Everything You Need to Know About Fleet Monitoring
Fleet monitoring solves a very basic problem: You can't ride with every driver on every job every day. New technology makes it possible for you to track your vehicles in real time without leaving your office. Essentially, fleet monitoring gives you an extra set of eyes and ears, and frees you up to focus on other things. It empowers you with data to keep your fleet safe and improve efficiency.
What is Fleet Monitoring?
There are many technology providers who sell fleet monitoring services. And each of those providers uses a different definition of what fleet monitoring is. In the most general sense, fleet monitoring is tracking your vehicles with a GPS system. This gives you visibility to where your drivers are and helps you manage your assets. The main goal of these platforms is to help you track your fleet in real time and to have an electronic history of where your drivers have been.
But fleet monitoring can include much more than simple tracking. More sophisticated telematics platforms can take your fleet monitoring to the next level. These systems give you access to data about your drivers, the efficiency of your routes, and other helpful insights. Telematics platforms enhance your fleet monitoring by providing more context to a trip. Many fleets also use dash cameras to improve their fleet monitoring.
The following types of data can be useful for fleet monitoring:
GPS asset tracking
Unauthorized vehicle use
Location of stops
Driver Behavior Fleet Monitoring
Fleet driver monitoring can also be an important part of your fleet management program. Both dash cams and telematics platforms can help you track driver behavior, allowing you to identify risky habits. In fact, tracking driver behavior can help you prevent an incident before it happens.
The most common behaviors fleets watch for include:
Seat belt compliance
Cell phone usage
Cornering and near misses
Red light and stop sign compliance
Many driver monitoring systems allow you to review fleet wide safety performance. You can use this data in a driver scorecard, for driver training, and to help identify your best drivers. Driver behavior monitoring also gives you a more complete view of incidents. This can help give you the tools you need to resolve liability quickly after an incident and keep your fleet safe.
Fleet Safety Monitoring
One of the most helpful ways to use this data is to improve fleet safety. Monitoring your fleet can help you spot trends that could open you up to liability in the future. It will also help you identify quick and easy ways to improve fleet safety. By monitoring your fleet on a daily basis, you will be aware of each safety concern as it happens in real time.
Many fleets also use a scorecard or other tool to measure safety over time. This type of fleet safety monitoring provides insights you might have otherwise missed. Fleets often start out with a simple scorecard and then add to the program as they grow.
Common metrics for driver scorecards:
On time deliveries
Incidents per mile
Regardless of what you track, it’s important that you maintain consistency. Successful driver scorecard programs need clear communication. Announce new benchmarks as you role them out and keep drivers informed of what you are tracking.
How Does Fleet Monitoring Work?
Fleet monitoring works by giving you access to data about your drivers, vehicles, and fleet as a whole. The data is collected by a GPS unit in the vehicle, or by dash camera hardware. The hardware transmits the data over the cellular network.
The GPS unit, black box, or dash cam sends the data to an internet server which displays the data to you on a secure software platform. Then fleet managers use the data to monitor their fleets.
Fleet Monitoring Tools
There are many different tools you can use to monitor your fleet. These range from GPS tracking and telematics platforms to dispatch management systems and dash cams. The type of tools you should use depends on your fleet.
Factors to consider when choosing fleet monitoring tools:
How many vehicles do you have?
What types of vehicles do you use?
Does your industry have any special requirements you should consider?
Do you fall under the ELD mandate?
Who will manage and use these tools on a daily basis?
More important than the types of tools you choose is how you use them. Some fleets fall prey to the common issue of purchasing tools that they don't actually use. The good news is that this is a pretty easy pitfall to avoid. First, make sure you understand what features you are purchasing before you sign a contract for a new fleet monitoring tool. Second, have a clear plan for who will use the tool, how often they should use it, when they should communicate the data to others, and what they should track.
Online Fleet Monitoring
Most fleet monitoring tools have an online portal to give you real time access to your data. Many online fleet monitoring platforms provide a live view of vehicle locations and other important data. Some systems can provide automatic odometer updates and help you manage DTC codes. These platforms vary in how robust their features are and how easy-to-use the software is.
There are a couple of different factors to consider when choosing an online fleet monitoring system. The first thing many fleets want to know is how many employees will have access to the software. Ask the provider if you will have to pay a license fee for each user, or if one fee covers your entire organization. You'll also want to verify that the system has the features you need, and that the software is easy to navigate.
Vehicle Video Monitoring
Dash cams offer an efficient way to track you fleet and monitor driver behavior. Network connected dash cams like SureCam even send data over the cloud to provide instant access to your data. Using dash cams is the only way to have full proof of what happens during an incident. It gives you the context you need to resolve liability and improve driver training.
Fleet monitoring cameras use an accelerometer to trigger notifications of incidents. This accelerometer data can also help reveal trends of risky driving. On the other hand, dash cams prove who your safest drivers are. Having access to this information allows you to reward good drivers with incentives.
Many fleets use driver-facing cameras to get an even more complete picture of what happens during an incident. This in cab video monitoring helps track seat belt compliance or cell phone use during collisions. It can also prove if a driver was asleep at the wheel or distracted while driving. In these ways, dash cams can significantly improve fleet monitoring.
Our product specialists are here to help you choose a fleet monitoring solution that works for you. Contact SureCam to learn more about dash cams and fleet monitoring.