Trucks are expensive and a valuable asset for your company. Making sure they are well managed is critical to their profitability. Tracking their use and maintenance empowers managers to maintain a productive fleet.

But what do you look for in a tracking system that fits your business?

This post will cover the key areas of GPS tracking for trucks to consider. This will simplify your decision-making process. We'll also cover small to medium size trucks within this ultimate guide.

GPS Tracking for Trucks

GPS tracking devices come in all types and sizes. To narrow the scope of this article, we'll focus on small and medium-sized trucks. This will include the types of trucks used in:

  • Landscaping
  • Construction
  • Field services
  • Oil and gas
  • Service fleets
  • Rental vehicles
  • and more

GPS tracking devices for trucks use intuitive software. The programs allow managers to understand the state of the truck in real-time. Some also inform managers of the driver's behaviors in real-time.

This set of tools can send alerts and detailed reports. You can even track the truck's maintenance and lifecycle.

To help you find the right GPS tracking device for your company, we've created a list. The following items are the important issues to consider when researching your solution.

  • Real-time vs. passive tracking
  • Truck maintenance and diagnostics
  • Driver monitoring and ratings
  • Safety report cards
  • Custom alerts and reports

These categories will make a significant difference in your decision-making process. Make sure it's done from the perspective of reducing truck downtime.

Most tracking, even GPS tracking for semi-trucks, increases productivity. That is why you'll need to maintain that perspective during your research.

You'll also want to consider the pricing to maintain your assets.

The goal is to keep a healthy balance of cost to value. Over-priced systems can't produce a good ROI. Nor can underprices systems provide the tools needed to protect your assets.

Also, don't forget to make sure that the solution works regardless of the weather.

Real-Time vs. Passive Tracking

There was a time when real-time and passive tracking devices were very different. Since then, new real-time trackers can save power and draw data only when needed. They appear to be passive until the truck moves.

Real-time truck trackers only draw data every minute when the truck is moving. When the vehicle is off, the data gets drawn every hour.

Battery-powered equipment tracks once a day. But when running and moving the equipment tracks every 10-minutes.

Truck Sensors

There are a variety of sensors to track refrigeration, tow arms, lift gates, and more. Weatherproof trackers handle extreme conditions from wetlands to desert environments. These sensors send data in 15-minute increments.

These sensors can include temperature monitoring for perishables. If a cooling system shuts down, the system can dispatch a tech to avoid downtime and spoiled products.

Trailer and Gear Tracking

Gear and trailer trackers may appear passive, but they are not.

Passive trackers were for equipment and items without an engine. But today, real-time tracking devices for gear are only priced like a passive tracker. Old passive systems needed data pulled, not sent.

Today's real-time trackers send data at specific times to reduce battery use. For instance, the Linxup Mini GPS Tracker is ideal to track tools and other valuables.

The Mini Tracker fits into:

  • Work bags
  • Briefcases
  • Toolboxes
  • And other small items

Tracking field worker's time in and out of locations is easy with the Mini Tracker. This helps customer service give accurate estimates of when workers will arrive.

Truck Maintenance and Diagnostics

GPS tracking for trucks must include maintenance tracking. The vehicle's maintenance and repair history are critical to the vehicle's longevity. You'll also want a system that can handle the maintenance schedule.

Tracking Truck Maintenance

The tracking system needs to track the simple and the complex. For instance, tracking tire conditions will save money. You'll be able to replace tires before they blow or cause other problems.

Even tracking long-term engine idling will reduce your fuel consumption.

The best software will track repair history and mileage. Better yet are systems that allow for customized tracking and reporting. The goal is to generate on-time maintenance extend the lifecycle of trucks.

Using the software for scheduling maintenance increases your preventative maintenance benefits. This can include:

  • Oil changes
  • Tire rotations and wear
  • Wiper blades
  • Fluids
  • Warranty expirations
  • License renewals

The goal is to schedule service events based on mileage or date. You also want to be able to track the service records. These can be set as events in reports.
Should you need to track specific issues, you can set email or text alerts.

Diagnostic Alerts

When a system becomes unaligned, the tracking software must send an immediate alert. This will protect your asset from pending damage. This includes system warnings for:

  • Braking
  • Cooling
  • Suspension
  • Drivetrain
  • And more

The software needs the ability to pull fault codes. This takes the guesswork out of diagnostic issues. Managers also like the ability to understand trouble codes for decision-making purposes.

Driver Monitoring and Ratings

Great software lets you rank driver performance from best to worst. The truck tracker can include driving activities. This can include:

  • Truck speeds
  • Stops
  • Idle time
  • And more

An interactive route replay animation allows you to view the driver's history.

Driver Monitoring

There are two ways that the data pulled from a tracking system is most useful. First, it can inform you of drivers needing education on your process. Second, it can highlight the successful drivers for awards.

In some companies, who gets into the truck's cab is critical. Truck authentication allows managers to verify vehicle driver assignments. This is ideal for companies that have drivers changing vehicles often.

This authentication can also measure drives that reduce idling time to save fuel. The fuel savings come in at about 20% when you connect driver behaviors with engine run time.

The authentication process stops individuals from using the wrong truck. It can also stop the use of trucks during the wrong hours. Some use it to track each driver to avoid their hours exceeding regulations.

Driver Ratings

The key to rating a driver's performance is assessability. The tracking system has to be part of a wide network for ease of access.

The Linxup tracking system is GPS-enabled. It utilizes a global radio network of 24 satellites. The system transmits information at the speed of light using 4G communications.

If the truck tracker is out of cell tower range, it will still collect and store the data. Once the truck tracker can send a clear signal, it will upload all the stored data. This means the driver is never off-grid.

This can be a good thing when it comes to accidents. The data can prove the actions of your drivers to be ethical, true, and in the right.

For instance, the Linxup Dash Cam with GPS captures real-time video of the road and cabin. When the truck is off, it still uploads the videos. This is a fantastic tool for reducing fraudulent claims and lowering liability.

The video recordings continue at all times (24/7), even when the truck is off. The program may link the footage with speed and other captured data. The camera stores up to 66 hours of recordings.

Safety Report Cards

Access to safety information must be around the clock. This can be anything from harsh braking to shattered glass.

A dashcam solution offers a street-side camera and a cab-side camera. This assures the availability of collision details. The video can reveal the driving circumstances at the time of the accident.

Most of the time, it takes the guesswork out of determining who was the guilty party. The images also secure a benchmark against liabilities. This simple ability to pull accident scene data will bring comfort to your drivers.

You can pair the video footage with other data. This might include the speedometer and the actual speed limit. The end result is a solid case that will stand up to scrutiny.

If there are zones trucks can't enter due to safety issues, you can set geofencing parameters. If a truck enters the zone, dispatch gets a notification in real-time.

Custom Alerts and Reports

The key is finding tracking software that allows you to customize alerts and reports. Look for a system that reports:

  • Location in real-time
  • Historical data
  • Operator behavior
  • Driver logs and ratings
  • Movement
  • Maintenance
  • Customized issues
  • Moving and standing settings
  • Unauthorized use
  • Automated fuel tax reporting
  • Idle times

Detailed Reports

A series of reports turns the data into productive conversations. You'll want to structure reports for real-time alerts, hourly, daily summaries. These reports empower managers to increase their driver's performance.

Standard reports include:

  • Vehicle idling and driver activity
  • Stop reports with location times
  • Advanced daily activity
  • Driver safety
  • Data exports
  • Interactive dashboard use
  • And more

Customized Alerts

The intuitive interface should allow you to customize alert settings as needed. This helps to isolate evaluations of groups and individuals.

For instance, if you have two drivers using too much fuel, you can set a behavioral alert. When their idle time exceeds your criteria, an alert message goes to their manager. You can even have alerts for time-sensitive device tampering.

Standard behavioral alerts might include:

  • Speeding
  • Harsh breaking
  • Rapid acceleration
  • Extended idling
  • Device tampering
  • Loss of GPS signal
  • Geofencing conditions hit
  • Unauthorized vehicle use

IFTA Fuel Tax Report

This report is an add-on module. It simplifies IFTA reporting to the Department of Transportation. The module integrates into the system and can report fuel and milage tax summaries.

The report can calculate fuel-tax information for each vehicle. It calculates gallons of fuel, the state's tax rates, tollway miles, and the fuel tax that is due. The US State Department of Transportation approved the module for use.

LinxupPlus Add-Ons

The field productivity module has a small monthly fee. This empowers key personnel to manage and dispatch jobs. You can also message individual drives and broadcast all drivers.

Managers can also track and report actual times worked by drivers.

The module can provide directions on a turn-by-turn basis. Maintain job assignment history and job progress. And, get real-time job completion alerts.
You can connect the data to time cards and payroll. This means pay is only for actual hours worked.

Device Installation

Some devices take several days to install and activate. Look for devices that plug into the vehicle's OBII port. Also, make sure the activation takes minutes, not hours.

You don't want a device that takes professional training to connect it. Nor do you want software that isn't intuitive and needs classes before activation.

Simple to Use App

Today, you also will want to seek out apps that work on a smartphone, tablet, laptop, and desktop computer. The dashboard gives a quick glance at the vehicle. You should understand its location, maintenance information, safety reports, driver behaviors, and more. 

Your GPS Tracking for Trucks Solution

This guide has given you the tools needed to make your best decision. You've learned that real-time tracking is affordable and provides great information. You can even protect your assets by tracking their maintenance.

Tracking can also alert you to your driver's behavioral practices. This can empower awards and training. The tools can enforce your company's safety standards.

Regardless of the industry, you know the type of tool needed to protect your truck or fleet. Contact us to learn about our GPS tracking for trucks devices. We've built devices to give you the above possibilities while keeping them affordable.

Start your research with Linxup and learn why 43,000 customers rely on our solutions.

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