Tracking Systems & Fleet Management
QY Research Reports notes that a fleet management system (FMS) is formed by the integration of hardware, software, and communication technologies. As a platform to fleet operators to efficiently control, track and monitor commercial vehicles, they improve the overall operational efficiency by reducing non-value-added activities of operators. Fuel cards also form part of this as it tracks fuel management and driver safety systems monitor driver behaviour. Solutions for location or tracking of vehicles, driver navigation assistance and ensuring that operators meet the regulatory standards set by national governments are also used.
Tighter integration with mobile phones into vehicles, beyond connecting hands-free will exist. Mobile devices can sync key vehicle data such as mileage, health checks, and performance for use in information applications. Mobile devices are seen as the sole way that drivers will handle their fleet tasks. Big data will drive decisions for all aspects of fleet management – this will include vehicle selection, maintenance management, and driver safety planning. With continued use of fleet analytics and accessibility to larger amounts of data, fleets will become more efficient, operate with fewer resources, and show an increase in productivity.
What can Fleet Management do for you?
According to Dovetail, fleet management systems will not only allow you to keep track of your vehicles but also help businesses keep in line with all regulatory and road safety requirements. Road freight and transport is one of the biggest contributors to the South African economy and sadly also the largest contributor to road accidents. During the past five years, South African roads have seen a steady increase in the number of vehicles on the road (3.3% increase) and newly acquired driver licenses at an average of 4.7% per annum.
Fleet management systems however cannot stem the tide of road accidents but a well-structured fleet management system can assist businesses in reducing incidents which in turn will have a follow-on effect to help stem the tide of accidents in general. While this view is great for the situation on South Africa and African roads, the benefit of a FMS is far closer to home and that is to reduce the amount of downtime on a fleet.
A decent FMS will be able to track the wear and tear on a vehicle and allow you to attend to it before it becomes a problem. Not only improving on your delivery service record, your vehicles will be in good nick all the time. A good FMS could possibly also lead to reduced operational costs (service, maintenance, wear and tear, insurance, fuel consumption). Dovetail notes that ‘Implementing a Fleet Management System means that the driver, the vehicle and the environment are brought together in a holistic strategy irrespective of the size of the company’s fleet’. Even though the initial cost is a major investment, the cost-benefit analysis will always weigh in favour of telematics as it provides for comprehensive desk top real time monitoring of fleets.
Berg Insight is of the opinion that despite South Africa’s current weak economic performance, they see the market for FMS as in a growth period which will continue for a couple of years still. The FM systems in active use is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14% from 1.3 million units at the end of 2017 to 2.5 million in 2022. Non-privately owned fleet vehicles used by businesses is estimated to increase from 28.6 percent in 2017 to 49.8 percent in 2022.
The South African telematics market is relatively mature and the penetration is comparably high from an international perspective. The largest share of the installed fleet telematics systems on the South African market is represented by comparably low-end tracking systems, e.g. light FM solutions, including SVR systems extended with basic FM features.
Five domestic players with broad telematics portfolios dominate the FMS market in South Africa. Cartrack and MiX Telematics are ranked as the largest fleet management solutions in South Africa by Berg Insights. Both the aforementioned companies have an estimated installed FMS base of more than 200,000 active units in the country. After these Tracker comes into play which, in addition to its in-house solutions also market FM systems powered by TomTom Telematics (TomTom Business Solutions has been rated the fastest growing vendor worldwide). The tail end of the top 5 players are made up by Netstar and Ctrack of which both have active installed units of 100,000 plus in South Africa.
Further to the top 5, additional domestic aftermarket players include Digit Vehicle Tracking (Digicell), GPS Tracking Solutions (Eqstra Fleet Management/enX Group), Autotrak and PFK Electronics. Other than TomTom Telematics, renowned international solutions vendors active on the market include Gurtam, Pointer Telocation and Geotab. However, none of these players have generally achieved any top-ranking market shares in the South African fleet management market to date. Commercial vehicle OEM’s such as Scania, Daimler, MAN and Volvo Group have all introduced fleet telematics solutions in South Africa, but the adoption levels generally have remained relatively modest.
According to ‘Drive Alive’ tracking technology has evolved from the developments in personal computers, mobile phones, the GPS Global Positioning System and the Internet into what is now described as “vehicle telematics”. Vehicle tracking is also described as ‘Passive’ and ‘Active’.
"Passive" devices store GPS location, speed, heading and sometimes a trigger event such as key on/off, door open/closed. Once the vehicle returns to a predetermined point, the device is removed and the data downloaded to a computer for evaluation.
"Active" devices also collect the same information but usually transmit the data in real-time via cellular or satellite networks to a computer or data centre for evaluation.
Advantages of Effective Road Risk Strategies by Fleet Managers
Vehicle tracking technology has become an important requirement for effective fleet management and improving the safety of company drivers.
The advantages of a responsible road risk strategy include the following:
Effective control over costs such as insurance premiums, fuel bills and repair costs.
Ability to make informed decisions about purchasing vehicles and training drivers.
Less time on paperwork, lowered vehicle repair and maintenance bills
Reduced likelihood of an employee being involved in an accident.
Reduced running costs with employees driving more professionally and efficiently.
Drivers less fatigued and healthy
Objectives of Fleet Safety Initiatives
Vehicle accident prevention
Accident investigation /analysis and reporting
Improved safety on the road
Driver education and driver alertness
A tracking system will vary in pricing dependent on who you get it from, whether it is an active or passive system, if it is private or company use and whether it is a fleet or not. Pricing will also be determined on which features you would like to have included in your tracking system.
Pricing on private systems can range from a cash price of R495.00 for the system up to and over R5,000.00. Most persons installing the systems will take out a contract with their tracking company and could pay from as little as R99.00 per month up to or over R500.00 per month – again this would depend on whether you have an active or passive system and what benefits are included in your tracking system.
Fleet management tracking systems will depend on what features you would like your system to have and pricing is based on individual requirements, fleet size, etc. A 36-month contract could set a company back as little R1,699.00 per vehicle and a monthly fee of R119.00 per month or it could be as high or even higher as R3,299.00 per vehicle and a monthly fee of R229.00 per vehicle per month over a 36-month period.
As a company you would need to decide what features you would like included and what value you would want the system to bring to your company.