Unpredictable fuel costs have taken a toll on companies that manage their own truck fleets. While retailers can’t do much about the price of gas, they can reduce transportation expenses by ensuring that trucks make their appointed rounds in the most efficient (and shortest) manner possible. As a solution, some experts recommend a technology that many vehicles routinely use: a global-positioning system.
“GPS systems are best known for getting drivers from one location to another, but businesses can use these tools to cut fuel costs as well as time on the road between deliveries,” said Sheldon Safir, director of mobile computing for Holtsville, N.Y.-based Motorola’s Enterprise Mobility Business division.
Satellites and ground-based receivers, which are the core of GPS systems, work together to pinpoint a geographic location. Add in a Web-based user interface and a chain’s dispatcher can see where every member of the fleet is within minutes.
Retailers can also use a GPS to monitor run times, speed and even to re-route drivers to a new call. Many systems have alarms that are activated when vehicles exceed maximum speeds, reducing fuel costs as well as accidents.
Streamlined routes and directions also reduce fleet-related maintenance costs and extend the life cycles of vehicles—two other factors that provide additional cost savings.
Some industry experts report that companies can experience up to 10% reductions in fuel-related investments on GPS-outfitted vehicles. The technology has also helped companies improve work-order completions by 10% to 25%, according to Aberdeen Group, Boston.