Feb 14, 2024

The Ultimate Checklist: What to Look for in a Vehicle Tracking Device

In many modern businesses, the use of vehicle tracking devices has become increasingly crucial. These devices provide fleet managers, business owners, and logistics professionals with invaluable insights into their vehicle operations.

From optimising routes to improving driver safety and reducing operational costs, vehicle tracking devices have revolutionised the way businesses manage their fleets.

However, the effectiveness of a vehicle tracking device largely depends on the choice you make. Selecting the right tracking device can mean the difference between success and inefficiency in your fleet management efforts. That's why it's important to know what to look for in a vehicle tracking device.

In this guide, we’ll be taking you through our ultimate checklist for choosing the perfect fleet tracking device. We'll delve into the key features, benefits, and emerging trends in the industry, ensuring that you're equipped with the knowledge needed to make an informed choice.

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What Are Vehicle Tracking Devices?

Vehicle tracking devices are advanced bits of tech that have transformed the way businesses manage their fleets and monitor their vehicles. These devices offer real-time insights into the location, status, and performance of vehicles, allowing companies to streamline operations, enhance safety, and reduce costs.

In order to do all of this, vehicle tracking is powered by GPS (Global Positioning System) technology to pinpoint the exact location of a vehicle at any given time. However, modern vehicle tracking systems go far beyond simple location tracking. More advanced solutions offer the following tools and features:


Buyer's Guide: Selecting the Best Vehicle Tracking Device

Choosing the best vehicle tracking device for your specific needs can seem overwhelming, especially when there are so many different options available on the market. That’s why it’s key to understand what each feature does and how it can benefit your business.

Real-Time Monitoring

One of the key features of vehicle tracking is real-time monitoring. Fleet managers and business owners can access a web-based dashboard or mobile app to track their vehicles' movements in real time. This allows for immediate decision-making and response to changing conditions or emergencies.

Additionally, real-time tracking increases security by helping to prevent theft and unauthorised use of vehicles. If a vehicle deviates from its designated route or location, the system can trigger alerts, allowing for quick action.

Real-time data also allows you to optimise routes, allocate resources efficiently, and make informed decisions on the go. This leads to increased efficiency, cost savings and improved customer service.

Reporting and Analytics

Vehicle tracking systems can generate a wealth of data for comprehensive reporting, including the following:

Analysing this data helps businesses make informed decisions, optimise routes, and ensure compliance with regulations.

Geofencing Capabilities

Many vehicle tracking systems include geofencing capabilities. Geofencing allows users to define virtual boundaries or geographic zones on the map. When a vehicle enters or exits these predefined areas, the system can trigger alerts or notifications, providing valuable insights for logistics and security.

This of course is ideal for monitoring your assets. If one of your vehicles moves outside a designated area without authorisation, the system will immediately notify you, helping prevent theft.

Geofencing also provides valuable insights which can be used for monitoring and optimising operations. It provides data on when and how often vehicles enter specific locations, helping with planning and resource allocation.

In-Depth Driver Behaviour Analysis

Monitoring driver behaviour is a critical aspect of fleet management, and advanced systems can make this even easier. Advanced systems can detect rapid acceleration, sharp turns, and harsh braking. This data allows you to identify drivers who may need additional training to improve their behaviour.

What’s more, the way your vehicles are being driven can significantly impact petrol or diesel consumption. Every minute spent idling burns between 1.077 to 2.13 ounces of fuel- that’s up to 1.0 gallon every hour! This can quickly add up when drivers spend long periods idling in heavy traffic, costing your business even more in fuel costs.

Similarly, drivers who are excessively harsh on the accelerator and brakes use more fuel than those who drive smoothly, making their driving much less efficient. According to the Energy Saving Trust, through higher productivity and increased vehicle utilisation, operating costs can fall by 10% every year and fuel use by 15%!

Detailed reports also provide information on instances of speeding, helping you enforce safe driving practices and reduce the risk of accidents.

Maintenance Tracking

vehicle tracking devices

Proactive maintenance is crucial for preventing costly breakdowns and vehicle downtime. Fortunately, some vehicle tracking systems offer scheduled maintenance alerts. This notifies you when it is time for routine maintenance tasks such as oil changes, tire rotations, or MOT and services.

Some systems even integrate with a vehicle's diagnostics to monitor engine health and identify potential issues early. This prevents major breakdowns and extends the lifespan of your vehicles.

By ensuring timely and preventative maintenance, you can significantly reduce repair costs and minimise the impact of unexpected downtime on your operations.

Fuel Monitoring

Fuel is often the largest expense of a fleet, costing businesses millions of pounds each year. Fortunately, with the right vehicle tracking device, you can gain detailed reports on fuel usage to help you understand consumption patterns and make informed decisions to reduce costs

Additionally, tracking systems which offer integration with fuel cards can streamline expense tracking and help identify discrepancies or unauthorised fuel purchases to prevent fuel fraud.


Asset Tracking

Beyond vehicle tracking, advanced systems offer asset and cargo tracking capabilities, allowing you to keep a close eye on the location of valuable assets such as trailers, containers, or construction equipment in real time.

Alerts and Notifications

Vehicle tracking solutions that offer alerts can keep you informed and in control. Here are just some of the notifications you can receive:

Top Benefits of Vehicle Tracking in Fleet Management

Improved Efficiency and Productivity

Efficiency is key to successful fleet management, and vehicle tracking plays an important role in achieving it.

Optimised Routes

Vehicle tracking systems provide real-time insights into vehicle locations and traffic conditions. Fleet managers can adjust routes on the fly, ensuring drivers take the most efficient paths to their destinations. This minimises travel time and fuel consumption.

Resource Allocation

With the full picture of vehicle locations, dispatchers can use real-time tracking information to assign tasks to the nearest available vehicle, reducing response times and ensuring timely deliveries or service calls.

Reduced Downtime

Proactive maintenance alerts and vehicle health monitoring help prevent breakdowns and unexpected downtime. This keeps your vehicles on the road and minimizes disruptions to your operations.

Enhanced Driver Safety

With real-time feedback, vehicle tracking helps promote safe driving behaviours by monitoring driver behaviour. The system alerts you to cases of speeding, harsh braking, and rapid acceleration. This encourages drivers to adopt safer habits on the road.

Fleet managers can generate driver scorecards based on performance data. These scorecards help identify high-risk behaviours and provide a basis for targeted training and improvement.

Cost Reduction

Cost management is a critical aspect of fleet management, and when used properly, vehicle tracking can contribute to significant cost reductions. Here's how it helps businesses save money:

Environmental Impact

In an era of increasing environmental awareness, businesses are taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint. Vehicle tracking can contribute to these efforts in several ways.

By optimising routes and promoting fuel-efficient driving practices, vehicle tracking systems help reduce fuel consumption. This translates to fewer greenhouse gas emissions and a smaller environmental footprint.

Incorporating vehicle tracking into your fleet management strategy can lead to remarkable benefits, from increased efficiency and safety to substantial cost savings and a positive impact on the environment. As we delve deeper into the checklist, you'll discover how to select the right tracking device to unlock these advantages for your business.

Theft Prevention

Vehicle tracking devices aid in theft prevention and recovery. In the event of theft, the system can help locate and recover stolen vehicles quickly, minimising financial losses.

Compliance and Reporting

Businesses in regulated industries, such as transportation and logistics, rely on vehicle tracking to maintain compliance with legal and safety requirements. Tracking systems provide accurate records for auditing and reporting purposes.

Customer Satisfaction

Timely and efficient deliveries, made possible through vehicle tracking, lead to improved customer satisfaction. Businesses that prioritise on-time service are more likely to retain loyal customers.

customer satisfaction with fleet tracking

Transform Your Small Business with Effective Vehicle Tracking

Small businesses face unique challenges when it comes to managing their fleets and resources. Effective vehicle tracking can be a game-changer, offering cost-effective solutions and scalability that can transform the way small businesses operate.

Cost-Effective Tracking Solutions

Cost-effectiveness is a top priority for small businesses, which is why it’s important to find a solution that is affordable, without compromising on features.

However, one of the great advantages of vehicle tracking devices is the significant savings they can help you make. This means you can quickly recover your investment.

By optimising routes, reducing fuel consumption, and improving driver behaviour, small businesses can quickly realise cost savings that contribute to their bottom line. Additionally, some insurance providers offer discounts to businesses that use vehicle tracking systems, further reducing operating costs.

Scalability for Small Businesses

Scalability is crucial as small businesses grow and adapt to changing needs. Vehicle tracking systems can be tailored to match the scale and goals of your business.

Some providers offer self-fit vehicle tracking devices as an alternative to professionally installed devices, which are typically cheaper. Self-fit devices are also a great option for those looking to avoid vehicle downtime as much as possible. This is thanks to their quick and easy plug and play installation, which requires zero experience.

Whether you opt for self fit or professionally installed vehicle tracking devices, your business can benefit from the scalability they have to offer. Small businesses can start with a small number of vehicles and continue to add trackers to their management system as their fleet grows.

Effective vehicle tracking empowers small businesses to compete on a level playing field with larger counterparts. It offers affordability, scalability, and the tools necessary to optimise operations, making it a valuable asset for small businesses aiming to thrive in their respective industries.

Comparing Vehicle Tracking Systems: Key Features to Consider

When comparing different vehicle tracking systems, it's essential to evaluate key features that align with your specific needs.

As a leading vehicle tracking provider, our Fleetsmart solutions offer a range of solutions tailored to meet diverse business requirements. These include:

Price vs. Features

Price is a crucial consideration when comparing vehicle tracking systems. However, it's essential to assess the value provided by the features offered. Fleetsmart's offerings, for instance, provide a compelling return on investment (ROI):

Consider the initial hardware and software costs associated with the tracking system. At Fleetsmart, we offer competitive pricing options to align with different budget constraints, including the choice of self-fit or professionally installed devices, along with a range of optional add-ons.

Evaluate ongoing subscription costs to ensure they fit within your budget. Fleetsmart's pricing structure is designed to be cost-effective while delivering substantial ROI. We’ve found that businesses typically recover their investment in just 90 days. This includes initial payments and a full year's subscription.

Of course, this varies on a case-by-case basis, however fleets with a more significant potential for improvement can expect a much quicker return on investment; with typical savings experienced per vehicle are £1,000-£2,000 per annum.

So if you have a fleet of 50 vehicles, you could expect to make savings of up to £100,000 each year.

User-Friendly Interface

A user-friendly interface is essential for effective fleet management. That’s why Fleetsmart prioritises ease of use for its customers:

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Vehicle Tracking FAQs

What is a vehicle tracking device, and how does it work?

A vehicle tracking device is a technology that uses GPS (Global Positioning System) to determine the precise location of a vehicle in real-time. It works by receiving signals from satellites and then transmitting this data to a central server. The server processes the information and presents it in an accessible format, allowing fleet managers to monitor the vehicle's location, speed, and other essential details.

What are the benefits of using vehicle tracking systems in fleet management?

Vehicle tracking systems offer numerous benefits, including improved efficiency and productivity, enhanced driver safety, cost reduction through optimised routes and fuel savings, and a positive environmental impact by reducing fuel consumption and emissions.

How can vehicle tracking systems improve driver behaviour?

Vehicle tracking systems monitor driver behaviour by tracking factors like speeding, harsh braking, and rapid acceleration. When drivers are aware that their behaviour is being monitored, they tend to adopt safer driving habits, reducing the risk of accidents and improving fuel efficiency.

Can vehicle tracking devices be used to prevent theft?

Yes, vehicle tracking devices are an effective tool for theft prevention. If a vehicle equipped with a tracking device is stolen, the system can provide real-time location updates, enabling law enforcement to recover the stolen vehicle quickly. What’s more, with optional add-ons such as remote immobilisation, you can stop a would-be thief from starting your vehicle’s engine at the touch of a button from your mobile phone.

Are vehicle tracking systems suitable for small businesses with a limited budget?

Yes, vehicle tracking systems can be cost-effective and offer scalability to meet the needs of small businesses.

Do vehicle tracking systems require professional installation?

While some tracking systems may require professional installation, many providers offer self-fit device options that are user-friendly and can be installed without professional assistance. This can reduce installation costs and downtime.

How long does it typically take to see a return on investment (ROI) with a vehicle tracking system?

The time to achieve ROI with a vehicle tracking system can vary depending on factors like the size of the fleet and existing business practices. However, with efficient use, many businesses can achieve ROI within 90 days or even sooner. Fleets with significant potential for improvement can often experience a much quicker ROI.

Can vehicle tracking systems integrate with other fleet management software?

Yes, vehicle tracking systems can integrate with other fleet management software, allowing for a centralised view of data and streamlined operations. This integration can help businesses make data-driven decisions and improve overall efficiency.

How can I ensure that a vehicle tracking system is user-friendly for my team?

When choosing a vehicle tracking system, consider the usability of the interface. Look for systems with intuitive dashboards, accessible data, and mobile accessibility through apps. At Fleetsmart, we prioritise user-friendly interfaces to enhance the user experience.

Is vehicle tracking technology compatible with various types of vehicles, including heavy machinery and trailers?

Yes, vehicle tracking technology is versatile and can be used with a wide range of vehicles, including cars, vans, heavy machinery, trailer tracking, and more. It can be customised to meet the specific tracking needs of different types of vehicles within your fleet.

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vehicle tracking requirements

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