Many trucking companies use real-time GPS tracking systems to keep track of their fleet. Onboard computers located in the truck’s center console monitor the truck’s location and speed throughout a delivery.
Syntelic does not offer real-time GPS tracking, but our Route Planning and Transportation Analytics software can harness tracking data to reveal significant patterns in delivery operations. Truck tracking information can also be used to create the optimal route for multi-stop deliveries.
What Is GPS Truck Tracking for Trucks?
Global positioning system (GPS) trackers use satellites to signal their location. This data can be displayed on a map to provide useful information, making it possible for a company to know exactly where a truck is at any given time.
GPS trackers have become a more common method of tracking trucks because their data can be used to optimize future routes. Truck tracking devices and software ultimately strive to streamline the delivery process.
Why Is Commercial GPS Tracking Important?
For those that use it, GPS tracking offers increased productivity and peace of mind. Increased visibility into fleet operations can create opportunities for optimization and help address potential challenges.
GPS tracking is also important when dealing with regulatory bodies like the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the branch of the Department of Transportation (DOT) that deals with large commercial vehicles. FMCSA expects truck deliveries to happen by the book, and having a detailed tracking log to look through can help them conduct audits to ensure this is the case.
Functions of a Truck Tracking System
Vehicle tracking enables you to streamline your delivery operations with practical strategies. Below are some of the goals of a truck tracking system.
- Control fuel usage: Large, heavy semi-trucks use a lot of fuel. When the fuel used doesn’t line up with the fuel that was expected to be used, it can cause distrust between the supervisors and drivers. Using GPS to match the truck’s route with the predetermined optimized route helps build trust and minimize fuel consumption.
- Prevent speeding: Trucks that move too fast from one point to another are dangerous to all those in the vicinity. The truck driver is at risk, the other drivers are at risk, and even the cargo inside the trailer could be destroyed. In addition to the potential damage, speeding is against the law and could lead to legal repercussions. Trucks must go slower than other vehicles for a reason. With GPS tracking, supervisors can review data to confirm that a truck driver was not speeding to make up for wasted time.
- Monitor drivers: Drivers who are driving a familiar route may go out of their way to visit a specific restaurant or person. With GPS tracking, any stops they make—and the amount of time they make them for—will be recorded. If your driver’s individual behaviors are causing the company to lose money and making customers unhappy, truck tracking can help you prove it.
Truck driver relationships involve a constant give and take. While it’s important to build up trust, it’s also important to provide the best possible service to your customers. Sometimes this means paying closer attention to driver behaviors. Many truck drivers like having a more set schedule because they have a better understanding of their responsibilities.
Benefits of a Truck Tracking System
Whether your company is large or small, there will always be ways to improve your supply chain process. This could involve warehouse stacking methods, truck loading practices, routing, reviewing routes, etc. Truck tracking GPS increases visibility into your own operations and helps you achieve the following:
- Efficient routes: The main benefit of a truck tracking system is the ability to use route information from past deliveries to plan future deliveries. For example, Syntelic Route Planning uses information recorded by onboard devices to help develop the optimal route while considering traffic patterns and other influences. Tracking also helps to evaluate planned vs. actual route performance, which can save money for the company.
- Cost reduction: Truck tracking allows you to make strategic dispatch decisions that reduce fuel expenses. Real-time tracking can even help inform decisions that save money in the moment. Increased visibility and more in-depth information leads to better business decisions.
- Satisfied customers: At any level of the trucking industry, customers have expectations for the service they pay for. People expect convenience and efficiency when it comes to getting the products they purchased. GPS tracking can streamline the delivery process, which in turn makes customers happier. Increased visibility also helps keep customers informed in times of unforeseen difficulties. If a truck goes off the road or gets caught in a storm, updates can be sent to the client regarding the status of their items. Bad news is better than no news at all, and communication helps to build trust.
- Security improvements: While semi-trucks are difficult to steal because of their size, truck tracking can help to recover trucks if they are stolen. If a truck goes off-route and gets lost, a GPS device can also help supervisors locate the truck and provide assistance if needed. Truck tracking also prevents unsanctioned or unauthorized use of trucks by alerting the supervisor if there is unnatural activity.
Truck tracking technology is becoming increasingly necessary to meet regulatory demands. Especially when it comes to keeping track of hours driven, a truck tracking software helps organizations like FMCSA monitor driving practices.
Route Tracking and Other Software
Commercial GPS tracking is a feature included in many onboarding devices for semi-trucks. Here at Syntelic, we do not offer truck tracking software. But we offer other trucking programs that can help you improve your delivery operations. Our routing, loading, and data analytics software have been designed to work with truck tracking devices of all types.
Electronic Logging Device (ELD) in Trucking
Along with a variety of other regulations, FMCSA has been tracking the impacts of electronic logging devices (ELDs) on delivery operations. ELDs track the metrics of a specific truck driver’s route, including how long the driver has been driving consecutively, the speed they traveled, the route they took, etc.
An ELD truck monitoring system provides similar information to a full GPS system. ELD tracking helps truck routers create more efficient plans based on data from previous routes. ELDs and other truck tracking devices are becoming increasingly necessary in the trucking industry to improve visibility for regulatory bodies.
Truck Tracking FAQ
Can a GPS fleet tracking system help small businesses?
GPS fleet tracking for small businesses can be just as beneficial as truck tracking for large businesses. When trying to grow a company or maintain a solid relationship with your customers, it’s good to support transparency and optimization.
Especially as a small business, you can’t afford to waste time and money on inefficiencies in your delivery chain. Truck tracking can help you reduce unnecessary expenses and streamline deliveries.
How do I install truck tracking devices?
Large commercial semi-trucks often have an internal device installed for tracking purposes. This could be an onboard computer of some sort with GPS capabilities or another ELD that stores information until after the route is completed. The important part is confirming that the software used by your ELD is compatible with your internal company routing and analytics software.
Does GPS tracking account for real-world changes?
The features of your software will depend on the specific application you purchase. Some GPS software may be capable of communicating when the truck is moving slowly due to traffic or other obstacles. ELDs can also track time stopped and average speed throughout a delivery. For the most part, these tracking systems can record real-world changes as they happen, but they do not factor in the changes ahead of time to alter the route.
However, information from an ELD or GPS tracking system can be used to inform route mapping software. When a truck returns, the delivery report will be input into the company’s database. Depending on the data collected, a good routing software may recognize which areas are slow-moving at which times and plan around them. In this way, truck tracking can help your company adjust to real-world changes.
Syntelic Software for Trucking Companies
Here at Syntelic, we do not make our own in-cab devices. However, we do work with ELD data once it is returned to the system. ELD providers are typically responsible for giving real-time updates on where drivers must go and when they are expected to reach their destination.
While the route is conducted, we retrieve all of that information from the ELD and use it to inform future route planning and optimization. We also use ELD data to create reports with our Transportation Analytics software.
Regardless of whether your company uses truck tracking software, Syntelic can help you optimize your delivery operations from warehouse to client. Our products offer increased visibility and insight into supply chain management. We can help you spot inefficiencies, address them, and give you the tools to make significant additional improvements.
If you are interested in the potential benefits Syntelic could offer your company, reach out to our customer service team for more information.