Kevin Aries, Product Management Leader, Verizon Connect
Unlike private sector fleets, which exist at the discretion of the companies that own them, public and government fleets must perform as an essential component of operations for cities and states. And the sheer volume of vehicles required to serve a vast number of citizens means that, though they experience many of the same issues as private fleets, the challenges that public fleets face tend to be amplified and more time sensitive.
From finding fleet funding and streamlining fuel costs to grappling with vehicle utilization and maintenance, public fleets are often forced to find innovative ways to stretch thinning budgets and do more with limited resources. This is where investing in GPS technology comes in, and these are 6 of the biggest benefits public fleets can realize from the use of the right solution.
1. Better utilization tracking
Accurately measuring vehicle utilization is an effective way for government fleets to stay on top of spending and demonstrate that public dollars are being well spent. But optimizing fleet utilization requires a detailed analysis of vehicle use at the individual vehicle level, which can be challenging and time-consuming without the aid of the right technology.
Using a GPS tracking solution helps government fleet managers and operators get a more accurate utilization picture in a timelier manner. In addition, it helps them to know where and how vehicles are being used to make better-informed decisions to “right-size” their fleet, whether that means redeploying vehicles, selling underused vehicles or deciding that more vehicles are needed.
2. Resource maximization
The reality for the government and public sector is that fleets are really a cost center, not a profit center, making them necessary but not popular in terms of garnering financial support. That’s why making the most of the scant dollars they do have is so important, from streamlining technician training to improving vehicle maintenance procedures to stave off costly repairs.
Telematics technology plays an important role in this balancing act, helping fleets be proactive rather than reactive when it comes ensuring the longevity of every vehicle, regardless of its age. With modern technology solutions, public fleets can stay ahead of preventative maintenance to reduce vehicle downtime. Fleet managers and operators can receive alerts when maintenance is due, as well as glean insight into vehicle diagnostics (odometer mileage, engine miles and diagnostic codes) for advanced warning of unscheduled repairs or parts failures to prevent bigger issues down the line.
3. Streamlined emergency responses
Public and government fleets must be at the ready to respond to an emergency anytime, anywhere. GPS tracking technology can help streamline how and when fleets plan and organize resource allocation.
For example, Verizon Connect Share (included with Fleet Enterprise Edition) allows you to offer other shared response coordinators secure access to monitor mutual aids and third-party assets and mobile workers, giving them accurate ETAs and site arrival confirmation. In addition, up-to-the-minute weather and GIS data provides crucial information for planning and execution during a crisis management situation, including more efficient routing or the appropriate diversion of fleet vehicles.
4. “Being green” made easier
Public fleets face greater pressures than private fleets to operate in an environmentally responsible manner, yet because they’re publicly funded they are challenged to get creative when it comes to “going green.”
GPS tracking technology affords public and government fleets intuitive reporting tools that can help operators monitor and reduce greenhouse gas production by keeping close tabs on vehicle usage data (including idling, speeding, fuel consumption and unauthorized use) to quickly correct problem behaviors and work towards improved emissions.
5. Boosting safer driving habits and asset security
With budgets tight and high maintenance costs, enforcing safer driving behavior and maintaining vehicle security are top priorities for public fleets. GPS tracking technology offers 24/7 monitoring of vehicles and assets to help manage harsh and dangerous driving, unauthorized use of vehicles and deviations from standard procedure. Fleet managers also can set up early warning systems to prevent accidents and receive alerts if a breakdown occurs.
And with always-on fleet tracking, managers can effectively mitigate liability claims by gaining access to data to verify vehicle location and speed. Managers can help enhance safe driving behaviors by leveraging telematics data to coach drivers on specific behaviors based on reports for vehicle speed and harsh driving events, increasing the effectiveness of your training.
6. Faster onboarding of new operators
Private maintenance facilities often offer larger salaries and are attracting much of the skilled talent in a rapidly-dwindling technician pool. Government fleets must remain competitive with the private sector both in compensation and training. In addition, retiring baby boomers and a shortage of new talent are leading to considerable knowledge loss. Combine that with the fact that incoming technicians and operators have grown up with, and are more familiar with operating, digital tech, and you get the perfect storm we find ourselves in today. GPS tracking solutions can help public fleets attract more talent, train employees more quickly and facilitate greater knowledge sharing among operators of all generations.