Vehicle tracking is becoming a critical operational tool for many fleets according to the Ctrack Vehicle Tracking Survey, with more than 70% of those utilising the technology having used it for more than four years.
In fact, vehicle operators are achieving a range of measurable cost efficiencies using tracking systems including average reductions of fuel usage by 8.6% overtime claims by 15.3% and communications overheads by 13.3%.
The survey, conducted amongst 250 fleet decision makers and influencers within the UK, found that there is considerably greater use of vehicle tracking for vans (82% of those respondents utilise the technology), and to a lesser extent heavy goods vehicles (53%), than cars (34%). Elsewhere, there still remains a low level of uptake for unpowered assets such as trailers (4%) and plant (7%).
When asked about the primary purpose for vehicle tracking more than a third of the respondents using the technology stated productivity was the main reason, whilst cost reduction, asset management and customer service made up almost half of the answers.
However, it seems that fleets are achieving multiple benefits from their tracking system including reduced costs (70%); increased productivity (59%); added understanding of driver behaviour (47%); increased security (46%); improved customer service (43%); proof of delivery or completion of work (43%); enhanced workflow management (42%); and improved duty of care (33%).
The findings also suggest that advances in the functionality of web-based tools combined with the affordability of this type of system, when compared to server-based solutions, has meant that they now account for more than half of all active tracking systems. A further 25% of tracking solutions now use a combination of server-and web-based systems, often to achieve added flexibility and support multi-user requirements.
Meanwhile, it seems that fleet operators are increasingly combining their tracking solutions with in-vehicle tools to maximise the operational performance of the system. In particular, integrated satellite navigation is now used in 53% of all tracking systems to support improved routing, reduced mileage and enhanced workflow, whilst Driver Identification (24%), handheld PDAs or terminals (7%) and panic alarms (7%) are also being utilised to a lesser extent.
In addition, many companies are integrating their vehicle tracking with other back office management systems in order to streamline their operations and automate internal processes such as fleet (37%), workflow (33%) and routing and scheduling (37%).
Amongst those respondents not using vehicle tracking within their fleet operation, 64% had previously considered using the technology and 51% believed that it could benefit their business. This split in the perceived value of vehicle tracking is further underlined by the expected timescale for the adoption of the technology.
Almost 45% of these respondents thought they would implement a tracking solution within two years, whilst just under 50% had no plans to do so in the next five years.
When asked about the reputation of the vehicle tracking industry 70% of all respondents thought it was good. Despite this seemingly positive perception, more than 40% of those not using tracking technology disagreed and believed the sector overall has a poor image. The main reasons for this was the financial viability of providers (34%), reliability (25%), overselling (21%) and credibility of technology (18%).
Stephen Rapicano, Managing Director at Ctrack commented: “Fuel costs and pressures to reduce operational overheads are currently the key challenges for a large number of fleet operators, with many now using vehicle tracking to help overcome these issues. This year’s Vehicle Tracking Survey shows that businesses can achieve measurable benefits in terms of fleet performance, service and legislative compliance.”
The Ctrack Vehicle Tracking Survey 2011 was conducted amongst 250 fleet influencers and decision makers within the UK who are responsible for car, van, truck or mixed fleet operations. The survey is designed to provide insight into the uptake of vehicle tracking amongst UK-based businesses, how the technology is being used, what benefits are being achieved and what barriers are preventing more companies adopting a vehicle tracking solution.