Buying and maintaining a fleet of vehicles can be expensive, especially for small or medium enterprises. Derek Bryan, vice president EMEA, Verizon Connect, writes that although thieves can’t always be stopped, fleet managers can better protect their assets and prevent criminal activity.
Aside from staff, fleet vehicles are one of the biggest overheads for a business. Not only that, they often store vital goods, tools or equipment, meaning their whereabouts, safety and security is crucial to business success. Losing one van can have a significant effect on revenue, productivity and customer satisfaction.
One way to help thwart thieves is to install a fleet management system that helps track your vehicles at all times. For example, live map that can identify vehicles’ locations in near real-time and trace the exact route each one has taken. From this data, fleet managers can run detailed reports via intuitive dashboards to monitor key metrics such as speeding and exact distance travelled. Then, if a vehicle is stolen it can be quite simple for the police to track down the vehicle.
‘Geofences’ – virtual perimeters that can be set up around physical locations, labelled and categorised – are a good tool for this. Managers can use them to map out areas that have been targeted by thieves and ensure that drivers do not leave vehicles in these ‘at-risk’ areas. A fleet manager can also geo-fence their drivers’ homes to track if a vehicle leaves that area outside agreed working hours, reducing inappropriate usage and fuel costs.
Intelligent driver ID and real-time alerts
Intelligent alert systems are usually put in place to monitor drivers’ behaviour, but they can also be useful for stopping thieves. Another feature is driver ID functionality; managers provide each driver with a unique key fob that connects to a key reader in a vehicle’s dashboard.
This system only allows registered drivers to start the van. If a thief manages to break-in and start the ignition, fleet managers receive an alert and an alarm sounds in the cab, which helps deter the criminal.
Alerts can also be set up to send fleet managers notifications if a vehicle has been used outside of working hours. In doing so, any unusual activity can be picked up quickly and a potential theft can be identified in good time. With crime numbers rising, it suggests that the thieves might be getting smarter and are growing wise to the steps fleet managers are taking to protect their assets.
Energy and efficiency
The steps used to track vans can have many other benefits for businesses, from monitoring drivers’ behaviour, to cutting fuel costs and shortening delivering times through optimising routes. By using advanced mapping tools, fleets can easily identify the most suitable driver for a job based on their vehicle’s size, proximity, assigned geo-fenced area, and the number of working hours they have available.
Doing so ultimately helps fleet managers save time and money, and creates greater clarity when it comes to allocating jobs. While there is no such thing as a theft proof van, making it harder for criminals to steal them helps to deter thieves and makes it quicker and easier for the police to recover stolen assets. Businesses should seriously consider investing in a solution that monitors their fleet around the clock, and offers safety and savings benefits.
The author of this blog is Derek Bryan, vice president EMEA, Verizon Connect