Home What are the Benefits of GPS Tracking in the Supply Chain?

What are the Benefits of GPS Tracking in the Supply Chain?

GPS and location data allows you to track items, people, and even shipments. At any given time, you can see where something is, how long it might take to reach a particular destination, and also how fast it’s traveling.

On a consumer level, the information is relatively limited. You can see a phone’s — and by proxy a person’s — whereabouts.

You can find a lost item using a GPS tag. You can even get real-time driving directions to a new location. But in the enterprise, and with the right tools, GPS data can reveal so much more. Consider fleet management operations, for instance, which suddenly become much more comfortable and more efficient thanks to location services.

The ability to monitor your fleets whereabouts — in real-time — means so much more than just knowing where they are or what they’re doing. You can more accurately plan their routes, including detours to avoid traffic or events. You can mitigate travel and transport costs by finding much faster routes. You can even optimize plans by choosing the right driver for the right task. Maybe one drives better on country roads yet does terrible in urban areas, for example.

Combine the information with advanced analytics and logistics platforms, and you can tap into more accurate, predictive insights. But what does this have to do with the supply chain? The answer is everything.

GPS Tracking Is More Advanced Than Ever

Gone are the days where you must use a proprietary or handheld display to monitor location data. Instead, you can use something you have on you at all times — your smartphone. In turn, this means that you can also access the necessary systems and information from anywhere, anytime.

It’s still possible to access GPS systems from a conventional desktop computer or work-based terminal, but you now have the added option of mobile. Mobile support has revolutionized everything, especially regarding supply chain operations. Decisions must be made on a dime, with absolute accuracy and reliability.

Thanks to mobile, executives and management teams can issue orders exactly when needed, no matter what they’re doing or where they are themselves. All of this productivity “given” to management can be tied together by a robust series of field service and location-tracking software. This software leads directly to greater operational efficiencies and lowers associated costs.

A whopping 95 percent of businesses claim to have seen a noticeable improvement in their technician’s punctuality after adopting field service tools with built-in GPS tracking capability. A further 90 percent saw a boost in the number of work orders completed on time.

What Are the Benefits?

GPS and location service tools are powerful, that much is true. The real focus, however, should be on the vast number of benefits the technology can offer.

1. Improved Fleet Management.

As previously discussed, it’s possible to manage your fleet in real time via location data. Think of it as a direct line of communication, where you can make adjustments to improve efficiencies, arrival times, and more.

2. Increased Driver Safety and Performance.

Until self-driving and autonomous vehicles are used as a primary source of transport, the core of responsibility still falls on human drivers. It also means their safety, performance, and behaviors are paramount to a successful business. If a driver falls asleep at the wheel, veers off the road, and causes a massive accident, it’s going to be costly for your business. Goods will be lost, the company’s reputation will be tarnished, and both equipment and resources will be damaged.

A constant tracker encourages drivers to be safe and responsible, and when they’re not, you’ll have the opportunity to remind them. You can also create a loyalty system that incentivizes good driving because you have more oversight as to who’s driving well or poorly.

3. Better Security.

In transportation, distribution, and logistics, there’s a lot at stake. If a vehicle, whole shipment, or even part of a shipment is stolen, the losses amount to more than just material items and their value. Your business’ reputation suffers, your customers and clients lose money, and in some cases, your drivers or personnel may even be in danger.

Advanced GPS systems can be used to monitor your fleet and so much more. They can also be programmed to send alerts when something strange is going on, which gives you ample time to check in with a driver or take action if something is wrong. The faster you react to a potential threat or attack, the less damage you take.

4. Enhanced Operational Efficiency.

For the most part, modern GPS systems and their related software tools are heavily automated. You don’t have to monitor them constantly — instead, you’ll receive notifications when something requires your attention. This setup eliminates the need to hover over all operations constantly but at the same time affords direct micro-management opportunities that are more informed and stated.

This technology improves efficiency and experiences for the drivers too. They can see information about their routes, such as congestion areas, accidents, and detour sites. It’s an essential tool for optimizing the way they drive.

Additionally, less administrative resources are needed, as the vehicle-tracking tools provide precisely what information and stats office workers would be tasked with reporting.

5. Boosted Customer Service.

Of course, increased efficiency, faster arrival times, and safe driving habits all contribute to improved customer service. When it comes to deliveries, they’re always on time, maybe even faster. When it comes to providing clients with information about their shipments, you have more control and can report more as well — including accurate delivery schedules.

You can also enable new solutions. A freight courier, for instance, could locate a particular shipment and allow antsy clients to pick it up, on the move, by meeting the driver somewhere. You can also identify incorrectly shipped or stowed packages and make faster decisions, like swapping couriers or destinations as necessary.

6. More Detailed Cost Analysis.

Fuel costs can be incredible, especially with today’s prices, so it’s essential to mitigate the use of company vehicles to cut down on consumption. You don’t want drivers taking their work or business vehicle out for a personal trip, for instance. When they’re on the open road, you also want them to make the most efficient route possible to reduce the amount of fuel they use and cut down on refueling costs along the way.

GPS and vehicle-tracking tools can help you do precisely this. You can monitor bad habits, fuel mileage, and costs and make adjustments to meet specific goals. Want a driver to fuel up as little as possible? Calculate exactly how much fuel is needed for a trip, and communicate with your driver about how they’re keeping to said goal along the route, making minor adjustments in real-time.

7. Ultimate Transparency.

More control and oversight and more information will mean increased transparency across the entire operation. You know precisely what your drivers are doing, where they are, where shipments and goods are located and what the outcomes of each system will be — not just with transport, but throughout the entire supply chain. When this information is coupled with something like blockchain technology, you can monitor everything starting at the source, all the way until the goods are handed off to a partner or customer and beyond.

This data can be shared with your customers and clients as needed too. Some may want to know that you’re sourcing from environmentally friendly suppliers, or they may want to monitor the quality of your goods. It’s all connected from head to toe.

Give Your Business a Boost.

In transportation and logistics — anything related to the supply chain, really — GPS technology and location-tracking tools are an absolute must. The technology provides a vast number of benefits beyond just more informed reporting tools. It has the potential to transform your entire operations, improving efficiencies, lowering costs, and affording more guarantees.

One of those guarantees, for instance, is that you know exactly where a fleet or shipment is at a given time. You also know how long it’s going to take to reach a particular destination, and that’s true whether it’s being transported via roadways, water, or conveyor belts.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Megan Ray Nichols
Technical Writer & Blogger

Megan Ray Nichols is a freelance technical writer and blogger. She enjoys writing easy to understand science and technology articles on her blog, Schooled By Science. When she isn't writing, Megan enjoys watching movies and hiking with friends.

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