Third party GPS vehicle tracking services can meet security, business and fleet management needs. Applications can range from trucks on the road to security officers on patrol on sprawling facilities. The key to GPS – it tracks both the people as well as the assets carried by the vehicle.

If chief security officers ever considered global positioning system (GPS) vehicle tracking, chances are these executives either thought of, or heard, some of these common objections. They’re all based on reasonable assumptions -- but, the actual experience users have had with this technology tells a much different, and more encouraging, story.

The responses that follow each “myth” listed below are all based on exactly that: actual user experience, drawing from data provided to Security Magazine and collected by Rod Whisner of Navtrak as well as independent, third-party field research.

We Don’t Need GPS Tracking Because We Trust our People.

GPS tracking is not about monitoring employees’ every move – it’s about increasing safety and security while reducing operating costs and inefficiencies in the field in order to grow the business. A healthy, thriving business is good news for everybody involved. GPS tracking systems have been proven to reduce fuel and maintenance costs, increase the efficiency of routing and dispatching, provide safety and security for drivers and increase the speed and accuracy of your responses to customer questions.

All of our People Are Going to Quit If We Get GPS Tracking.

According to use and experience, this is simply not true. In fact, once security officers or field workers gain some experience with this type of solution, they very often come to depend on it – for routing information, roadside assistance, verification of work performed on time, etc. And in many cases, GPS tracking eliminates time-consuming paperwork and provides additional security for both workers and cargo while on the road. These and many other driver-specific benefits are overlooked all too often when the decision to purchase GPS tracking service is being considered.

“Our guys have adapted very well to the system. We didn’t have anybody leave, and now the drivers are starting to realize the benefits of the system for them,” said Clay Phillips, president, Ross & Witmer HVAC.

GPS Tracking Systems Are Complicated to Install and Complicated to Use.

Most fleet tracking systems are comprised of the same basic components: a GPS receiver installed within each vehicle, and some kind of software operating on PCs that organizes and displays the information gathered. Both installation and use of these systems are actually fairly simple – but may seem complicated to those unfamiliar with the technology. This is why security’s relationship with a GPS tracking provider is always much more important than the tools they provide. A reputable, experienced GPS tracking vendor will:
  • Work to make the implementation of their fleet management solution as seamless as possible within an organization;

  • Provide guidance to interpret the data received and apply it to improve the efficiency of field operations; and

  • Provide knowledgeable, accessible technical and sales support to cover any service issues that may arise.

GPS Tracking Is Unnecessary – I Can Keep Track of My Fleet Well Enough Using Cell Phones/Handhelds.

Though useful as communication tools, cell phones/handhelds cannot provide the kind of information that’s really useful to security and fleet managers: real-time vehicle location, engine status, history of stops and stop times and other metrics security and the business needs, such as mileage, fuel consumption or speeding patterns.

In fact, cell phones and handhelds have proven to be an inefficient way of managing a mobile workforce because they can so easily be turned off, left at home or somewhere else, dropped/damaged, etc. And when they are functioning correctly, they are usually with a person, so the security or fleet manager ends up tracking people rather than mobile assets.

“With the handheld GPS cell phones, we were not able to track vehicles. We had some instances where employees would just simply turn the phones off. If the phone is turned off, you can’t track the trucks. The system becomes totally ineffective,” pointed out John Boucher, founder and owner, Boucher Real Estate Co.

All GPS Tracking Systems Are Essentially Equal – You Experience the Same Benefits Regardless of Who’s Providing the Data.

“If you can tell me where all of my vehicles are at any moment and can give me information about their daily activities, that’s good enough for me.” That sounds reasonable enough on the surface -- but the security- and business-enhancing potential of fleet management goes well beyond tracking dots on a map. The reality is that most users of GPS tracking services don’t realize the full impact the information can have upon their organization until after they start using the system on a regular basis. This is precisely why the choice of GPS tracking providers is so important: Many are content to set up basic GPS tracking capabilities, but don’t commit to helping leverage this powerful technology to transform the way an enterprise does business in both the short and long term.

There is an element of truth to this myth, in that the technology is not the most important criteria for choosing a GPS tracking service provider. Experienced users know, and will testify, that a relationship with that provider over the course of the service contractor is where the value truly lies.

A GPS Tracking System Is Another Product I Can Buy to Help Make My Business More Productive.

This common myth uncovers a widely-held misunderstanding about GPS tracking technology. GPS tracking should not be viewed as a product, as if it were an accessory. Rather, GPS tracking is a subscription service – delivering information that security or fleet management lacks the means to collect, but know would greatly help to increase the overall security, productivity and profitability of your business. All GPS tracking vendors will require a service agreement, typically for 3-4 years. So the question becomes, which vendor will I trust to help me to manage my valuable mobile assets for the next several years? Service is the crucial factor when it comes to effective GPS fleet tracking.

My Company Can’t Afford a GPS Tracking System.

This is an understandable concern, since GPS tracking systems do indeed typically require an investment in hardware for each vehicle and in some kind of mapping/reporting application for use in the office. However, these systems have been proven to identify those inefficiencies and practices in the field that are already costing hundreds, or even thousands of dollars every month – excess overtime, inefficient routing, side trips, excess engine idling, reckless driving, security incidents, etc. The money the enterprise ends up paying for these inefficiencies in most cases far exceeds the monthly investment required for a GPS tracking service.

GPS Tracking Is an Unproven Technology.

GPS technology itself (the ability to locate and track objects at any time and in real-time using satellites and wireless communications) has been effectively used for many decades.

The core technology is becoming prevalent even in the consumer market now, with GPS navigation brands such as Garmin and TomTom escalating in popularity. As far as its application to commercial enterprises goes, the effectiveness of GPS fleet management systems in terms of increasing productivity and reducing loss and operational costs has been well-documented by reputable third-party sources.

GPS tracking systems can provide vehicle status reports as well as screen displays from various geographic locations. Photo courtesy of Navtrak

Our Company Is So Busy, We’d Never Use a GPS Tracking System.

Actually, a GPS tracking system makes perfect sense for a busy mobile operation, since it helps to better manage fleet activities and presents a clear picture of all that is going on in the field at any given time. The busier a mobile operation is, the more critical it is to have accurate information from the field -- to ensure that money is not being wasted, work is being done on time, workers and assets are protected and customers are being served effectively. Business managers know that high work volume and tight time frames can lead to chaos if jobs aren’t being effectively scheduled and kept track of. A GPS tracking system is an extremely effective tool to help do that, especially when combined with work order tracking, remote data capture and other mobile field service capabilities.

Status displays can also include current vehicle speed to meet enterprise rules as well as enforce security and life safety needs. Photo courtesy of Navtrak

GPS Tracking Doesn’t Make Sense for a Small Company.

Any business with multiple vehicles to keep track of – whether four or 40 or 400 – will benefit from having access to accurate, real-time information from the field. Security and fleet management needs to know where they are now, where they’ve been and what they’re doing. GPS systems tend to pay for themselves quickly due to savings in operational costs and improved efficiency leading to additional jobs completed per day. And businesses that take advantage of this technology usually experience growth, because of the increased revenue gained and the positive word-of-mouth generated by the rapid customer response real-time information affords. Whether managing a handful of security officers or a fleet of hundreds of delivery trucks, real-time, location-based information will help make the most of field operations and take business to another level.