June 25 2021 12:18 AM

GPS tracking helps with fleet productivity during the pandemic.

Even with vaccines being introduced, as the pandemic continues, landscape business owners and fleet managers still need to manage their fleets without risking possible exposure to themselves or others.

New technology offerings like a real-time GPS vehicle tracking system via a smartphone, tablet or PC, in addition to email and Zoom meetings, allows them to socially distance as well as dynamically manage their fleets and work crews throughout the day without missing a beat.

A GPS tracking system can facilitate social distancing and virtually eliminate the need for routine personal interaction, while ensuring that drivers and work crews stay on task.

When logistics during the pandemic require it, emergencies occur or work must be handled by the nearest qualified, available technician, such a system can be very advantageous. With real-time GPS vehicle tracking, landscape managers can see which technicians they have across the area, including who is nearest and who is experienced and properly qualified for the job. And by accessing real-time traffic data in the software, they can identify who is easiest to send to that location as well.

Dispatches can be made throughout the day and sent directly to the driver’s phone to tell the work crew the next job site address. Once they complete the job, it is recorded in the system, so the owner or fleet manager can stay apprised. In that way, it can serve as a remote time sheet.

Enhance efficiency and safety

During the pandemic or any period when a quick response is required, advanced GPS tracking systems can also improve efficiencies on more established routes.

For example, because the GPS system is automated, travel reports can be generated that analyze vital historical data, such as on-time pick-ups or drop-offs, and they can also be emailed without anyone having to open software. The reports can be customized to include as much detail as needed, such as how many stops, how long per location, top speed, mileage, idle times of the day, etc. Identifying and implementing more efficient routing and performance, in turn, enables individual drivers and the fleet as a whole to accomplish more in less time.

When landscape owners and fleet managers are busy dealing with logistical challenges, a system like this can also help individual drivers to drive more safely and take greater responsibility for their own conduct without the need to micromanage. A maximum vehicle speed can be set and drivers informed of this. The system will then track their vehicle speed and compare this with the speed limit in its national database, with exceptions automatically emailed to the driver and fleet manager in a report, if desired.

In addition, implementing real-time GPS tracking can increase driver accountability by making them less inclined to take unauthorized excursions, such as personal errands, when not on a job. This can help to minimize unnecessary vehicle mileage, fuel use, and wear and tear. GPS tracking can also be used to recognize and reward consistent timely employee response to a job.

For landscapers, the bottom line is that today’s advanced GPS tracking systems can help to keep everyone as socially distanced from each other as possible, while still enabling optimal vehicle and crew management for work productivity.

Del Williams is a technical writer for Advanced Tracking Technologies, a Houston-based designer and manufacturer of real-time GPS tracking solutions.