Technology

Published on April 3rd, 2013 | by Josephbker

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What to consider before buying fleet tracking software

Fleet tracking software allows businesses to keep track of vehicles on the road, gauge traffic conditions ahead and monitor maintenance and performance of vehicles. While there is a range of such software applications on the market, not all are equally suited to large fleets. Companies in need of fleet tracking software that’s suited for large operations should consider many variables when choosing the right software: Price, reputation of the provider, features, technology and training curve.

Technology: What technology does the potential program offer? Many use GPS, for example, to provide up to the minute vehicle location, speed, fuel use, worker time and direction. Some programs also offer inventory management for cargo, vehicle tires and repairs. Still others offer comprehensive information that allows service scheduling and vehicle dispatch. In short, fleet tracking technology can offer businesses a lot, but the right program will offer services that meet current needs and anticipate future ones.

Training: To get the most out of the software, companies will need training that unlocks its potential. Some functions may be easy and intuitive to figure out without help, but there are sure to be those that elude the casual user. Because many of thee programs combine inventory control and GPS, using them effectively can be challenging for employees. Companies should look for a software provider that offers comprehensive employee training programs and provides a clearly written manual or guide that employees can use as a reference.

Costs: While the cost to purchase the software does matter, companies need to factor in other variables, such as the cost to provide equipment to all employees and to scale the equipment up if necessary. Questions to ask include:

·       How many devices can the system manage?

·       How easy is it to add devices at the point of need?

·       What type of business relationships does the software provider have with hardware and software technology providers?

·       How do service fees go up with an increase in users?

In general, companies should look for fleet tracking service providers that offer modular software, as this can drive down the cost. Such software can expand as business needs increase and contract should company needs change. A company only pays for the services it currently uses, so if automated dispatch services aren’t needed, they’re not part of the cost. If they do become necessary at a later date, they’re simply added to the service package.

By building their own software program out of modules offered, a company can save money off of larger packages that offer more than present needs and remain current by upgrading components as necessary. Businesses can also use ROI or return on investment to drive decisions: By calculating the ROI before deciding whether or not to scale up, they can forecast costs and benefits associated with adding a new functionality.

Before making any final decisions about fleet software, companies should check references by calling existing clients to learn about the pros and cons of each potential option. In talking with clients, questions to ask include:

·       What do you like/dislike about your vendor?

·       How satisfied are you with the customer service?

·       What modules do you use and what is your experience with using them?

Choosing fleet management software is not a decision to take lightly. Careful research helps companies juggle needs, wants and budget effectively.

 


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