Logistics is always a key aspect of any business. The process of transporting goods to and from buyers and/or sellers should always figure into any good business plan. Ensuring the safe and timely transport of goods is so crucial to satisfying customers and keeping the business running that some entrepreneurial folks have even managed to build a thriving enterprise around it.
If you happen to belong to the previously mentioned group (i.e., the one with transport and shipping as the main business activity), you will most likely understand the importance of fleet tracking. Fleet tracking is basically the process of charting the destinations of your fleet of delivery trucks or vehicles. Done properly, this sort of tracking not only lets you locate your fleet anywhere within the country or the world, but it also clues you in on which routes your drivers and support staff take, thus allowing you to figure out where any improvements can be made.
There are mainly two ways in which you can track your fleet of delivery vehicles:
- Passive tracking. A passive fleet tracker records a vehicle’s global positioning satellite (GPS) location, speed, and sometimes certain key occurrences like the vehicle being on or off or any doors being open or closed. Once the vehicle arrives at a predetermined location such as a warehouse or a company garage, the tracker is taken out and a computer downloads the data from it for evaluation. Some passive trackers may also involve an auto download process that can be triggered by the vehicle’s access to a wireless internet connection.
- Active tracking. An active tracker is much like a passive one, except that it automatically transmits the said data collected via a cellular or satellite network to a computer that evaluates it. This way, the updates from the tracker are virtually in real time so long as the connection to the cellular or satellite network is not disrupted.
However, many of the popular vehicle tracking systems these days feature a combination of passive and active tracking for best results. Delivery vehicles are often fitted with trackers that actively submit real-time data to an assigned server via a connection to a mobile network. However, once this connection is severed (e.g., if the vehicle travels through a location that does not have a communication signal), the said data is stored away in the system’s internal memory until a mobile network connection becomes available once again. Once this occurs, the tracker automatically resumes the transmission of data to the assigned server.
The most common kind of vehicle tracking is GPS-based, and it usually has the following components:
- User Interface (UI). This interface determines how one can access vehicle data and information as well as any other pertinent details.
- GPS tracker. This device is at the very heart of the fleet tracker as it takes note of the vehicle’s GPS location at every interval. Depending on how advanced your GPS fleet tracking is, your tracker could also monitor a host of vehicular information. Examples of this include fuel levels, tire pressure, battery status, engine rate per minute (RPM), vehicle temperature, altitude, cumulative idling, headlight or taillight status (e.g., whether it’s on or off), door status (open or close), and even the number of GPS tracking satellites in the vicinity. How comprehensive your vehicle tracking is will often depend on how much vehicular information your GPS device can gather.
- GPS tracking server. This component of your tracking stays in one place and is remotely accessed. It receives the data transmitted by the tracker, stores it, and then allows the user to retrieve when needed.