FSM Software: Fleet Tracking & GPS Technologies

Today, GPS technology is fueling next-level FSM strategies with rich, real-time insights straight from the field. Learn more today!

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    Fleet management and GPS technologies work together to create an interconnected, transparent, and optimized field service ecosystem. 

    You might look at fleet management software as the “ultimate dashboard” for your mobile workforce. It’s not just about tracking vehicle locations, but also about monitoring vehicle health, fuel consumption, driver behavior, and even route optimization. All these aspects together help in reducing operational costs, minimizing downtime, and improving service delivery.

    GPS technology is best known for its ability to pinpoint the location of a device – as well as its pivotal role in making navigation apps “a thing.” Today, GPS technology is fueling next-level FSM strategies with rich, real-time insights straight from the field.

    This helps field service companies elevate their service standards while, at the same time, unlocking the operational efficiency and data-driven decisions that drive lasting success.

    So, as you might imagine, fleet management solutions with embedded GPS capabilities are critical elements in any FSM stack. 

    In these next few sections, we’ll explain why – and look at some of the tools you might use to add new capabilities like geofencing, asset tracking, and predictive analytics to existing systems.

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    Align Fleet & Field Operations

    We already know that unity is a big deal for any modern field services company. So, your first priority on the fleet management front is building a unified stack that brings fleet management, field ops, and the rest of the business together in one platform. 

    However, we should note that Dynamics 365 (both BC and F&O apps) offer limited fleet management functionality. 

    Microsoft includes a Fleet Management sample application in its Dev-IT pro documentation, to help ISVs that may want to take this on themselves. The reason for this is, fleet management is kind of a niche solution. 

    Sure, plenty of orgs have multiple vehicles that need to be monitored and managed. It’s just that what that looks like in practice varies wildly between different organizations. 

    For starters, the “fleets” themselves are more diverse than you might think. It’s not just cars, trucks, and planes, but also robots, farm equipment, even landmines. 

    That means, you’ll want to look for ISV solutions that align with your business model, goals, and the needs of your field teams. 

    For example, one of the most impactful use cases for GPS and fleet tracking solutions in the field service industry is route optimization. By identifying the most efficient routes, businesses can reduce fuel consumption, improve productivity by reducing time on the road, and significantly increase the number of jobs completed per day. 

    Real-time GPS data can also be shared with customers, keeping them informed about the exact arrival time of the service provider. In case of theft or misplacement, GPS technology can help quickly locate and recover the lost vehicles or equipment, minimizing disruptions to service delivery and potential replacement costs.

    By leveraging these capabilities, field providers can dramatically improve service efficiency, customer satisfaction, and profitability.

    Fortunately, there are plenty of options available in the AppSource store that tackle these use cases, along with many others. 

    A few more things you’ll want to think about before starting your search:

    • Do you rent, sell, or lease vehicles to customers? 
    • Are you looking for a handful of specialized capabilities like route optimization, safety & condition monitoring, or geofencing? 
    • Or, do you need a more comprehensive solution that “does it all?”

    Alternatively, you could go the DIY route like Western States Caterpillar

    The company built their own solution using the Power Platform’s low-code dev tools to support operations across its 17 branches – spanning industries as diverse as construction, healthcare, and dairy farming, as well as multiple divisions – equipment rentals, service, parts, machine sales, and more.  

    FSM Software: Fleet Tracking & GPS

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    Monitor & Manage End-to-End Field Ops with Real-Time Fleet Data

    Fleet management solutions provide real-time visibility into field service vehicles, assets, and human service techs. This allows for dynamic scheduling and dispatching, swift decision-making in the event of unexpected issues, and improved accountability. 

    When you can analyze field service KPIs against data from IoT-enabled assets, weather patterns, fuel costs, customer satisfaction scores, and so on, you learn how these variables influence one another. 

    This can help providers improve security protections for assets that are always on the move – and, in some cases, stored outdoors (think – construction equipment, boats, tractors, etc.), leaving them vulnerable to damage, theft, even cyber threats. 

    Data from GPS sensors and RFID tags provide rich insights into things like weather conditions, driver behavior, vehicle wear-and-tear, and where vehicles are located at any given moment. 

    These insights give FS leaders a more nuanced understanding of daily service operations, allowing them to make informed decisions that enhance safety, efficiency, service experiences, and more.

    By monitoring vehicle health and usage patterns, fleet tracking solutions can predict when a vehicle might need maintenance, avoiding unexpected breakdowns. 

    For example, solutions like Acerta AutoPulse can be integrated with D365 to bring predictive insights and anomaly detection into your core FSM stack. 

    The app, which is designed for automotive manufacturers and suppliers, analyzes huge volumes of data from vehicle sensors to ID potential problems, predict failures, and enhance all-around vehicle performance. 

    GPS

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    Another ISV app, 3drens Vehicle Intelligence Platform is an IoT solution that helps commercial fleet owners optimize fleet ops across multiple dimensions. 

    Users can leverage GPS technology to establish virtual boundaries or ‘geo-fences’ around specific areas, as well as verify physical addresses. This ensures that vehicles stay within designated service areas or to alert management if a vehicle enters or leaves a certain location, enhancing security and operational control.

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    Additionally, 3drens includes baked-in AI that helps field orgs use fleet data to enhance demand forecasting and business intelligence capabilities, as well as access strategic insights generated by the app’s intelligent algorithm.

    Ensure Your Fleet Meets Safety & Compliance Standards

    Fleet management solutions can track driver behaviors, such as speeding, hard braking, and rapid acceleration. This information can be used to implement driver training programs, leading to safer driving habits, fewer accidents, and lower insurance premiums.

    Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Compliance – ELD is a mandate requiring all commercial vehicle drivers to record their hours of service (HOS) electronically. The mandate passed in 2017 in an effort to reduce instances of dangerous driving behavior – usually due to lack of sleep. 

    Additionally, fleet tracking tools can enforce industry-specific regulations. In some cases, that means adhering to strict rules about how often drivers need to take a rest break or how many hours they can drive per day. 

    Scope Technology’s Fleet Telematics & Fleet Management app offers an advanced set of  tools that, together, streamline all aspects of fleet management. Scope’s ISV app includes robust reporting tools that can analyze fleet performance, driver behavior, asset performance and maintenance cycles, or whatever service-centric KPIs matter most to you. 

    In the example below, you can see detailed insights into vehicle travel histories – number of trips, distances traveled, instances of speeding or harsh breaking, and more.

    FSM

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    In other cases, field orgs may need to enforce regulatory requirements related to their industry or the types of goods/services they offer. 

    For example, Aptean offers a solution for alcoholic beverage companies using D365 Business Central. This ISV app fills gaps across the entire ERP to help smaller companies meet complex requirements – tax management tools, an embedded alcohol balance trail, a 360-degree view of the entire supply chain, and built-in fleet management capabilities.

    GPS and fleet management systems can automatically record this data, helping businesses stay compliant with industry regulations and avoid hefty fines. 

    Of course, you’ll need to make sure that the solutions you choose comply with whatever standards you’re expected to meet.

    Final Thoughts

    Fleet management software brings a wealth of powerful benefits to field service orgs— and the vehicles they rely on to get to customers on-time.

    With the right fleet management solutions and a mature data strategy in place, providers can level up their FSM practice and secure a competitive edge in this complex, fast-moving landscape.

    Whether you’re looking to level up your fleet management and GPS capabilities with the right mix of ISV apps or considering building your own solution from scratch, Velosio’s field service experts can help.