Cellular GPS Tracking – Pros vs Cons

Cellular GPS Tracking – Pros vs Cons

The costs and benefits of using cellular for your tracking system

Cellular GPS Tracking

 

 

    • Although it is a widely used, mature technology, it is important to consider your location. If you are in remote areas, or out of cell tower coverage areas, it simply will not work. That being said, you may not need it to work 100% of the time. Remember though, in case of an emergency, if you are out of range, you are out of luck.

     

    • Cellular works very well for SMS Messaging. If you don’t need high security on your data, choosing cellular GPS tracking could be a great, low-cost solution, allowing you lots of data for little money.

     

    Mobile networks have bandwidth that is more than sufficient 99% of the time. However, when disaster strikes, the decentralized nature of the network means that whole geographic regions can be knocked out by increased call volume. 

    Ask yourself, how important are your communication capabilities during catastrophic events? For some, it is irrelevant. For others, it is critical.

    In today’s world of technology, there are a lot of options. Taking the time to define your specific needs will save you time, money, and potential frustration. 

     

 


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Satellite GPS Tracking Pros and Cons

Pros and Cons of Satellite GPS Tracking

The basics about the network

Satellite GPS Tracking is an excellent tool. But with all of the networks and providers, it can be confusing.

Let’s face it, we’ve come a long way…anyone remember dial up? Ugh, how did we do it? Waiting and waiting…to think that was once cutting edge technology.  Ah how times have changed!

The world of hi-tech continues to amaze us with its remarkable capabilities. Here is a breakdown of the pros and cons of satellite tracking in simple terms. Think of it as your All-Satellite GPS Tracking Information Guide.

Satellite GPS Tracking Pros vs ConsBasically it’s like this…if you are requiring secure, global coverage, with guaranteed delivery of your data, then satellite is for you.

But be careful! Not all satellite providers are equal! Some may provide satellite coverage, but the lag time on data delivery can take hours or even days. Or worse, the satellite coverage being offered may not work in certain parts of the world.

Do your due diligence in checking out network providers, and make sure that your GPS tracking system works with the provider of your choice.

For satellite coverage to be effective, you need pole to pole coverage, 24/7/365 – don’t settle for anything less.



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Reduce Fuel Costs on Your Fleet

How to Reduce Fuel Costs on Your Fleet

Reduce Fuel Costs

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alternative Strategies to Reduce Fuel Costs

Source: Government Fleet – Cover Story

By Thi Dao

At a Glance
Fleets are trying out new methods (or sticking with their tried-and-true approaches) to reduce fuel costs:

  • Consolidating fuel purchases.
  • Direct-billing user departments for fuel.
  • Using reverse auction for fuel purchases.
  • Locking in fuel prices.
  • Installing aftermarket products to reduce fuel consumption.
  • Changing motor pool policy to make sure drivers use CNG sedans.

 

There’s no doubt fuel costs have risen considerably in the past few years. At the same time, government agencies have been pressured to reduce expenses. Government Fleet conducted an informal fuel survey, which had 134 respondents, and found for public agencies, fleet fuel budget has increased for 82 percent of fleets in the past five years (from 2006 to 2011). Of these, 28 percent say it’s increased by more than 25 percent.

There are two main ways fleets are reducing fuel costs: one is to change purchasing methods and the other is to reduce fuel consumption. The graph on page 11 shows statistics on fuel cost reduction strategies fleet managers have implemented. More common methods to reduce fuel expenses include purchasing more fuel efficient vehicles and enforcing anti-idling policies. However, other fleet managers are trying out alternative ways to reduce fuel costs.

Changing Fuel Purchasing Methods

One concrete way for fleets to save on fuel is to make sure they’re buying at the best possible price. Of agencies operating a fueling facility, the highest number reported purchasing fuel through an annual or longer-term bid award (44 percent), followed by those purchasing more frequently through distributors based on rack pricing (41 percent). Some combined their bulk purchases with a fleet fuel card.

Others are testing out new puchasing methods in the hope of achieving savings.

Reverse Auction

Jeffery Hart, fleet supervisor, City of Oceanside, Calif., discussed a new method the City is using to purchase fuel: reverse auction. Previously, three distributors faxed in their quotes to a purchasing agent every day, and the fleet looked through the quotes whenever it needed to purchase fuel, awarding the purchase to the lowest bidding distributor. Hart said the City’s water company had been using an outside vendor, K2 Sourcing, to handle reverse auctions for chemicals, and Hart decided to test the program out for fuel.

The bidding takes place online and is open to all distributors, including those the City previously did business with. The idea is that various bidders will drive down the price. “We’ve agreed to give [the winning bidder] the contract for one year, so they can get the most out of winning the bid, and we get the most savings possible,” Hart said. (The first contract will expire after six months to coincide with the end of the fiscal year; future contracts will be for one full year.)

The City has some flexibility with this type of contract. “We reserve the right to cancel at any time. We reserve the right not to go with the lowest bidder,” Hart said. He explained that even if a distributor doesn’t have the lowest bid, he may consider the bid if the company is local. In addition, the winning bidder pays any service fees.

Hart said the estimate he received from K2 Sourcing was between 5-7 percent in potential savings. In a one-year period, the City purchases about 236,600 gallons of gasoline and 88,900 gallons of diesel.

Consolidating Purchases & Changing Billing Methods

The City of San Diego is also making changes to its fuel purchasing methods. Previously, the fleet division purchased most of the City’s fuel but some departments, such as Fire, purchased its own.

“We’re consolidating all of those purchases under one contract and one administrative unit,” said John Clements, deputy director of the fleet services division at the City of San Diego.

In addition, the City is switching its fuel billing procedures from a monthly rate (an average by class of vehicles) to direct billing. “We’re hoping to incentivize our departments…We feel that by direct billing, they’ll pay a little more attention and if they implement some of our fuel savings ideas we propose, that they can see the direct savings in their department budget,” Clements said. This program is scheduled to take effect in July.

Hedging and Locking Fuel Prices

Keith Condra, fleet management director at the Town of Fishers, Ind., has found locking in fuel prices for gasoline is the most effective way to control costs. In 2010, Condra was able to lock in a price for the entire 2011 calendar year at $2.58 per gallon of gasoline, with taxes included. He roughly estimates retail price for fuel to have averaged $3.25 for the year. For 2012, he has only locked in January to March so far, at $3.14 per gallon, taxes included. At 56 cents higher than last year’s price, it exceeds the fuel budget increase he requested this year – 15 percent. Condra said he hopes prices will lower before he locks in prices for the remainder of the year.

Condra plans to lock in 200,000 gallons of gas for the year. Fleet vehicles usually use about 10 percent more than that, which provides for some leeway in case prices fall temporarily or the fleet uses less fuel.

The City of Loveland, Colo., has been hedging fuel prices with the neighboring City of Longmont since 2008 in order to combine its fuel volume, according to Steve Kibler, ACFM, fleet manager for the City. He also purchases price protection insurance that pays the difference in case fuel prices fall below his hedge amount – in this case, he gets a refund for the difference.

In 2010, the City saved $17,000 over rack prices by hedging more than half a million gallons of gasoline and diesel. Kibler said while savings may not be great, the value lies in a stable fuel budget.

“The overall average [cost] allows me, the fleet manager, to project my budget for the year, and that’s the value to me. I can project my budget and get it approved. If I save money, good. If I don’t, it doesn’t go over that budget amount,” Kibler said.

Awarding the Lowest Bidder

Going out to bid can yield a variety of proposals, and fleets often choose the cheapest option – one city lucked out when the cheapest option was better than it expected.

The City of Beverly Hills, Calif., went out to bid for gasoline and diesel in July 2011. The previous contract was a three-year agreement with pricing based on a weekly OPIS average plus markup. Fleet services staff was pleasantly surprised to have a vendor bid below the OPIS price for gasoline – the daily average minus 0.0115 per gallon (1.15 cents).

“I had to verify it with them twice,” said Rene Biadoma, fleet manager for the City.

According to Biadoma, the vendor considered the City’s projected gasoline use for the year – 150,000 gallons – just a drop in the bucket. Although the bid for diesel was 0.0081 per gallon (0.81 cents) higher than it was under the previous year’s contract, annual diesel use was less than gasoline – 90,000 gallons per year. After calculations, Fleet Services staff found this to be the best offer. The vendor won the one-year, renewable contract out of six bids.

Biadoma reported no issues with fuel quality or service. Read More…







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Fleet Fuel Management: Why GPS Tracking Saves Big Money by LL

Fleet Fuel Management:

Why GPS Tracking Saves $$$

Fleet Fuel Management is time consuming and frustrating. Often times, it seems like fuel prices go up and up, while profits go down and down. The good news? There are solid solutions to achieve the best fleet fuel management. Witness this report from Illinois Green Fleets.

Fleet Fuel Management Graph

According to this report, one of the best ways to maxize your fleet fuel management is to reduce idling.

The amount of savings for reduced idling can be estimated by using this table. For example, by reducing the idling time for a fleet of 50 trucks at $4.00 per gallon from 6 hours to 2 hours, the estimated fuel cost savings is $800.00 per day ($1,200 – $400) and $220,000.00 per year ($330,000 – $110,000).

Fleet managers use GPS Fleet Tracking solutions to improve idle times, speeding, and overall fuel consumption. That’s big savings from idle time.

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Fleet Tracking Oil and Gas: Transportation Study

Fleet Tracking Oil and Gas

Major study finds that energy efficiency improvements and measures to reduce transportation demand, without compromising service, have the potential to stop – or reverse – the growth in national transportation energy use.” Read on for more specifics in the ever evolving world of fleet tracking oil and gas.

Transportation Study Reveals Deep Cuts to Petroleum Use and Carbon Emissions

by Staff Writers Golden CO (SPX) Mar 21, 2013

Fleet Tracking Oil and Gas
File image.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) have announced the release of the Transportation Energy Futures (TEF) study, an assessment of avenues to reach deep cuts in petroleum use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the transportation sector.

“Transportation is an engine of our economic strength, but it also represents a key challenge for the future of U.S. energy use,” NREL Senior Analyst Austin Brown said. “Transportation accounts for 71 percent of total U.S. petroleum consumption and 33 percent of our nation’s total carbon emissions. It presents significant opportunities to cut oil dependence while taking a bite out of greenhouse gas emissions.”

The study revealed strategies to potentially reduce petroleum use and GHG emissions in the transportation sector by more than 80 percent by 2050. However, each of these opportunities faces significant challenges.

The TEF study also confirmed that there is no “silver bullet” for decreasing carbon emissions and petroleum use in transportation. Instead, deep reductions would involve an inclusive approach, combining strategies to:

+ Increase fuel economy for all types of vehicles + Reduce use of transportation while providing comparable service + Expand use of low-carbon fuels, including biofuels, as well as electricity and hydrogen

“The finding that there are many options increases our confidence that a clean transportation solution is possible in the long term,” Brown said.

The purpose of the TEF study was to address critical questions and inform domestic decisions about transportation energy strategies by identifying possible paths to a low-carbon, low-petroleum future for transportation, as well as the barriers that may block those paths.

It can help inform decisions about investments in transportation energy research, and can also help policymakers if they choose to expand the role of advanced transportation technologies and systems. The study focuses on identifying opportunities related to energy efficiency and renewable energy in transportation.

Three major strategies were explored in the study: reduction of energy use through efficiency and demand management; increased use of electricity and hydrogen from renewable energy; and expanded use of biofuels.

It was found that energy efficiency improvements and measures to reduce transportation demand, without compromising service, have the potential to stop – or reverse – the growth in national transportation energy use, making it possible for competitive renewable energy supplies to provide an increasing share of energy.

Focus areas of the nine reports that are part of the TEF study include:

Light Duty Vehicles (personal cars and light trucks) + Deployment pathways issues including the development of, transition to, and challenges to advanced technology. + Non-cost barriers such as range anxiety, refueling availability, technology reliability, and lack of consumer familiarity.

Non-Light-Duty Vehicles (trucks, rail, aircraft, and other modes) + Opportunities to improve non-light-duty vehicle efficiency, including that of medium- and heavy-duty trucks, off-road vehicles and equipment, aircraft, marine vessels, and railways. + Opportunities for switching modes of transporting freight, such as moving freight from trucks to rail and ships.

Fuels + Infrastructure expansion required for deployment of low-GHG fuels, including electricity, biofuels, hydrogen, and natural gas. + Balance of biomass resource demand and supply, including allocations for various transportation fuels, electric generation, and other applications.

Transportation Demand + Opportunities to save energy and abate GHG emissions through community development and urban planning. + Trip reduction through mass transit, tele-working, tele-shopping, carpooling, and efficient driving. + Freight demand patterns, including trends in operational needs and projections of future use levels.

The TEF project was funded by DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The study’s steering committee included the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Transportation, academic researchers, and industry associations. Additional input was provided by transportation consultants from Cambridge Systematics, Inc. For more information, visit the TEF Website.

 

http://www.oilgasdaily.com/reports/Transportation_Study_Reveals_Deep_Cuts_to_Petroleum_Use_and_Carbon_Emissions_999.html

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Fleet Tracking: A True Life Saving Story

Fleet Tracking: A True Life Story

CLIFF’S NOTES

Quote - left

Fleet Tracking is clearly very near and dear to me, but never so much as when it saves lives. Here is a story about a situation when that “little red button” changed someone’s life.

 

Fleet tracking saves trucker's life.

Fleet Tracking saves lives.

So this F-150 departed a Well Site and was in-route back to the yard when the asset lost traction. The snow was heavy, the road was very narrow and icy, and to make  matters worse, it was encompassed by 8 foot snow banks on either side.

 

The trip back to camp was only about 18 miles as a crow flies, yet more than 3000 vertical feet. That vertical distance makes for a warm and comfortable environment when you are inside  at base camp, but for a much different experience when your vehicle has lost control,  and is resting peacefully in a white-out, 4′ into a snow bank.

 

That truck now had a new role; that of keeping the operator safe until help arrived and could safely extract him and the vehicle from the bank. But it was not going to be simple. The driver and the vehicle were stuck, not going anywhere, and in a few hours when that F-150 ran out of fuel, the outside temperature of 10 degrees below zero would become  a 5 alarm threat – essentially, a real life threat.

 

Terrestrial communications were non-existent. Radio communications were also a moot point due to distance, geography and topography. For fleet tracking, the only and I mean only, method of requesting assistance was to depress this “little red button” for 2 seconds.

 

The drivers and operators were trained to only use this device should they require emergency help. Needless to say, on that cold December evening, that training came in very handy.

 

That inexpensive red button instantly became a genuine life-saver. Because of its  design to communicate via a lightning fast, two-way, always-on, satellite network, and its configuration to send alerts straight to dispatch, while identifying the asset, driver/operator, and exact location on a high-definition map, help was on its way within minutes.

 

The operator of that F-150, although usually pretty tough skinned, was smiling from ear to ear when he saw the headlights approach his temporary fortress about 45 minutes after he pressed that little red button.

 

He was back at base shortly thereafter, and the truck was removed the following day.

 

I was touched when I learned of this event, and thought it worth sharing. To play an integral part in the safety and security of these dedicated workers means the world to the Lucid Logistics team. And when you actually hear the countless stories of how this “little red button” for fleet tracking came to the rescue, you realize that you are not just in this business to provide global, reliable MRM solutions, you are really tasked with ensuring that the term “safety and security” live up to their names. I am proud to say that at LL, it indeed does.

Quote - right

Contact LL for more information.

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Fleet Safety Statistics Overview for Fleet Managers

2012 Fleet Safety Statistics Infograph – Snapshot of Reasons for Accidents

Fleet Safety Statistics Report sponsored by Volvo

Source: Automotive Fleet

When do most trucking accidents occur? fleet safety statistics

Highlights of Comprehensive report on Fleet Safety Statistics:

Drivers age 36-45 had the highest rate of accidents in 2011

The time of day with the highest rate of accidents is from 11a.m.-12 p.m.

86% of drivers drink and eat while driving

77.7% of accidents occur on clear, sunny days

Click here to view entire infograph on fleet safety

You will be shocked by what you learn!

Do you know how much cell phone usage has changed from 2007-2011? Do you permit hands-free devices? What is your policy on texting while driving, and how does your fleet’s policy compare to others around the country?

Other interesting facts include the percentage of companies who terminate drivers for failing to notify their employers when they receive citations, and how many companies prohibit impaired driving.

Compare your drivers with those around the country. Do they: talk on their cell phones using the handset? Set or change their GPS while driving? Surf the internet? Watch a video?!?

Given the stats, it is no wonder that fleet managers all across the world rely on fleet tracking systems to help manage their fleets, and improve safety. But all fleet GPS tracking systems are not created alike. There are many things to consider. Do you need a satellite solution, or will cellular suffice? Would dual mode be your best option? Do you need a complete solution, or will you be writing your own code?

  Download this Free Checklist to Discover Your Fleet Tracking Needs:

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Efficient GPS Tracking – Big Savings on Data Charges

 

Efficient GPS Tracking – Big Savings on Data Charges 

 

Now Shipping MRM/M2M Vehicle and Asset Tracking Solutions Worldwide

Introducing efficient GPS Tracking. Lucid Logistics has leveraged its expertise in satellite short burst data networks, (SBD), creating the world’s most robust and secure GPS, MRM and M2M tracking solution. Efficient GPS Tracking

 

The LL AMS-500i Modem integrates with Lucid’s groundbreaking, web based portal appropriately named the Asset Intelligence Center, (AIC).

The AIC, which is optimized for both PC and Mobile computing platforms,  allows users to define speed zones, set speeding and idle alerts, create multi-dimensional geo-fences and boundaries, and unlimited landmarks. The system then translates this data into comprehensive reports and scorecards, enabling fleet managers to see exactly how and where to save money.

“It is the efficiency of the system that really sets us apart,” said Cliff Henley, CEO of Lucid Logistics. “We all know that satellite communications is costly, but even cellular can be expensive. To address these challenges, the LL team developed the next generation solution in an effort to eliminate high costs, while remaining reliable and extremely secure.”

Henley went on to explain, “The LL team has created a solution that actually minimizes message size, which greatly reduces satellite communication data costs. The end result is the most efficient use of a fleet’s data.”

Lucid Logistics will be at the Government Fleet Expo in San Antonio, Texas, June 11-12, 2013. Visit Booth #100 for further details.

 

About Lucid Logistics

LL offers a wide range of products, services, and complete solutions for worldwide fleet and asset management. Products are built to last, work extremely well, and are designed to produce and deliver secure and accurate data via a very easy to use, robust interface. LL provides cutting edge technology by continually designing, building, and delivering systems and services based on the complex needs, mandates, and requirements of global markets.

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GPS Tracking – An Experiment with Fleet Managers

GPS Tracking: An Experiment  GPS Tracking ROI

There are all kinds of stats and reports touting the powerful ROI of GPS tracking/mobile resource management systems. Among other things, they show decreases in fuel costs, incidents, and wear and tear. While this is all impressive and true, I would like to share with you a true story about the power of fleet monitoring systems that really work.

I was working with a mid-western trucking company. We secretly installed devices on 97 of their box trucks. For 6 weeks, management watched and gathered data on real-life driver behavior. The results?

  • Average of 117 speeding violations per week (speeding limit set at 75 MPH for more than 30 seconds), with average speed of 78 MPH and average total speeding miles of 8,245 per week
  • 468 hours of weekly idle time, where idles exceeded 8 minutes in duration. Average idles came in at 14.2 minutes

 

What we learned about GPS Tracking…

 

The customer calculated their hard dollar ROI, which proved to be less than 4 months. As you might imagine, they were delighted, and you can assume that everyone lived happily ever after.

 

But the story doesn’t end there. About 2 months after drivers were made aware of the systems, and policies and protocols were put in place, I checked in with them. The fleet manager and I logged in to see how things were going.

 

We pulled up a set of weekly reports, ready to see great improvement. What we saw, we couldn’t believe…a mere 3 speeding events, and only a handful of idle violations!

 

At first, I must admit, I was a bit concerned. Was the system malfunctioning? Was there employee tampering? Was the GPS Tracking system no good? After confirming the systems were working flawlessly on all assets, we determined the report to be 100% accurate.

 

Can you imagine?! Speeding went from 117 incidents, down to 3 – at an average of $3.62/gallon, with 97 trucks, that equates to an annual savings of $124,000!

 

The idle times went from 468 hours per week to right at 72. This equated to an additional savings of $74,500.

 

The grand total in annual fuel savings? Drum roll please…close to $200,000!

 

Real reporting revealing real savings.  That’s the power of telematics at work.




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Mining Fleet Management Goes Big at Canada’s Big Event

The best in Mining Fleet Management at Canada's Big Event:

Canadian Mining Expo, Timmins, Canada

Lucid Logistics is at it again, presenting the fastest and most reliable mining fleet management solution for mobile resource management in the industry.

Happy to be in Canada! If you are at the Big Event, swing by our Booth #R8-08!

Learn more about the Canadian Mining Expo at http://canadianminingexpo.com/

Mining Fleet Management in Canada
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Fleet Tracking News

Lucid Logistics in SLO develops new GPS satellite tracking system

Published: May  3, 2013

2013-05-04T01:00:54Z

Tribune staffThe_TribuneFleet Tracking System

By Tribune staff — newsroom@thetribunenews.com

Lucid Logistics of San Luis Obispo has developed and released the first secure GPS all-satellite tracking system with guaranteed data delivery — technology that will enable worldwide customers, such as those operating trucking fleets, to increase their efficiency and employee safety, the company said.

To help fill the current backlog and pipeline of orders for the LL AMS-500i tracking system, Lucid Logistics said it has ordered 20,000 GPS all-satellite modems from Quake Global, the leading manufacturer of modems for mobile resource management.

“The lack of data integrity, message delivery standards and security has been a major concern in this industry for many years,’’ according to a Lucid Logistics news release. Lucid’s AMS-500i satellite system “guarantees safe, secure and accurate delivery of fleet’’ information to and from anywhere in the world, according to Cliff Henley, chief executive officer of Lucid Logistics. This includes highly classified, time-sensitive and mission critical data.

Lucid declined to disclose the cost of its investment in the system, said Joanna Wemple, marketing director.

Read more here: http://ow.ly/kLwQu

 

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