Ten Steps to Rolling Out a Fleet Tracking Solution
Congratulations! You’ve made the decision to invest in a fleet tracking solution. As you no doubt understand, there are many great benefits to using a fleet tracking platform to keep track of truck location, driver performance, maintenance intervals, and emergency issues. Now comes the hard—but extremely rewarding—task of bringing those benefits to your fleet.
The steps below can help cut the enormous task down to size. Your goal should be to get fleet tracking software working for you as an indispensable member of your team.
1. Get a Plan.
Before choosing a solution, you need a solid plan. Decide on goals. Set a timeline for implementation. Make sure you have a budget set aside to not only cover the initial investment, but training and testing time as well.
There are many great benefits to using a fleet tracking platform to keep track of truck location, driver performance, maintenance intervals, and emergency issues.
New GPS-based fleet tracking solutions collect far more data than you’re likely to use. As part of your planning process, you’ll need to decide what data is most important to track. Don’t get distracted by the whiz-bang “nice to haves”. Concentrate on the info critical to your business success.
2. Decide on Data.
3. Go Shopping.
Once you have a plan, a budget, and a set of priorities in mind, it’s time to find the right solution among many currently on the market. Note that deciding on a vendor should happen only after you’ve solidified your plans. This will prevent hunting down problems to match solutions, as often happens in the world of software.
4. Train Your Team.
It’s not just end-users who will need education on the chosen solution. Management will need to know how to interpret the data being collected, and how using the fleet tracking platform will change their jobs. Drivers will appreciate transparent communication about what data the GPS system collects, and driver-specific training sessions focused on how the system will improve their work day can further ease the transition. In addition, your accounting, incident response, and maintenance teams will need to know how the solution will affect what they do. Set policies that incorporate the tracking solution.
5. Convince Your Team.
Drivers have resisted fleet tracking solutions as invasions of privacy and insulting suggestions they aren’t “trusted” to get the job done. Your challenge as a leader is to convince your drivers of the benefits of a tracking solution. Telling them paperwork is a thing of the past is a good conversation-starter. It might also help to offer prizes for improvements in efficiency and safety profiles. This is the “PR” part of the rollout essential for compliance and optimum success.
6. Rollout, But Slowly.
It’s almost never a good idea to rollout a major change all at once. You’ll need a staged rollout. Drivers will need a chance to use the system in real but limited scenarios. Dataflows will need to be validated as they touch each individual department. Be patient through this phase. Time is money, and you’ll be spending both time and money as you make sure your tracking solution has what it takes to improve your business.
7. Pick Your Place.
Your “go live” date should encompass only a limited part of your route network. A single route might be your test-case. Budget the time and money needed to make sure this limited “soft-launch” is a success. Everyone from drivers to executives should be raving at how much easier life is thanks to the tracking solution. Success at this stage ensures success during a more general rollout later.
Everyone from drivers to executives should be raving at how much easier life is thanks to the tracking solution.
While your rollout is happening, have regular checkpoints with all stakeholders. Listen for feedback. Keep your vendor engaged to answer questions and make modifications. Be ready to alter your plan when you find you’re getting too much or not enough information.
9. Let Customers Know.
Use of fleet tracking software has become an expectation in the marketplace. Some fleets have let their customers in on the process to show they’re committed to improving service and have truly joined the 21st century. Consider putting together a general announcement or regular blog posts to let your customers know your progress. Be ready for questions from customers on how they can leverage the system themselves.
And Finally . . .
10. Constantly Improve.
With your whole fleet on tracking software, you can pat yourself on the back. You made it. Now, the real work begins. You’ll need to analyze and incorporate the new data into everything about how your company runs, and feed it back into the processes you manage. That’s where the real benefits of a fleet tracking platform start to kick in. It’s a tool for continuous improvement.