One of the first investments businesses consider as they start to grow is to get a phone system. Actually, business owners usually realize this... as soon as they make the first hires and move the company to a two-room office. Installing a complete phone system, allowing advanced features such as call forwarding, call waiting, call blocking, auto-dialling, conference calls, automatic call distributor, call park, call pick-up, automatic ring back, etc. is no longer the technological nightmare it used to be.
Also, VOIP systems now offer great call quality and almost unlimited possibilities at a fraction of the price of analogue systems. New solutions, such as hosted systems with one single monthly bill for the service and leased hardware make it even more affordable for small businesses to use advanced telephony.
All fleet management systems are not equal. To start with, there is a world of a difference between so-called “passive” and “active” systems. They work differently, require different hardware and related services. Although both kinds of systems will bring most of the benefits related to tracking, active systems will have many extra advantages.
How vehicle tracking works? The systems fall into two broad categories: active systems and passive systems. A tracking device is installed in the vehicle and the device is in turn connected to a tracking server. The data is retrieved on the terminal using specific software. The benefits of fleet management systems include: streamlined fleet management, better customer service, accurate maintenance planning and fuel monitoring, increased security and asset surveillance.
Truck tracking specifics: Road haulage companies will look into additional benefits, such as driver education and timesheet automation, depending on whether they have reviewed and selected the right truck-specific tracking features in their system, such as web-based management, historical reporting, engine diagnostics monitoring.
Since fleet management involves many hardware, software and service components, prices will greatly differ depending on the equipment and level of service chosen. To make it easier - and sometimes, though not always - more affordable for interested companies, several providers have introduced full-service plans, including the lease of the equipment and all related services.
- Suppliers: While some suppliers limit their offering to the onboard devices only, many also provide their customers with all related services such as installation, data transmission and retrieval software. Some mapping providers - mapping is a key component of a good system - also provide hardware and 360 degrees service.
- Costs: There are several factors which determine the price of the equipment and service. Depending on the number of vehicles in the fleet, sophistication of the hardware, but also on the features selected, which may be optional or not, purchasing the whole equipment may or may not be a more interesting option as compared with leasing.