Most companies use these types of vehicles for transportation, moving services, and FMCG. But relatively few use GPS tracking for lorries and trucks, missing all the benefits.
Below, we analyze trucks’ operating costs and describe how to reduce them with GPS tracking and fleet management solutions.
These costs significantly affect the price of lorry services – if you can decrease operational costs, you can offer better prices to your clients without losing income.
How much do you spend on lorries and trucks?
First, there are fixed costs that no one can influence, even if your fleet is not running. These are insurance, taxes, license fees, leasing, or mortgage payments. Even the most advanced technologies won’t save you from these expenses.
In this article, we’ll focus on variable costs of your trucks, trailers, and lorries, such as:
- Fuel costs
- Maintenance costs
- Tire costs
- Labor costs
Fuel monitoring equipment and software
According to the International Journal of Scientific Research and Innovative Technology, “fuel cost is the major cost component accounting for about 64% of variable cost.” Just recently, we’ve released a BIG article – all you need to know about fuel economy is here.
When you implement GPS tracking for lorries and trucks, fuel management is the first option to consider.
Fuel level sensors and fuel counters
Although there are ways to track fuel without sensors and counters, fuel tracking equipment installed in your trucks and lorries ensures the most precise fuel monitoring.
Fuel level sensors
Prepare to drill some holes! Yes, to cut a fuel level sensor in a tank, you’ll need to drill a hall in the center and insert a long fuel level sensor inside. If it’s too long for your fuel tank, you’ll even have to cut it.
After that, you’ll need to calibrate the fuel tank of your truck or lorry. It means that you have to empty the tank and start refueling it step-by-step.
- Pour 1 l, 5 l, 10 l, 20 l of fuel, and so on.
- After pouring each portion, see what value the fuel level sensor shows.
- This way you teach the system to understand the readings of sensors, or, in other words, to convert the level of liquid in the tank in “centimeters” into the liters.
When installing fuel level sensors, KLOUDIP uses special calibration software to make the process maximum precise. Here’s a great video about how to install, calibrate, and mount a fuel level sensor.
A fuel counter doesn’t measure the fuel level in the tank but calculates how much fuel goes through it, thus, showing fuel consumption in real-time. The fuel meter is embedded into the fuel supply system and connected to the high-pressure pump.
It may look simple, but when it comes to the installation, non-professionals may face issues with pressure checking, return fuel flow, eliminating air from the fuel system, protection against tempering, and many more. Plus, if you want to monitor fuel level and consumption remotely, you’ll have to connect both devices to a GPS tracker.
Considering all the above, we recommend passing the installation procedures of fuel level sensors and meters to professionals. Here, you can also get a free consultation on which devices to choose for your lorry or truck.
Controlling fuel without devices
If you don’t want to spend money on fuel control equipment, there’s a way to do it with a GPS tracker, although more complicated. Let’s see how it works.
Every vehicle has a specific fuel consumption rate, like 10 l/100 km for your Honda. But it’s true only in ideal conditions – when you drive at 60 km/h without brakings and on a broad road. Accelerations, speed variations, high RPMs, weight, increase fuel consumption rate.
Using the math module in FiOS, KLOUDIP calculated how different vehicle and road parameters affect fuel consumption rates in various types of vehicles. As a result, by knowing the fuel consumption rate from vehicle documentation, KLOUDIP can calculate fuel consumption in different conditions based on GPS data.
Fuel monitoring software
Fleet management systems receive data from GPS trackers, fuel sensors, and counters. Good software offers detailed analytics and real-time monitoring of fuel consumption in your fleet, including:
- Current fuel level and fuel level changes for the specified period
- Current fuel consumption and its dependence on vehicle or road parameters (like speed, RPMs, etc.)
- Fuel fillings, thefts, and frauds with fuel cards.
It’s another important aspect when implementing GPS tracking for lorries and trucks. In most cases, you don’t need special hardware for remote maintenance management. HEED is the best app for that. It offers all you need for fleet maintenance based on GPS tracking data:
- Notifies you of upcoming, current, and routine service works, for example, filters and oil replacement.
- Alerts you of the emerging repair work in your fleet.
- Calculates the costs of all works, fuel, and spare parts bought for your fleet.
To put it simply, dispatchers enter all the data about fleet maintenance – what to do, when, and which spare parts to use – into the system. HEED receives data – mileage, motor hours, location – from a vehicle’s GPS tracker. The system compares the data entered by dispatchers for every vehicle vs. GPS data to notify you about service and repair works in your fleet.
For example, your truck needs an oil change every 10,000 km. The dispatcher sees the vehicle and its mileage – 200,000 km – in HEED. He specifies the need for an oil change at 210,000 km. When your truck drives another 10,000 km, HEED will notify you of the upcoming oil change.
The system also shows how many vehicles demand repair and can be engaged in the operation. It helps to plan your work considering available trucks and the opportunity cost of the held-up vehicles.
Just recently, we’ve published a detailed HEED overview, describing how it works and what value it brings to any company.
And it’s only a few use-cases of HEED. The developer offers a 60-day free trial on HEED – contact us to cover all your maintenance processes for free.
Tires are the third most significant fleet expenditure. Tire replacement and maintenance account for 10% of total operational variable costs. There’s a sensor you can install to prolong the lifespan of your tires. It works both for trucks and trailers attached to them.
Tire pressure sensor
The simplest way to install the pressure sensor is on the tire valve. When it’s connected to a tracker, the sensor starts sending tire pressure data to GPS software.
After that, you don’t need to check the vehicle in person every time. When you see the tire pressure is low, you can ask the driver to inflate the tire at that very moment.
Proper tire pressure saves fuel, reduces tire wear dramatically, and cuts tire costs in your fleet. Let us know if you want to achieve this via tire sensors.
Safety and security
You can buy a truck for $100,000 – 150,000, depending on the age, brand, refrigeration options, condition, and other characteristics. The cargo in a trailer can cost even more. Considering the above, safety and security become critical issues in a fleet. When you consider GPS tracking options for lorries and trucks, there are two demanding special attention.
A GPS system can alert you if your truck is moving, left the route, or the engine started when it doesn’t have to – at night or off-work hours. You can contact the driver first, and if he is unaware, your vehicle may be stolen. To stop it, you can shut down the engine in a click – the truck stops moving, and you can call the police to this point on the map.
Door opening sensor
You can install the sensor on the trailer and truck doors.
By controlling truck door opening, you can prevent unauthorized access to your vehicle even before it starts moving.
A door opening sensor installed on your trailer door can prevent your cargo from being stolen. Moreover, if you transport refrigerated goods, trailer door opening means a temperature regimen violation. The earlier you contact the driver to check the door, the more chances that you deliver goods unspoiled.
Door sensor installation – including mounting and connection to a GPS tracker – takes only about 3 hours. Get a free consultation on truck safety and security here.
Driver behavior monitoring
According to the International Journal of Scientific Research and Innovative Technology, “speed is the most important factor in fuel consumption and maintenance costs.” In other words, every speeding and acceleration raises fleet operating costs.
GPS trackers with accelerometers
Modern GPS trackers have embedded accelerometers. The devices send “G-data” from lorries to a GPS tracking system. The special software analyzes it and presents it as violations understandable to any user. We recommend using CIRCUMSPECTOR software for that.
After that, you will know if your drivers violate traffic rules in real-time. And it’s not only about speeding. Based on GPS tracking data, you can detect sharp turns, reckless driving, harsh brakings, accelerations, and any custom violations.
Using this knowledge, you can prevent traffic accidents in real-time, offer personalized training (as they do in Brandix), or elaborate bonuses/penalties schemes based on driving quality.
CIRCUMSPECTOR is also free for 60 days. Request your free trial here.
Due to heavy traffic, GPS tracking for lorries and trucks often involves video monitoring. By installing a mobile CCTV on your truck, you will see the road and the driver with your own eyes right in the GPS tracking system. Video streams keep dispatchers calm as they see the picture, not the data, and become robust evidence in case of accidents. Check out the story about how video monitoring took the blame off the school bus driver and administration in a private school in Colombo.
Some devices don’t record all the trips but start filming only when an accident takes place. These cameras start filming 5 seconds before the accident, during the accident itself, and 5 seconds after the accident. That way, the dispatcher doesn’t need to follow the screen all the time but only connect and analyze the accident itself. Plus, these cameras will save your mobile data, as you need to stream video over the internet all the time.
You can go further and place an ADAS – Advanced Driver Assistance System – in your truck. It analyzes both the road setting and driver behavior inside the cabin (distracted, smoking, or using the smartphone while driving) to prevent accidents.
Here’s the video about how it works on the roads of Colombo.
All these solutions contribute to road safety, minimize repair costs as no accidents happen, and sometimes help to save on insurance premiums.
Transportation environment control
This is the case when GPS tracking for lorries and trucks comes with IoT. Often, temperature and humidity sensors are enough to keep your cargo unspoiled. KLOUDIP clients use these sensors for pharmaceuticals, ice cream, and FMCG delivery.
Here are some words about how it works:
- Sensors are placed inside the trailer or in every refrigerated box in the case of pharmaceuticals. No wires or installation are needed.
- These wireless temperature and humidity sensors are connected to a GPS tracker via Bluetooth. The trackers send transportation environment data to the HAZER platform.
- HAZER shows every sensor as a colored widget or temperature scale on a handy dashboard
- The widgets change color in case of temperature regimen violations.
- Additionally, HAZER sends alerts and notifications about transportation environment variations, so a dispatcher doesn’t need to watch the widgets all the time.
HAZER is also available as a mobile app, so you don’t even need to be in the office to control the temperature and humidity in all your trucks.
Truck overweight raises fuel consumption and excessive vehicle wear and tear. To control weight in real-time, you can install axle loading sensors. Technically, the devices measure the pressure of compressed air in the suspension circuit of the vehicle. The sensors send the data to a GPS system, which converts it to weight in kilograms.
That’s where you can place axle loading sensors in trucks and lorries.
By controlling cargo weight, you reduce fuel consumption, prolong the lifespan of trucks, and even prevent cargo from being stolen. For example, if you see that cargo weight reduced during the trip from point A to point B, you can check the stops on the route and detect where a part of your cargo has been stolen.
You don’t need special hardware to manage goods distribution. You can connect your trucks to special software for that. Dozens of supermarket chains, online marketplaces, and courier services already use it to automate operations.
The platform consists of a web system for dispatchers and a mobile app for drivers.
Web-version for dispatchers
The software automates most of the dispatchers’ tasks associated with order creation, distribution among vehicles, and route planning, including:
- Order placement. When you receive an order from a customer, you can add it to the system in a few clicks with a detailed description, including its weight, price, delivery time, client address, and much more. Plus, you can import all orders from your internal system in one file.
- Planning and distribution. When you have all delivery orders in the system, you can automatically distribute them among available vehicles and generate the best routes. Moreover, you can optimize the routes based on the warehouse locations.
- Route optimization. After you get the preliminary routes with estimated arrival times and mileage, you can manually adjust the routes if something changes.
- Delivery process monitoring. When your drivers perform deliveries, you can follow them on the map, receive event-based notifications, and contact drivers via phone calls and a chat.
Mobile app for drivers
Drivers get delivery routes on their smartphones and have information on every order at hand.
- List of orders. Drivers see delivery orders and delivery routes on their smartphones.
- Navigation. Couriers can use Google Maps or other navigation software on their smartphones to reach the order.
- Delivery confirmation. Drivers can send order completion statuses to dispatchers and support them with photos, comments, and digital customer signatures.
Using the DISTRIBUTION app, you can share drivers’ movements and locations with clients, so they always know when the courier is approaching.
As a result, you can minimize mileage and delivery time for all your trucks, which means more work done with fewer trucks. Plus, you need fewer people to manage the delivery process and handle paper documents, which allows for minimizing labor costs.
Try DISTRIBUTION software for free, it will be all yours for 60 days. Request the solution here.
Labor cost is how much you pay your driver and helpers. Wages, incentives, and overtime costs are significant factors influencing the total operational variable cost. There are several ways to pay the drivers:
- Fixed monthly wage
- A percentage of the income from each delivery
- Fixed monthly wage with an incentive-based on the number of kilometers driven
- Fixed monthly wage with overtime payments
Small-scale operators often opt for a trip-based incentive with a wage. Large-scale companies go with a wage and overtime scheme, while some firms go with wage and invoice commission. In all these cases, you can optimize payments to drivers using a GPS system.
In the FiOS GPS tracking system, you can assign drivers to lorries and track their work hours, number of trips, and mileage covered.
Manual assignment. Assign a driver to a vehicle whenever the shift starts or just once if the driver always uses this vehicle.
Automatic assignment. You can install an RFID reader in the truck and give a driver an ID card. When he swipes the card, the GPS system automatically assigns the driver to the vehicle.
After that, all mileage and time in trips of vehicles are associated with drivers’ work. In FiOS, you can automatically calculate payments for the actual work of each driver.
If you know that these roads are too narrow or rough, or if there are inadequate speed limits there, you can mark these roads with line geofence in the GPS system. If your truck enters these roads, the system will notify the dispatcher. He can contact the driver and ask him to return to the predetermined route.
If there’s something else you want to control, it’s 99.9% impossible. Contact us for more information about GPS tracking for lorries. Get a free consultation for GPS tracking of your trucks here.