How vehicle tracking works and why you’ll benefit from it

29 August 2022

To operate a successful fleet business, vehicle tracking is essential! Vehicle tracking has provided telematics technology to efficiently and successfully operate a fleet business. Let’s find out how it works and why your business will benefit from it.

The development of vehicle tracking systems began in the 1960s. Today, vehicle tracking gives fleet managers and businesses more control over their fleet. Truck, taxi, logistics and car service industries depend on vehicle tracking systems to operate efficiently. However, vehicle tracking goes beyond more than merely determining the exact geographical location of vehicles. Let's discover what more there is to vehicle tracking.  

vehicles need a tracking system

vehicles need a tracking system

Why do vehicles need a tracking system? 

The name says it all, a vehicle tracking system allows you to track the geographical location of your vehicle(s) in real-time. Thanks to innovation, vehicle tracking systems now go beyond just determining the exact location of a vehicle at any given time to collecting data and providing detailed reports on driver behaviour, vehicle maintenance, vehicle trip history, and even vehicle fuel consumption and management. 

For vehicle tracking to work, a GPS tracking device is required. This is a small, portable unit that is installed on a vehicle (or even asset for tracking) enabling you to track the exact location of the vehicle or asset and receive information about when, where, and how your vehicles are being used. 

Sounds similar to in-car navigation systems, right? But there are highlighting differences. On the one hand, GPS navigation systems show your location on a digital map and give you directions from point A to point B. On the other hand, GPS tracking devices use telematics technology to determine a vehicle’s exact geographical location and trip history, and further store this data in a computer, smartphone, or tablet. 

 Let’s dive into how this smart device works? 

How a GPS vehicle tracking system works

GPS which stands for Global Positioning System, is a satellite constellation supporting high accurate positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) measurements worldwide. GPS tracking systems use the position of three or more satellites from the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) to determine an exact geographical location.  

There are different ways that a GPS vehicle tracking system can work. Active or commercial tracking systems provide real-time view of the geographical positioning of a vehicle while passive tracking systems or GPS loggers do not offer real-time tracking. Instead, they simply collect and store a vehicle’s GPS location and data on trips based on specific events to be viewed at a later time. 

Although both active and passive vehicle trackers are the same GPS devices, they have different functions. Fleet managers use active tracking systems to monitor drivers ’ real-time locations and drivers’ behaviour. Whereas passive tracking systems provide fleet managers with data and information on the fleet vehicles’ geographic locations, driver behaviour, and other vehicle insights whenever they need access to the information and data. 

How can vehicle tracking systems be used?

Because there are different vehicle tracking devices, there should be different ways vehicle tracking systems are used. Let’s explore the different scenarios in which vehicle tracking systems can be used:

  • To track a fleet: You are a fleet manager and you want to know the exact geographic location of your drivers and fleet. To make matters worse, customers are unsatisfied with the business’ services; complaints include late or no deliveries and missing or damaged assets. And if that’s not enough, you have piles of paperwork to deal with, including missing and unsigned proof of deliveries (PODs). 

In this case, fleet managers often use GPS tracking to monitor the whereabouts of the vehicles. With vehicle tracking, fleet managers have a simplified and uncomplicated way to manage and oversee vehicles. Fleet managers receive information on where drivers and vehicles are at any given moment, where drivers have travelled throughout the day, the deliveries that have been completed as well as electronic PODs. 

  • To keep an eye on your car: You are a car owner and need peace of mind that you will find your car exactly where you parked it. You want to have fun, live life, shop and have lunch with friends without having to worry about the security of your vehicle every second. 

You can use GPS tracking to stay informed about the exact geographic location of your vehicle at any given time, receive notifications in the suspicion of idling, and if your vehicle is stolen it can be tracked and recovered.  

  • To access data and information when needed: You are a fleet manager and you are looking for an affordable tracking system that will provide you with the information and data you need to increase productivity, increase customer service, and effectively manage and maintain vehicles.

In this scenario, vehicle tracking is used to monitor vehicle mileage for the fleet businesses, access data and information that will assist in improving driver behaviour and reducing the misuse of vehicles. 


3 fleet management challenges solved by fleet tracking 

The purpose of fleet tracking is to collect data about a fleet using telematics technology. Fleet managers can use fleet tracking to help solve fleet management challenges. The following are three common fleet management problems that can be solved with fleet tracking:

  1. Driver accountability: Accountability can be defined as the willingness to accept responsibility or to elucidate one’s action. Fleet managers need the ability to confirm that drivers have completed tasks as expected, at the time specified and location. Real-time GPS tracking is the solution to this problem. Fleet tracking helps fleet managers set clear expectations for drivers and allows them to focus on achieving their goals and tasks.
  2. High customer expectations: With efficient delivery options such as one-week, one-day or even same-day, customer expectations have risen over the years and so have competitors. However, vehicle tracking systems have made it easier to meet high customer expectations. With vehicle tracking, fleet managers can optimise routes for drivers ensuring that deliveries are made on time and track assets from dispatch to delivery.
  3. High operational costs: From fuel usage to vehicle maintenance, vehicle theft, and even time, fleet-related operation costs can get extremely high. Vehicle tracking provides fleet managers with the information needed to monitor fleet operation costs and efficiently manage the fleet to reduce operational costs.  

benefits of vehicle tracking

benefits of vehicle tracking

9 benefits of vehicle tracking

The obvious benefit of vehicle tracking is that it provides real-time tracking of vehicles, this is a basic function that makes way for more benefits of vehicle tracking. There are more reasons why your business will benefit from vehicle tracking, here are nine: 

  1. Full visibility of drivers, fleet and assets: Previously, fleet managers had no way of knowing the exact geographical location of the fleet and even the completion rate of the deliveries. Now, GPS tracking systems allow fleet managers to create, assign and monitor drivers’ tasks all in one platform. The ability to oversee your entire fleet operation puts you in control of productivity, service delivery, and costs. 
  2. Reduced operational costs and increased profits: Whether it is reducing money or time, GPS tracking provides actionable insights about how the fleet business’ time, money, and resources are used. This way, fleet managers can analyse operating expenses and reduce unnecessary costs, time wastage,, and increase profits.
  3. Decrease vehicle downtime: Fleet vehicles are either on the road everyday (whether for long or short distances) or in some instances not in use for long periods. Whatever the case may be, vehicles cannot curb the need for regular maintenance or else they suffer from damages such as wear and tear and engine faults. 

With vehicle tracking, fleet managers receive diagnostics and alerts to ensure that potential vehicle damages are identified and vehicles get maintenance regularly. This information reduces vehicle downtime and the risk of vehicles breaking down while the drivers complete tasks and deliveries. 

  1. Increased customer satisfaction: Vehicle tracking does not only increase customer satisfaction by increasing productivity through clear task allocation and task progression tracking but it also enhances the customer experience by involving customers every step of the way. With vehicle tracking, customers can get real-time tracking of their cargo from dispatch to delivery. This allows both fleet managers and customers to communicate and stay informed on any emergency changes to the delivery. Customers can further efficiently sign electronic PODs and receive a confirmation email.
  2. Theft prevention: Another reason why fleet businesses benefit from vehicle tracking is that it provides the ability to retrieve stolen vehicles. Vehicle tracking systems help reduce vehicle theft-related crimes by making it easy and accessible to track the whereabouts of vehicles, this saves financial and resource losses that could be incurred from vehicle theft.
  3. Seamless fleet management: With vehicle tracking, fleet managers don’t only get a birds-eye-view of the whole fleet operation in real time, but they can further seamlessly create, assign and track tasks. The ability to easily assign and track tasks leads to higher productivity, a reduction in incorrect or late deliveries, and reduced operational costs.

    A game-changing benefit of vehicle tracking for fleet management is the ability to communicate efficiently in case of an emergency. When unexpected situations occur fleet managers can communicate changes with drivers, quickly decide which vehicles to send where, or decide on the best alternative routes for drivers.

  4. Minimise paperwork and admin: Managing hand-written paperwork can be stressful and time-consuming. With vehicle tracking there is no need to manually create timesheets, create receipts to record payments, or fill out and search through piles of paperwork. Vehicle tracking allows fleet managers to reduce admin burdens with the ability to assign tasks, track drivers and fleet, and store electric PODs all in one place. 

The cut-down of paperwork and admin boosts employee productivity as it lifts the paperwork and admin burden from employees and allows them to fully focus on completing tasks. 

  1. Increase driver accountability: The ability to seamlessly create, assign, and track tasks ensure that there are clear expectations of tasks and work ethic. With access to information and data on the accurate geographic location of vehicles, vehicle trip history and driver behaviour each employee can be held accountable for their work ethic whether good or bad. This way, vehicle tracking can foster a culture of accountability, integrity and honesty, and reduce internal and external conflict.
  2. Improved driver safety: Driver safety should be a major priority for fleet businesses as the success of the business is dependent on the drivers’ ability to efficiently and safely complete tasks. Road safety risks on the other hand can lead to accidents, driver injuries, legal issues as well as financial losses.

There are many ways vehicle tracking enhances driver safety. Some of the ways include route optimization allowing fleet managers to create the most cost-effective, time-saving, and safe route for drivers no matter the size of the fleet business, camera solutions to monitor driver behaviour as well as driver assistance in case of emergency. Vehicle tracking tools can also allow fleet managers to monitor poor driver behaviour such as speeding, harsh braking and acceleration. 

Why you need a tracking device for your car

Regardless of being a fleet manager or a fleet business owner, getting a vehicle tracking device is beneficial as it allows you to personally monitor the geographical location of your car, at any given time. 

Here are some reasons why you should get a vehicle tracking device for your car: 

  • To ensure the security of your car at all times. 
  • To be alerted if your car is being tampered with or is stolen. 
  • To remotely deactivate your car's ignition to prevent theft. 
  • To get quick assistance in the event that your car is stolen.
  • To recover your stolen vehicle.  
  • To receive reports on maintenance, driver behaviour, and vehicle trips.

This may sound like a whole lot of admin but it isn't. All the above can be done remotely, on your smartphone, with the Cartrack App.   

Boost your business with Cartrack GPS features

Boost your business with Cartrack GPS features

Boost your business with Cartrack GPS features 

Cartrack provides an easy-to-use platform that allows fleet managers to oversee the entire fleet operation all in one place. Cartrack features ensure that fleet managers run the fleet as best as possible at the lowest costs, ensuring that your business reaps the rewards.  

Below are some Cartrack features that allow fleet managers to monitor fleet vehicles, driver behaviour, fuel usage, and more: 

  • MiFleet: With MiFleet, fleet managers can manage their fleet, drivers, and fleet-related costs efficiently. MiFleet is easy-to-use software which allows fleet managers to monitor fuel transactions, be alerted on fuel risks, get informed of possible fraud, investigate ways to save fuel and money, and reduce admin. 
  • Geofence: Geofence uses accurate GPS positioning to set boundaries on certain areas that vehicles are restricted from crossing. With this Cartrack feature, fleet managers can monitor when vehicles enter or exit the pre-set geographical boundaries by receiving a notification via SMS and email. 
  • AI-powered cameras: Cartrack’s easy-to-use vehicle video cameras provide fleet managers with real-time visibility of their fleet, assets, and drivers. With this AI-powered and live-stream camera technology fleet managers get event recordings as well as information and data that provide critical information to improve driver behaviour and productivity. 
  • Routing: This is a Cartrack feature that allows fleet managers to easily set, optimise and manage predefined routes for fleet vehicles to reduce wastage in operating costs. In the case of route deviations, fleet managers receive real-time alerts. This way, fleet managers can ensure that drivers are sticking to their tasks. 
  • Stolen Vehicle Recovery (SVR): SVR is a Cartrack feature that can save fleet business financial losses from vehicle theft. With the use of the advanced tracking devices installed on vehicles together with a highly trained response team, Cartrack has over 92% stolen vehicle recovery rate. 

Get 24/7 vehicle tracking with Cartrack 

Cartrack offers fleet businesses and car owners a variety of packages with various vehicle tracking features. This way you can find a package that is best for you based on your personal or business needs.

Contact us today!

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