvious shift could be that with the same party in control of both houses, the persistent gridlock in Congress may shift, sending more legislation through faster. Whether that is a good or bad thing for trucking depends on which bills come down the road.

Generally, Republicans are more cautious with both regulation and spending than Democrats. A Republican-controlled Congress would therefore be less likely to pass new regulations and could actually ease some of the existing rules. That would seem like good news to a lot of trucking companies and their drivers, who consider themselves over-regulated. However, a Congress that refuses on principle to raise taxes or spend on infrastructure could be problematic. The nation’s highways and bridges need maintenance and no one is more aware of it than the people who spend their working lives on the road. That work must be paid for somehow. The ATA (American Trucking Association) has called for an increase in the gas tax, something that would require Congressional approval.

So, whichever way the election goes, the industry will likely see some gains and some losses.

But if the ATA is not specifically rooting for either political party, it still has hopes for the upcoming legislative season. Besides the increase in the gas tax and preserving the Highway Trust Fund, another priority is suspending some of the restart provisions of the new hours-of-service rule, at least until they can be studied more. Changes to safety rules, tax reform, and changes to CDL requirements—in order to address the ongoing driver shortage—are also on the want list.

Many of the rules that influence the trucking industry are not under direct Congressional control, of course. Instead, these regulations are put in place by the Executive Branch in the course of enacting existing law. These types of regulations are influenced by election cycles because the Executive does not like to come out with new rules right before elections, especially a presidential election. For the next year or so, regulatory activity is therefor likely to be busier than normal in order to get as much out of the way as possible before the next campaign season.

Politics is not usually associated with trucking, but of course, like everything else, the industry is shaped by policy and law. The ATA—and the many individuals with ties to trucking—are naturally interested in shaping policy and law in turn. No matter how today’s results come out, starting tomorrow, there will still be plenty for people interested in politics to do.

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Improving Unsafe Driving Habits

09/23/2014 by Shazia Haq

Each time a fleet driver turns on their ignition, managers should consider this alarming fact: federal studies have proven that the most dangerous hours of a fleet employee’s day is their time behind the wheel. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a crash involving a large truck results in injury every 10 seconds and death every 13 minutes.

Good driving habits can save a company from disaster. A quick mistake on the road can negatively affect a company through accident, injury and liability costs and even a loss of business. When a fleet driver is unsafe on the road and routinely ignores the rules, they are not just hurting their own reputation, they bring down the entire company.

Most managers fail to see the total impact of a crash on their business. While the direct costs, such as vehicle repair and insurance payments are easy to calculate, the indirect costs are severe. These numbers, including crash reports, time and money spent on litigation and the loss of productivity on the company are proven to be 3-5 times more expensive than the direct costs of the accident.*

*Source: Centers for Disease Control, “CDC Study Finds Annual Cost of Motor Vehicle Crashes Exceeds $99 Billion,” Journal of Traffic Injury Prevention.

A Look At A Few More Numbers:

  • The total cost of a crash with injuries can range from $25,500 to $4,500,000 and the CDC reports that medical costs and productivity losses from crashes are over $99 billion.
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates there were a total of 33,561 traffic fatalities in the United States in 2013.
  • Speeding-related deaths nationwide account for nearly a third of all traffic fatalities each year, taking close to 10,000 lives.
  • In 2012, there were 3,921 people killed and 104,000 people injured in crashes involving large trucks.

The best way to combat dangerous driving habits is through consistent driver coaching. Mangers should ask themselves, “Are my drivers receiving tickets? Speeding? Running stop signs? Veering on the road?” Driver coaching is proven to be the most valuable tool to eliminate these high-liability issues. In fact, a recent Teletrac study* concluded that 40% of drivers change their behavior after their first safety warning.

*Source: 2013 Teletrac Internal Study

What Can Safety Software Do For a Business?

A GPS fleet tracking solution can easily manage employee daily driving habits. Managers can track their drivers’ speed and review aggressive driving behaviors, such as speeding, harsh braking, cornering, stop sign violations and pinpoint repeat offenders. Driver safety software arms managers with the following powers:

  • The ability to view safety data on demand. Managers can quickly measure a fleet’s safety average through the score indicator based on safety parameters, including harsh braking, harsh acceleration, speeding and stop sign violations.
  • Staying updated with safety events and averages. Dashboards help log events for each parameter—whether it’s for five speeding events or 138 harsh braking violations per fleet.

Safety events for a fleet are scored and itemized to show individual driver behavior based on the following safety metrics:

  •     Harsh Braking. The number of heavy braking incidents based on G-Force and the type of vehicle (light, medium or heavy)
  •     Harsh Acceleration. The number of acceleration incidents based on G-Force and the type of vehicle.
  •     Harsh Cornering. The number of forceful cornering incidents.
  •     Stop Sign Violation. GPS data is used to determine which streets a vehicle traveled. The data in then matched with a map database to determine the location of each violation.
  •     Speeding. Speeding for each vehicle is determined by matching GPS data to the map database which contains speed limit information. GPS speed is then compared to actual speed limits while the length of each vehicle infraction is recorded.

The most useful tool? The ability to see the top 10 worst and best drivers in a fleet—including an individual driver safety score—allowing managers to monitor safety performance across their drivers.

Monitoring Safety is a 24-Hour Job

Using safety software to implement a safe driving policy ensures a company is compliant with the law, eliminates avoidable costs, reduces insurance premiums and decreases the risk of negative publicity for your business.

On the day-to-day, driver safety software helps practice good risk management by eliminating question marks every time a driver pulls onto a road with your company’s name on their vehicle. Proactive driver coaching arms managers with the power of prevention by putting them in the driver seat.

Each time a fleet driver turns on their ignition, managers should consider this alarming fact: federal studies have proven that the most dangerous hours of a fleet employee’s day is their time behind the wheel. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a crash involving a large truck results in injury every 10 seconds and death every 13 minutes.

Good driving habits can save a company from disaster. A quick mistake on the road can negatively affect a company through accident, injury and liability costs and even a loss of business. When a fleet driver is unsafe on the road and routinely ignores the rules, they are not just hurting their own reputation, they bring down the entire company.

Most managers fail to see the total impact of a crash on their business. While the direct costs, such as vehicle repair and insurance payments are easy to calculate, the indirect costs are severe. These numbers, including crash reports, time and money spent on litigation and the loss of productivity on the company are proven to be 3-5 times more expensive than the direct costs of the accident.*
*Source: Centers for Disease Control, “CDC Study Finds Annual Cost of Motor Vehicle Crashes Exceeds $99 Billion,” Journal of Traffic Injury Prevention.

A Look At A Few More Numbers:

  • The total cost of a crash with injuries can range from $25,500 to $4,500,000 and the CDC reports that medical costs and productivity losses from crashes are over $99 billion.
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates there were a total of 33,561 traffic fatalities in the United States in 2013.
  • Speeding-related deaths nationwide account for nearly a third of all traffic fatalities each year, taking close to 10,000 lives.
  • In 2012, there were 3,921 people killed and 104,000 people injured in crashes involving large trucks.

The best way to combat dangerous driving habits is through consistent driver coaching. Mangers should ask themselves, “Are my drivers receiving tickets? Speeding? Running stop signs? Veering on the road?” Driver coaching is proven to be the most valuable tool to eliminate these high-liability issues. In fact, a recent Teletrac study* concluded that 40% of drivers change their behavior after their first safety warning.
*Source: 2013 Teletrac Internal Study

What Can Safety Software Do For a Business?
A GPS fleet tracking solution can easily manage employee daily driving habits. Managers can track their drivers’ speed and review aggressive driving behaviors, such as speeding, harsh braking, cornering, stop sign violations and pinpoint repeat offenders. Safety software arms managers with the following powers:  

  • The ability to view safety data on demand. Managers can quickly measure a fleet’s safety average through the score indicator based on safety parameters, including harsh braking, harsh acceleration, speeding and stop sign violations.
  • Staying updated with safety events and averages. Dashboards help log events for each parameter—whether it’s for five speeding events or 138 harsh braking violations per fleet.

Safety events for a fleet are scored and itemized to show individual driver behavior based on the following safety metrics:

  • Harsh Braking. The number of heavy braking incidents based on G-Force and the type of vehicle (light, medium or heavy)
  • Harsh Acceleration. The number of acceleration incidents based on G-Force and the type of vehicle.
  • Harsh Cornering. The number of forceful cornering incidents.
  • Stop Sign Violation. GPS data is used to determine which streets a vehicle traveled. The data in then matched with a map database to determine the location of each violation.
  • Speeding. Speeding for each vehicle is determined by matching GPS data to the map database which contains speed limit information. GPS speed is then compared to actual speed limits while the length of each vehicle infraction is recorded.

The most useful tool? The ability to see the top 10 worst and best drivers in a fleet—including an individual driver safety score—allowing managers to monitor safety performance across their drivers.

Monitoring Safety is a 24-Hour Job
Using safety software to implement a safe driving policy ensures a company is compliant with the law, eliminates avoidable costs, reduces insurance premiums and decreases the risk of negative publicity for your business.
On the day-to-day, safety software helps practice good risk management by eliminating question marks every time a driver pulls onto a road with your company’s name on their vehicle. Proactive driver coaching arms managers with the power of prevention by putting them in the driver seat.

- See more at: http://www.teletrac.com/gps-fleet-tracking/topics/improving-unsafe-driving-habits#sthash.fTae2vHj.dpuf

Each time a fleet driver turns on their ignition, managers should consider this alarming fact: federal studies have proven that the most dangerous hours of a fleet employee’s day is their time behind the wheel. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a crash involving a large truck results in injury every 10 seconds and death every 13 minutes.

Good driving habits can save a company from disaster. A quick mistake on the road can negatively affect a company through accident, injury and liability costs and even a loss of business. When a fleet driver is unsafe on the road and routinely ignores the rules, they are not just hurting their own reputation, they bring down the entire company.

Most managers fail to see the total impact of a crash on their business. While the direct costs, such as vehicle repair and insurance payments are easy to calculate, the indirect costs are severe. These numbers, including crash reports, time and money spent on litigation and the loss of productivity on the company are proven to be 3-5 times more expensive than the direct costs of the accident.*
*Source: Centers for Disease Control, “CDC Study Finds Annual Cost of Motor Vehicle Crashes Exceeds $99 Billion,” Journal of Traffic Injury Prevention.

A Look At A Few More Numbers:

  • The total cost of a crash with injuries can range from $25,500 to $4,500,000 and the CDC reports that medical costs and productivity losses from crashes are over $99 billion.
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates there were a total of 33,561 traffic fatalities in the United States in 2013.
  • Speeding-related deaths nationwide account for nearly a third of all traffic fatalities each year, taking close to 10,000 lives.
  • In 2012, there were 3,921 people killed and 104,000 people injured in crashes involving large trucks.

The best way to combat dangerous driving habits is through consistent driver coaching. Mangers should ask themselves, “Are my drivers receiving tickets? Speeding? Running stop signs? Veering on the road?” Driver coaching is proven to be the most valuable tool to eliminate these high-liability issues. In fact, a recent Teletrac study* concluded that 40% of drivers change their behavior after their first safety warning.
*Source: 2013 Teletrac Internal Study

What Can Safety Software Do For a Business?
A GPS fleet tracking solution can easily manage employee daily driving habits. Managers can track their drivers’ speed and review aggressive driving behaviors, such as speeding, harsh braking, cornering, stop sign violations and pinpoint repeat offenders. Safety software arms managers with the following powers:  

  • The ability to view safety data on demand. Managers can quickly measure a fleet’s safety average through the score indicator based on safety parameters, including harsh braking, harsh acceleration, speeding and stop sign violations.
  • Staying updated with safety events and averages. Dashboards help log events for each parameter—whether it’s for five speeding events or 138 harsh braking violations per fleet.

Safety events for a fleet are scored and itemized to show individual driver behavior based on the following safety metrics:

  • Harsh Braking. The number of heavy braking incidents based on G-Force and the type of vehicle (light, medium or heavy)
  • Harsh Acceleration. The number of acceleration incidents based on G-Force and the type of vehicle.
  • Harsh Cornering. The number of forceful cornering incidents.
  • Stop Sign Violation. GPS data is used to determine which streets a vehicle traveled. The data in then matched with a map database to determine the location of each violation.
  • Speeding. Speeding for each vehicle is determined by matching GPS data to the map database which contains speed limit information. GPS speed is then compared to actual speed limits while the length of each vehicle infraction is recorded.

The most useful tool? The ability to see the top 10 worst and best drivers in a fleet—including an individual driver safety score—allowing managers to monitor safety performance across their drivers.

Monitoring Safety is a 24-Hour Job
Using safety software to implement a safe driving policy ensures a company is compliant with the law, eliminates avoidable costs, reduces insurance premiums and decreases the risk of negative publicity for your business.
On the day-to-day, safety software helps practice good risk management by eliminating question marks every time a driver pulls onto a road with your company’s name on their vehicle. Proactive driver coaching arms managers with the power of prevention by putting them in the driver seat.

- See more at: http://www.teletrac.com/gps-fleet-tracking/topics/improving-unsafe-driving-habits#sthash.fTae2vHj.dpuf
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Fleet Management In A Mobile World

09/11/2014 by Shazia Haq

Mobile technology has uprooted the modern workplace to work at lightning fast speeds. Fleet management has historically been at a desk job, limiting companies in their productivity and communication. With new technology infiltrating the space, modernizing fleet operations is crucial to staying relevant. Businesses should look at ways to become faster, smarter, more accurate and more accessible to customers. This change in fleet management culture starts with the right devices that can support that management style.

The flexibility of using modern devices—such as smartphones, laptops and tablets—to do business has increased productivity— while also adding expectations from customers. Service windows have gotten smaller, expectations for actionable data is larger and the need to keep up with competitors who have embraced the mobile trend is now a business reality.

A 2013 Field Mobility study by Field Technologies Magazine notes that today’s modern mobile culture has led to significant improvements in customer service, time spent per job and operational costs:

A few ways mobile technology has improved service culture, on average:

  • An 18% increase in service visits per technician.
  • A 25% reduction in service calls per ticket.
  • A 40% increase in service revenue contribution per technician.
  • A 30% reduction in logistics (and overall operational) costs*.

* Source: 2013 Field Mobility Report, “How The Latest Technologies And Trends Are Transforming The Mobile Workforce,” Field Technologies Magazine.

The modern office is untraditional. No longer are managers restricted to their desks; mobility has allowed their work off-site or on the field to be just as effective (and perhaps easier).

The face of the customer has also changed. Mobility benefits have created a new consumer who expects faster and more accurate service—turning the mobile culture trend into an important yardstick for businesses in all industries.
To embrace the evolving state of fleet management, investing in a web-based GPS tracking platform is wise. These systems can operate on any device and browser, allowing for quicker response times and the ability to tap into current vehicle and driver data.

The era of mobility has created new opportunities for growth. Companies that embrace technology will re-define the speed of job management, leading to more competitive benchmarks. Investing in a mobile solution will allow businesses to create 21st century goals that meet customer expectations —and far exceed them.

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GPS Beyond Track & Trace

08/26/2014 by Shazia Haq


Field Technologies Magazine recently featured Teletrac customer, A.N. Webber, in its cover story titled, “Take Fleet Management Beyond Track and Trace” which highlighted the experience of the Midwest-based logistics company in eliminating Hours of Service (HOS) violations and drastically cutting idle time through its Teletrac investment.

The company was an early adopter of GPS fleet tracking for over a decade when the technology's sole purpose was vehicle tracking. In order to keep a competitive edge in the logistics and transportation industry, A.N. Webber looked to move beyond location tracking to a system with more advanced operational data such as fuel costs and idle time

The company’s original satellite solution wasn’t doing the job. Rob Koch, Vice President of Operations, A.N. Webber, told the magazine he searched for a GPS fleet tracking provider that was sophisticated enough to scale to the needs of his industry. “[Our company] wanted more operational data, which meant a product that could tie in to the tractor’s electronic control module (ECM),” Koch said. “When fuel costs started spiking, it was very important for us to be able to track idle time and miles per gallon, but the company we were with just wasn’t growing and developing the technology to provide that tracking.”

As fuel costs rose and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration revised HOS regulations, the company looked to a provider that could change with the climate of the industry.

“Teletrac…gave us everything we were looking for, along with more features we have since grown into,” Koch says. “We wanted to start simple, to just locate drivers and track performance of the equipment. Since then we’ve built on those basic features and developed into electronic logging, on-board communication, and other functions,” he said.

Teletrac’s HOS system helps A.N. Webber monitor HOS data and keeps the company’s logs error-free. Koch noted, “We had issues with the paper logs, and 90 percent of our violations were because the logbooks were not current. The solution has eliminated all of our violations because the HOS logs are instantly and automatically updated.”

The company also relies on Teletrac to provide accurate updates to its customers about job-site data. “We can give customers better tracking information and updated load information instantly,” Koch said. “A lot of our customers also require regular hourly updates, so we can provide that information much more easily..because the system is Web-based.”

Most significantly, the company recently implemented a driver incentive program that has improved their fuel economy by eliminating idle time by 15-20%. Teletrac tracks the total fuel use and idle time of each company vehicle and uses the data to reward drivers on meeting the company’s green goals.

This range of actionable data has moved the company beyond location tracking to an advanced operation that reaps immediate business benefits.

View the full Field Technologies story here.
 

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Switching to Electronic Logging Devices

07/25/2014 by Leslie Garcia
Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) allow fleet managers to automatically store driver information along with hours of service without having to deal with the hassle of manual paperwork.  

In March of 2014 the FMCSA issued a mandate, if approved, which will require interstate commercial trucks and busses to have ELDs installed in all vehicles.  With the public comment period on the mandate at a close the FMCSA will take the next few months to review the feedback before crafting the final rule.  

What does this mean for truckers?  The mandate requires that drivers who use paper logs must switch to ELDs. In order to verify compliance the mandate also covers technical standards for electronic logging devices. In addition the mandate also sets parameters to protect drivers from harassment by forcing load planners and dispatchers to set manageable schedules and expectations for route completion. With an ELD mandate fleet owners will have two years to comply with the final rule, resulting in every interstate commercial vehicle being equipped with an electronic logging device that will store driver information and hours of service.   
 
With change on the horizon, drivers and fleet owners should prepare for the benefits and challenges of switching to ELDs.

More Involvement
The ELD mandate will impact both managers and drivers. Load planners and dispatchers who are involved in the planning of driver schedules will also be held accountable for FMCSA regulation violations.  With the implementation of an electronic logging device, managers will have clear visibility into a driver’s hours of service, allowing them to proactively adjust schedules to comply with regulations.

Issues With ELD
Many shippers won’t allow for trucks to remain in their lot over a certain period of time and if the driver has met their HOS limit they could be forced to violate the FMCSA regulation. However, drivers are allowed to move their vehicle for up to two hours after their HOS limit has been met if the situation is due to “unforeseen circumstances” such as weather implications.

The View From the Driver’s Seat
Fleets companies continue to face driver shortages and the current ELD mandate has many drivers frustrated with the extent of regulations. The mandate is beneficial to drivers as it improves road safety by drastically reducing driver fatigue and the risk of accidents.

How do you feel about the ELD mandate?
 
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The Best GPS Driver Safety Feature of 2014?

07/11/2014 by Dennis Jaconi

Creating a fleet with safe drivers on the road doesn’t happen overnight.

A few mandatory classes that half-heartedly discuss on-road safety will not get the message across, nor will it show drivers that the company is taking safety in a serious manner.

Fleets that emphasize training and engage drivers on a consistent basis to give them the knowledge and insights needed to succeed are the same fleets that see positive results. This constant approach to managing drivers, breeds a culture and help fleets recruit and retain drivers, improve on-road driving, and even cuts down on equipment and fuel costs.

Devoting time for ongoing safety and training refresher courses keeps safety on the forefront of every driver’s mind. It establishes a commitment to safety and shows your drivers that you care about their well-being and their value as employees.

Still, it can be difficult to identify which areas your drivers need the most assistance in improving. General feedback can fall on deaf ears, but specific examples of a driver’s shortcomings will resonate with the entire fleet.

Investing in a comprehensive fleet management system can provide fleets the ability to see exactly what safety issues drivers are struggling with on the road.

Teletrac Fleet Director software provides insight into vehicle safety based on key performance metrics and recorded events, such as speeding, stop sign violations, harsh cornering and hard braking. The results, including a measurable safety score, are displayed on a pre-set or customizable dashboard filled with data-based charts and graphs that can be toggled and viewed simultaneously, at any time.

Also included in Fleet Director is the Safety Analytics Event Viewer feature, which instantly replays unsafe driving events – such as harsh braking, speeding, acceleration and stop sign violations – allowing a fleet manager to review the unsafe driver behavior with their employees. This innovative tool analyzes a vehicle’s travel points, while it measures the length of the event and the G-force as the vehicle turned a corner too fast or ran a stop sign.

Users can review safety score averages for the entire fleet or a single vehicle. The reports helps dissect event scoring based on safety metrics, enabling users the ability to use the results for training or driver coaching.

By implementing a safe driver program and reinforcing proper driving habits, fleets can motivate the best out of their drivers which in-turn will improve driver retention rates and reduce the hefty expenses that come with unnecessary vehicle maintenance, violations, and even worse, traffic accidents.

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Best GPS Tracking for Private Fleets

06/24/2014 by Krishna Patel
With major players like Amazon and Google entering the market it is more important than ever for private delivery companies to maintain a competitive edge. Managing overhead costs and optimizing processes will allow private delivery fleets to drive alongside and compete with bigger companies.
 
Major brands Amazon, Google and Uber are making their way into the same day delivery market. Robert Bowman from Forbes shared, “In yet another of its characteristically bold moves, Amazon reportedly is preparing to launch a delivery fleet of its own trucks and contracted drivers.” Amazon is planning to test Prime Pantry, a grocery delivery service, in San Francisco before expanding to other large metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles and New York City.
 
Fleet managers can do this by reducing and maintaining operational costs and continuing to provide exceptional customer service. All of which can be managed and exponentially better with a proper GPS tracking system in place.
See how GPS tracking can help your business, Get a Free Demo or Quick Quote Now!
 
Reduce Idle Times and Save On Fuel Costs
 
GPS tracking won’t only help drivers with route navigation and fleet managers with vehicle location but it also helps manage fuel costs.  Unauthorized routes and usage of vehicles combined with crisscross routes and traffic are the biggest culprits of fuel wastage.  
 
Managing a fleet that travels far or to a variety of different regions can make it difficult for managers to keep operational costs down.  However with a GPS tracking solution in place managers can efficiently view and edit routes to dramatically reduce or eliminate idle time.  
Managers have the ability to find alternate routes if traffic congestion starts to become an issue. This is especially important when it comes to delivery schedules. You can’t predict the future accidents or road construction but the right GPS fleet tracking system will allow you to better navigate the present. 
 
With more than better visibility, fleet managers also experience an increase of productivity.  
“With Teletrac, we’re making more deliveries per day with the same (or fewer) numbers of trucks.” – Builders First Source 
 
Are You Delivering Amazing Customer Service?
 
A GPS system does a lot more than get drivers from one destination to another. In a time-sensitive industry, delivery times are vital to maintaining and growing your business. It is important fleets are able to meet delivery deadlines and also accommodate pressing cases such as emergencies, last minute deliveries or pick-ups, and other items that may come up throughout the day.   
 
With real-time location mapping fleet managers are better equipped to make strategic decisions, especially when it comes to last minute deliveries or pickups. Locating and dispatching the closest vehicle not only allows for clients and customers to have a better experience it also helps manage fuel and possible overtime costs.  
 
When making timely deliveries and having the most up-to-date information is key, nothing is more important than having a GPS tracking software in place. 
 
Eric from Flag City Motor shared that GPS tracking has given him wonderful visibility over his fleet, and has allowed for dispatchers and drivers to work more efficiently.  
 
Louis Latilla, owner of the Manhattan Fruit Exchange, used to receive a number of customer complaints due to late deliveries. After integrating a GPS tracking system drivers no longer deviate from their routes resulting in happier customers and a more efficient fleet. 
 
Best Solution for Mobile Asset Loss Prevention
 
Mobile assets are the life line to a fleet business and it is imperative the proper measures are put in place to reduce or prevent the risk of theft. 
 
A total of 951 cargo thefts were reported in 2013, which tied the all-time mark set in 2012, according to FreightWatch International. With an average of $171,100 per stolen load, that adds up to over $162 million in stolen cargo across the entire industry in the United States. 
 
It is important for private delivery fleets to protect their vehicle and the cargo they transport. Replacing one stolen vehicle can costs companies thousands of dollars in addition to experiencing driver and fleet manager down time plus the loss of any cargo that may have been loaded onto the fleet.  
 
A GPS tracking system with the ability to set up alerts allows for companies to locate and recover stolen property, saving thousands of dollars and time.  
 
Having the ability to set up alerts through your GPS tracking system is a crucial feature. Alerts can be customized to confirm delivery times and destinations as well as any after-hours activity. With the proper parameters in place, fleet managers can be alerted if an engine is turned on after-hours enabling them to act quickly if the event is unexpected.  
 
Fleet managers are resting better knowing their valuable mobile assets are secure.
“In the past, we had a huge problem with theft. With Teletrac’s alerts and ignition on/off monitoring, we no longer have to worry. We can quickly locate a stolen truck, shut it down, and retrieve it.” — Brothers Produce
 
Managing Safety and Compliance within Your Fleet
 
Private delivery fleets are known for being quicker to adopt GPS tracking and other safety technology to help manage their fleets. According to the National Private Truck Council, private delivery fleets tend to have higher safety scores than commercial carriers. With efficiency and driver safety as a top concern, private fleet delivery companies understand GPS tracking benefits both the driver and the bottom line.  
 
GPS tracking provides fleet managers visibility beyond just the location of their vehicles; it also gives them insight into vehicle safety and driver behavior. With the ability to track key performance metrics such as speeding or harsh braking, fleet managers can review data on pre-customized dashboards. 
 
Detailed reports enable fleet managers to better enforce and train drivers on safe driving behavior. With a robust GPS tracking solution fleet managers also have the ability to replay unsafe driving events, allowing them to pinpoint specific driver patterns or vehicle abuse.  
 
Business owners have also avoided violations and potential lawsuits by implementing GPS tracking systems. Bill Benton from Daphne shared, “Teletrac has always given us on time and up to date information. One time it even saved us from a possible lawsuit for a hit and run accident.  It did help greatly when we were involved in a tragic fatality accident by giving us exact time and location and speed that our truck was going. It showed without a doubt that our unit had nothing to do with the cause of the accident.”
 
Being safe has never been so easy!

To see how Teletrac can help optimize your delivery business, Get a Free Demo or Quick Quote Now!

 

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GPS Routing A New Field Tool

02/10/2014 by Leslie Garcia

While they were once treated as luxury services that were potentially a risky investment, optimized GPS routing and scheduling solutions have become indispensable tools for companies in the field service.

The advancements in GPS routing in the field have made it possible for companies to effectively utilize employee schedules, reduce the need for overtime and assist in tasks like managing employee time off. These features provide big savings and help companies ensure that regulatory requirements are met.  

Today’s Technology
Scheduling services have changed a great deal in recent years. With the arrival of cloud technology, and the availability of these tools on a multitude of devices, technicians and managers now have unrestricted, real-time access to scheduling and routing information.

Scheduling tools can now be managed instantaneously, using the most current information from a job and technician status to adjust schedules throughout the day.

New Functionality
These hi-tech improvements have made GPS routing and scheduling tools more valuable. Now companies can use the GPS tracking functionality on their employees’ mobile devices to make it easier for a scheduling tool to use location data to drive better decision making.

Through smartphones, companies are provided mobile data that gives a wealth of information on when and how employees are working. Real-time reports and analytics data offer a look into truancy and if a department is properly staffed. That data can be used for employee retraining and also create predictive analytics for optimized routes and schedules.

Scheduling solutions are also more flexible and have the ability to automate complex dispatching situations. They can provide a solution for various scenarios, support real-time customer notifications and collective partnership for technicians. The latter allows technicians to take an active role in making sure their schedule works for everyone in the company.

Picking the Best Tools
The GPS routing and scheduling system should be adaptable and upgradable, so that the functionality can increase over time. This allows for immediate scheduling issues to be resolved, while enough data is accumulated to improve other aspect of the company’s operations.

Other elements to keep in mind are time to configuration, the vendor’s reviews and the reliability of the GPS routing and scheduling solution. Although cloud-based systems are quickly becoming a significant decision point for many, the specifics of the solution and the reliability of the vendor should be the first things considered.
 

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Can GPS Tracking Reduce Accidents?

02/04/2014 by Leslie Garcia

Increasing safety and reducing accidents is the biggest motivation for fleet managers who have installed driver behavior management technology.

According to a recent survey completed by C.J. Driscoll & Associates, over half of the fleet managers who have installed driver behavior management systems said their primary reasoning was to alleviate safety concerns or as a means of reducing accidents.

A driver behavior management system gives fleet managers the ability to monitor driver performance in regard to speeding, acceleration, braking, and other factors that can impact on safety. These systems typically provide real-time audible or visual feedback to fleet drivers on their performance and even are capable to support driver coaching and training.

To learn more about GPS tracking to monitor driver behavior, see it live, Get a Free Demo Now!

Driscoll, which has over 20 years of experience in specialized research including analysis of market status, trends and competitive environment, recently completed its study, which was conducted June through August 2013, based on a telephone survey of 508 fleet managers in a broad range of categories including service, trucking, utility, government fleets, and others.

While only a small portion of fleet companies use driver behavior technology, an additional 41 percent of respondents indicated a strong interest in installing these types of systems in their fleet vehicles.

For fleets that have employed the system, the survey found the biggest reasons for the change was:

  • 53 percent said safety or reducing accidents as their primary motivation for acquiring the system
  • 13 percent said reducing liability was their primary motivation
  • 7 percent said meeting a requirement was the primary motivation

And for fleets that have invested in the technology, they have been very satisfied with their driver behavior management system and seen improvements in a wide range of areas.

 



The biggest principal benefits that fleet managers reported from using a driver behavior management system have been:

  • 33 percent of participants said the reduced number of accidents was the principal benefit provided by the system
  • 27 percent of fleet operators mentioned improved regulatory compliance as a principal benefit
  • 17 percent of respondents mentioned determining liability as a key advantage
  • 7 percent of the fleet operators consider reduced fuel consumption to be a principal benefit
     
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