Q: How can I make sure that I'm taking full advantage of my GPS tracking system? The information is vast, and I want to make sure I am being efficient when implementing policies for my staff.
— Mel Morris — Rent-A-Wreck, Canton, Mich.
A: I hear this question asked over and over. When working with clients, I try and get them to understand how to use the information in a proactive way instead of a reactive way. For some clients, their first thought is to implement a tracking solution only if a vehicle goes missing or is overdue.
Often, I hear “I don’t need to see reports or have it tell me where it is at night; I just want to be able to get a real-time position when it goes missing.”
After spending less than 30 minutes with clients to show them the value and power of a GPS solution, they then start to realize how they can use it proactively.
Here are some steps I suggest that clients follow to ensure they are maximizing the information, effectively and efficiently:
1. View the last known location report EVERY morning. This report provides location information about your entire fleet. You can quickly see how many vehicles are on your lot(s), how many vehicles are out of state and how many vehicles are at dealerships, body shops, impound lots or long-term airport parking lots.
This report should take less than 10 minutes to view and will help determine if further follow-up is required on any vehicles.
2. Provide this report — and access to the system — to the employee who manages your due-backs or overdue vehicles. The system will provide information regarding whether the vehicle may or may not be coming back on time. For example, the report will show where the vehicle was in the middle of the night.
If the vehicle is reported in Texas but due back in New Jersey that day at 10 a.m., the vehicle is most likely not going to make it back for its scheduled check-in time. To see if the vehicle is on its way back, you can complete a real-time locate. In addition, you can check the contract to determine if you were aware the vehicle would be traveling into other areas of the country.
All of this information will help ensure you have a good understanding of your vehicle’s location in an effort to get the vehicle into the hands of a paying renter, or make sure that additional day(s) rental charges are being applied if the renter is not going to make it back on time. It’s important to your operation to make adjustments to available vehicles and add charges if vehicles don’t arrive on time.