It’s no secret: business fleets guzzle a lot of fuel and grind out nasty emissions – carbon dioxide (CO2), particulate matter (PM), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and nitrogen oxides (NOx) being the key culprits. And given that, in 2018, a chunky 27% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions came from the transport sector, it can feel as though managing a fleet of vehicles and being environmentally friendly are mutually exclusive.
Actually, that’s not the case. While you may run a fleet of fossil fuel-eating, carbon-spewing petrol or diesel vehicles, it’s possible to drastically cut the amount of fuel they use, and the volume of emissions they, well, emit – by using a GPS vehicle tracking system.
Comprised of GPS tracking hardware that records vehicle data (such as location, speed, condition, and more) and software that collates and displays this data, these systems can give an insight into your fleet’s activity that you simply wouldn’t have otherwise.
So, how can this insight help you to boost your fleet’s environmental credentials? Well, there are five key ways…
1. Optimise your journeys
Whether you manage taxis that ferry customers about, HGVs that haul goods cross-country, vans that deliver online orders to doorsteps, or something else – these journeys are the lifeblood of your business. Doesn’t it make sense to maximise their potential?
This is where vehicle tracking systems come in – and with one feature in particular: advanced route planning. While there’s an enormous variety of excellent vehicle tracking companies out there – and they don’t all offer the same features – you’ll find that the majority offer some form of live route planning.
Using this powerful tool, you’ll be able to identify the most fuel-efficient route for a job, dispatch the closest available driver with the click of a button (meaning they won’t need to use lots of fuel to get to the job’s starting point), and avoid traffic and roadworks that would otherwise have them crawling along the road, churning out noxious emissions as they go. As a result, your business will be using fuel more efficiently – that is to say, completing more jobs despite spending less time out on the road. That’s a win-win all round!
2. Promote cleaner driving
Driver monitoring – as Big Brother-esque as it may sound – is another key vehicle tracking feature that can prove incredibly valuable. Many vehicle tracking devices are able to tell when a vehicle is accelerating too quickly, braking too harshly, speeding, or idling excessively – all wasteful practices that burn through fuel unnecessarily.
With this revealing information in hand, you’ll have the knowledge (and evidence!) you need to approach any troublesome drivers, and ask them to work at dropping the bad habits. If they need a helping hand, you’ll have the insight you need to book them onto a suitable training course.
Some vehicle tracking systems even introduce an element of competition, giving your drivers scores and ordering them on a leaderboard based on how safely and cleanly they drive. This, in particular, is great for encouraging greener driving behaviour – after all, who can resist a bit of competition?
3. Keep your vehicles in peak condition
Poorly maintained vehicles release more emissions and gobble more fuel than they would if they were in top working order. To ensure your vehicles are as environmentally clean as possible, you’ll need to keep on top of maintenance and have them serviced regularly. A little goes a long way – according to the RAC, you can improve fuel consumption by 2% simply by keeping your vehicles’ tyres pumped up to the right pressure.
If remembering when to service which, and how, sounds like too much hard work, you’re in luck. Lots of vehicle tracking systems feature preventative maintenance schedules, which keep a calendar of service dates and alert you when one is coming up. You’ll also be able to see a record of previous services and their costs so you’re 100% in the loop. Plus, if any mechanical problems rear their ugly heads in the meantime, you can use the system to make note of the issue and plan in a fix. Easy peasy!
4. Go paperless
The country may have eschewed plastic straws in favour of their paper counterparts, but that doesn’t mean we should be using paper excessively either. Historically, fleet businesses have been some of the worst offenders for paperwork mania – there were logbooks, vehicle inspection reports, proof of work forms, delivery documents… the list goes on.
Fortunately for the planet (and for your poor overworked printer), many vehicle tracking systems now record and store the breadth of documents needed for each job electronically, saving you (and your drivers) space and time, slashing the volume of paper you use, and – just as importantly – ensuring your records are accurate, and don’t get lost or damaged.
5. Adopt alternatively-fuelled vehicles
With the UK government currently deciding whether to bring its ban on new diesel and petrol vehicles forward to 2035, if you haven’t started to think about alternative vehicles yet… well, we’re sorry to say you’re a little behind the curve.
Thankfully, vehicle tracking providers have also sniffed change in the air. Innovative players such as Geotab, FleetCarma, and more have developed solutions that are geared towards helping cleaner, alternatively-fuelled fleets thrive on the road.
Electric vehicle (EV) management in particular is getting an overhaul. So-called ‘charge anxiety’ and ‘range anxiety’ (worries over how scarce charge points are and how far an EV can travel on a single charge) are being addressed, with new digital charge point maps and battery status reporting. Watch this space!
What else can vehicle tracking do?
Vehicle tracking isn’t just better for the environment – it’s also good for your customers, your wallet, and your productivity.
Crucially, with GPS tracking, you’ll be able to keep tabs on where your vehicles are at all times. This will enable you to quickly recover them from accidents, breakdowns, and even theft, reducing vehicle downtime. In addition, many systems will send geofence alerts: real-time notifications that ping when a vehicle crosses any boundaries you’ve set. So, you’ll know immediately if one of your prized assets is taken somewhere it shouldn’t go.
Similarly, vehicle tracking also empowers you to provide accurate ETAs to customers and clients, and send updates when something changes. Knowing exactly when to expect your driver can save your customers a real headache – and boost your business’ rep as a communicative, customer-focused service.
Finally, installing a vehicle tracking system can help you to secure cheaper insurance premiums. A handful of UK insurers will offer you a discount outright simply because you have a vehicle tracking system in place, while all will appreciate the fact that your vehicles are better protected against theft. You’ll come across as a more attractive customer, and so it’s more than likely you’ll be offered a good deal.
So what’s next?
As we’ve explored, vehicle tracking comes with more benefits than you can shake a stick at – with some major strides towards eco-friendliness among them. Paying for vehicle tracking certainly comes at a decent cost, but the return on your investment can be huge, for both you and our beleaguered planet. So why not investigate vehicle tracking options today? Good luck!
Julia is the Content Manager at Expert Market, a leading b2b publication that empowers businesses to grow and succeed. Having spent years immersed in the world of startup entrepreneurship, she now specialises in business energy, vehicle tracking, and fuel cards, helping businesses to optimise their operations.