As a fleet management professional for an HVAC or plumbing business, you are familiar with GPS tracking software by now and may even already be sold on the benefits it can offer. Now, you need to pitch the need for the software to your peers or upper management.
How do you build the business case for GPS tracking? This article will outline the best way to collect data, present your findings, and convince your team to adopt GPS tracking to improve business operations.
Identifying the problem areas for your business
What are the business issues you are having that center around your fleet? Many of you aren’t quite sure and certainly don’t know the details.
• Do you know the cost of excessive idling for your business?
• Do you know which of your drivers are the safest or pose the most risk?
• Do you know the average time spent at each customer location?
• Do you know how many unnecessary miles are driven in a day/week/month?
• How well do you keep up with vehicle maintenance?
In a recent webinar sponsored by GPS Insight, 97 percent of respondents to a poll, consisting of fleet executives across many industries, said they do not know the answers to those questions. Most fleet management professionals do not have insight and analytics into mobile workforce operations outside of what they physically see or hear about. The point is that you should want these answers and you already know that GPS technology is available to help you and your management team gather this information and take action, so get started.
The way to build your business case is to conduct a pilot, or proof of concept, with a GPS tracking software. Start by making a list of the problem areas for your vehicles as well as the areas that you believe could use improvement, and focus on these areas during the trial. You will most likely find that the technology will help solve these business challenges and also help tackle other issues you weren’t aware of.
How to gather data to make your case
In the beginning of the trial, establish metrics for what you wish to measure. For example, if fuel consumption/cost is a problem area for you, measure idle time/run-time, unauthorized usage, routes taken, and fuel transactions. Translate that information into dollars and cents.
Many businesses choose to run a blind trial, meaning they do not mention installing the GPS devices to their employees and monitor fleet operations for 15 days to gather a baseline of data. Of course, you don’t want to use the information from the first half of the trial to punish any employees. Knowing where you currently stand is simply what you need to see how much room for improvement you have.
After the first 15 days, tell your employees that you are testing out GPS tracking and put some policies and expectations in place. Measure the difference in the data for another 15 days to see how much GPS tracking helps improve your fleet operations. Running a pilot will give you more than enough data to back up your claims to your peers or upper management as definitive proof for why you need GPS tracking.
Proposing GPS tracking to your peers or upper management
Sometimes the case may be that upper management tasked you with finding a GPS tracking solution. So, it’s not so much about proposing the benefits of the technology to them as it is which company to go with. Most of the time though, there are stakeholders or other decision makers that don’t have this GPS tracking software on their radar, so you will have to pitch it to them.
Most executives will initially just see GPS tracking software as an expense, when in actuality it is quite the opposite. When you have to present your findings to peers or even upper management, you need to show them the many benefits, dollar savings, and ROI that you found from the trial.
Work with your representative from the GPS tracking company to put together a presentation that covers the important data. Include the problems you discovered and improvements made during the pilot that compares your baseline metrics to your results. Also, present your goals for further improvement and expected ROI from using GPS tracking. Once this information is presented, there shouldn’t be much debate as to whether or not your business needs this technology.
Choosing the best GPS tracking solution for your business
Once you have presented the need and have approval to move forward with a GPS tracking project, you need to decide which provider to go with. Be aware that there are many GPS tracking companies on the market, and they are not all created equal.
Here is a list of the top five criteria the GPS tracking provider you select must have.
Delivers most ROI
In order to get the most from a GPS tracking investment, you need to choose the solution that will deliver the highest return on that investment. Instead of only looking at the price tag, it is important to consider how much the solution will reduce your fleet costs. Only those that are highly configurable and that analyze the widest range of fleet metrics allow managers to comprehensively measure and manage their fleet operations. You don’t want to limit your potential savings by selecting a solution solely on price.
Quality customer service
Be sure to select a company with superior customer service. You will want an experienced and friendly US-based support team that will walk you through any issues you have with installations, troubleshooting, and software training. This is also something you should have available to you 24/7/365. It is important that they can not only resolve your issue, but resolve it on the first call. A quality customer service and support team will save you from many headaches you will otherwise have.
Ease of use
Take the time to make sure the solution you choose is easy to use. Compare it to other solutions on the market to help make the best decision. The last thing you want is to select software that is not intuitive and confusing. No one will use it, and you will have wasted your money. When it is easy to use, it takes less effort to get everyone trained and on board to achieving your GPS tracking goals.
Customizable to your needs
Many GPS tracking software platforms are “what you see is what you get” products. Make sure that the application chosen can be highly configurable so that you have access to the information you need, when you need it, the way you want to see it. Otherwise, the information won’t be useful and you won’t see as much ROI as you could. Every fleet is different, so one size definitely does not fit all.
This is the age of interconnected technology. Many companies need their accounting, dispatch, and customer service systems to exchange information. Today, GPS tracking solutions must be able to integrate with those systems as well. Make sure the solution you choose will easily integrate into your back office systems.
Ryan Driscoll has served as Marketing Director for GPS Insight since 2009. GPS Insight is a fleet tracking software. Visit www.gpsinsight.com.