The Ultimate Fleet Management Buyer's Guide

23 Crucial Questions to Ask

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GPS Tracking & Fleet Management:
Does Your Company Need It?

In a word, yes. If you own or work for a company that has commercial vehicles, you’re probably already aware that many companies in the industry use GPS-based technology to manage their fleets. However, if you’re not currently using a fleet management solution, you may not be aware of all of the benefits that kind of technology can provide for your business.

Using a fleet management solution can not only help you gain an edge over your competition, but it can also help you reduce costs, increase productivity, protect your valuable assets and streamline the things you do every day. Just some of the advantages include:

Track and protect assets.

A GPS tracking and fleet management solution offers protection, prevention, and visibility of your fleet with real-time, 24/7 monitoring.

Reduce fuel costs.

By monitoring and identifying driver behavior, you can reduce wasted fuel consumption by nearly 80% and decrease idle time by almost 40%.

Save on labor costs.

Monitor and streamline your workforce with accurate timecard information and scheduling, saving you up to 35%.

Increase best practices.

Quickly view and analyze the behavior of your workforce with driver behavior alerts and color-coded scorecards and actionable data you can use.

Keep a handle on maintenance.

Set reminder alerts for maintenance, address issues quickly, and increase your vehicle’s lifespan by up to 35%.

Make better decisions.

With a huge range of data-rich, customizable reports, you’ll always have a handle on the numbers that matter to your bottom line.

Finding the Right Solution for Your Business:
The Questions to Ask

While it’s easy to focus on price as the main reason to select one fleet management solution over another, there’s a lot more to it than that. This is a solution that can help take your business to the next level, so it’s important to find a provider that you can trust both now and in the future. Anyone can be a business provider — instead, look for a business partner. By asking the right questions, you can find the right solution to fit your budget and business.

Step One:
Learn More About Your Potential Telematics Partner

1) How long has the company been in business?

When you’re selecting a business to work with, it’s crucial that they have a well-established, proven track record of success — particularly with businesses like yours. In the GPS tracking and fleet management systems world, there are quite a few companies on the block. Look for an experienced company that’s in it for the long-haul.

2) What kind of customer reviews and success stories do they have?

It’s a bad sign if a company doesn’t have any reviews or customer success stories — or worse, terrible reviews all around. Take the time to do some quick online research on them by checking sites like Capterra, Google, or the Better Business Bureau. Better yet, check their webpage for customer stories and videos. A great business partner will be happy to steer you in the right direction to see their reviews.

3) Does the company have any awards or reviews for their solution?

Awards and independent reviews are a great way to ascertain if a company is providing a valuable solution for its customers. While it’s easy for a company to say they have a great solution, an award helps to back that up. Look to see if the company you’re looking at partnering with for your fleet management solution has reputable awards from organizations you know.

4) How reliant is the company on third-party services?

There’s nothing worse than logging into one of your mission-critical business systems and seeing a dreaded error message — that is unless it’s caused by the provider’s use of a third-party service. A company’s ability to address your issues themselves and make fixes internally can ensure minimal downtime for you and your business. Look for in-house development, customer service, and support teams.

Step Two:
Discover How the Solution Works

5) Which products and solutions are right for my business?

As you’ve probably already discovered, the list of GPS tracking and fleet management solution providers is long, and new players pop up regularly. Given everything available on the market, selecting what you actually need for your business can feel like a huge task.

One of the best ways to get started is to take a free, online assessment that will help you get an understanding of what your business needs and where to start.

6) Can this GPS fleet management solution be integrated with other business systems?

Think about the business systems you rely on every day, such as billing and payroll. If the solution you’re looking at doesn’t easily integrate with what you currently have in place, you may actually be creating extra work and headaches for both yourself and your employees. That means extra time, extra hours, and extra costs. Have a list of what you’re currently using so you can ensure your new solution will not only seamlessly integrate, but also help you to streamline your daily tasks.

7) What kind of customer reviews and success stories do they have?

It’s a bad sign if a company doesn’t have any reviews or customer success stories — or worse, terrible reviews all around. Take the time to do some quick online research on them by checking sites like Capterra, Google, or the Better Business Bureau. Better yet, check their webpage for customer stories and videos. A great business partner will be happy to steer you in the right direction to see their reviews.

8) Does the company have any awards or reviews for their solution?

Awards and independent reviews are a great way to ascertain if a company is providing a valuable solution for its customers. While it’s easy for a company to say they have a great solution, an award helps to back that up. Look to see if the company you’re looking at partnering with for your fleet management solution has reputable awards from organizations you know.

9) How reliant is the company on third-party services?

There’s nothing worse than logging into one of your mission-critical business systems and seeing a dreaded error message — that is unless it’s caused by the provider’s use of a third-party service. A company’s ability to address your issues themselves and make fixes internally can ensure minimal downtime for you and your business. Look for in-house development, customer service and support teams.

10) Which features are important to my business?

With all the various solutions out there, having an understanding of what you’d like a GPS tracking and fleet management solution to do for your business is key when you’re exploring your options. For example, you may want to be able to more accurately track timecard information or get a better view of the behavior of your drivers. Maybe you’re concerned about theft or the potential for your assets to be used for moonlighting by your employees. By finding a solution that can tick all the boxes, you’ll be better prepared to make the right decision for your business.

11) Does this solution have an open API?

So what if the systems you regularly use aren’t on the list of what will integrate with the solution you’re looking into? That’s where having an open API comes in. API stands for Application Programming Interface. GPS Trackit has developed an open API that functions as a web service, enabling customers and third-party developers the ability to move vehicle location, performance, and engine diagnostic data to other systems within their business.

It may sound technical, but what’s at its heart is easy to understand: an open API will help ensure that no matter what systems you use, there’s a way to integrate the information you get from your fleet management solution with them.

12) Is this solution customizable?

In business, one size does not fit all — an especially true statement when it comes to fleet management. Depending on how you run your day-to-day business, you may require a variety of options specifically tailored to your needs. A few considerations could include:

• Alerts. Does the solution you’re looking at offer Geofence or landmark alerts? How about driving alerts such as hard braking or speeding? Does it offer the ability to select how alerts are delivered, for example, text vs. an email? The greater the flexibility you have with setting and managing your own alerts, the better your real-time visibility into your business will be.

• Reports. Does the solution allow you to customize what you need on your reports, as well as when, how, and where they’re delivered? Look for a solution that allows you to automate reporting according to your needs, streamlining the process and saving you time.

13) Can this solution easily grow with your business?

Scalability is key, particularly in a high-growth industry like commercial fleets. Though you may be a smaller company now, you’ll want to find a fleet management solution that can easily grow along with you and move at the speed your business demands. Find out about the process of adding additional staff, assets, or fleet vehicles — does the company offer the ability to easily do this online or through the solution platform, or do you need to speak to your salesperson? Look for a solution that gives you the option to either self-serve or speak to a live person.

Additionally, you will also want to look for a solution that offers other services that your growing business may need. For example:

– Video and video telematics

– ELD

– Asset tracking

– Trailer temperature monitoring

– Field service management

Learn about how these offerings would work with your fleet management solution. Do they require that you login to a different platform, or are you able to access them all from one screen? Look for a solution that offers you the easiest way to manage both your fleet and your data.

14) Are you limited on the number of “seats” you can have on this solution?

Access to your new solution doesn’t need to just be limited to your fleet manager or dispatcher. Considering the wealth of information available with a GPS tracking and fleet management solution, you will likely want multiple departments across your company to have access to it. However, some solutions may be limit to the number of users, or “seats,” that can have access to the platform, or have additional costs associated with increasing the number of users. Be sure to ask what the limits and costs are before you sign on the dotted line.

15) What kind of reports can be generated with this solution?

Having access to accurate data is crucial to decisions that drive your business. However, digging through tons of data to find the numbers your need is a hassle. That’s where reporting features come into play. Be sure to investigate what kind of reporting features are included with your solution and if they’re customizable and viewable on-demand. Look for data-rich reports such as:

• Driver scorecards and safety reports

• Speed reports

• Landmark reports such as time spent or driver interactions

• Mileage summaries

• Real-time temperature reporting

• Miles driven per state to track fuel taxes

• Maintenance reports

• Fleet-wide or vehicle specific reports

Step Three:
Get the Maximum Value from Your New System

16) What are your customer service hours?

Before you decide to go forward with selecting the right GPS tracking and fleet management solution, it’s important to understand what kind of service and support you’ll have available to you — as well as when it’s available. Find out the hours that the customer service and support teams are available and ensure it ticks the boxes for when you think you’ll need them most..

17) How can I contact your service and support teams?

Getting in touch with a company’s customer care and support teams can sometimes be frustrating, particularly if there aren’t multiple ways to get in touch. Look for a company that offers multiple support channels, such as phone, email, and online chat.

18) Is there a charge for contacting support?

Having an in-house support team can be expensive, so it’s a sad fact of life that some companies charge a fee for support via per-minute line charges or a per-contact charge on your bill. When you’re implementing a new system, you’re likely going to have questions that need to be answered. Look for a company that understands that and doesn’t charge you for accessing the support you need.

19) How often can I access training and how much does it cost?

Once you’ve got your brand-new solution in place, you’re going to want to know how it works. Having access to an expert training team is essential for getting the maximum value and ROI on your new fleet management solution. Depending on the size of your company, you may need to schedule multiple pieces of training at different times, or you may even want to train new employees or take a refresher course down the line. Find out how often you can access training and what the costs are before you proceed with buying a new solution.

Step Four:
Prepare to Sign on the Dotted Line

20) What are your contract terms?

Depending on the solution provider you’re looking at, there may be a contract involved should you decide to partner with them for your fleet management solution. While there are many reasons for this, getting your service on a contract basis essentially locks you in for the full term of the contract, typically with hefty fees to get out of it should it not work for you. Find out exactly what the contract terms are before you sign on the dotted line, including get-out clauses and money-back guarantees.

21) What is included in my solution?

When you’re ready to select your solution, it’s important to know what’s included in the price. Here’s a quick checklist of some of the things you may want to confirm is included in your solution package:

• Hardware. Your GPS tracking and fleet management solution will require hardware for all of your fleet vehicles.

• Training. In order to get the most out of your new solution, you’ll have to know how to use it. Does the company provide training free of charge? Do they offer free training for new employees or refresher courses?

• Support. Though many don’t, some GPS tracking and fleet management providers may provide you with a support line that charges by the minute. This could really rack up your costs, particularly when you need help the most.

Estimate your ROI:

Free online Calculator

22) What kind of ROI can I expect?

When you’re investing in a new solution, it’s important to see a return on that investment. This return can be measured in a variety of ways, from financial savings to increased productivity and efficiency. Look for examples of how other companies like yours are seeing ROI with particular systems — the provider should be able to give you specific examples, or improvements that their customers typically see. Additionally, try using an online ROI calculator to get a feel for how a GPS tracking and fleet management solution could help you.

23) Will this solution eventually pay for itself?

Once you’ve run the numbers, it’s easy to see how implementing a fleet management solution can help you save money, time, and effort. These savings add up to increasing your accounting’s profit column. After using GPS Trackit’s ROI Calculator, take a look at your estimated total annual savings. More often than not, you’ll see that the low monthly cost of a fleet management solution is far outweighed by the average savings you can expect to see.

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