27% of UK fleets use vehicle tracking technology

27% of UK fleets use vehicle tracking technology

The results from DigiCore's Vehicle Tracking Survey 2008 – conducted amongst 150 fleet decision makers and influencers – reveal that three quarters of companies using a tracking system are achieving value from the technology.

The research found that uptake was greatest amongst commercial vehicle fleets (30%) and fleet operators with more than 100 vehicles (31%). Furthermore, penetration was particularly high in the utilities (86%), logistics & road transport (40%), and service management (38%) sectors.

This is attributed to increasing operational pressures continuing to challenge the road transport industry as a result of spiralling costs and new, tighter legislation.

The most common reasons for using vehicle tracking were listed as productivity (30%), security (22%) and customer service (17%), although fuel management, asset management, health & safety and legislative compliance also featured in the responses.

More than half of companies not using vehicle tracking have considered investing in the technology, but more than a third are still unaware of the benefits it can provide. Furthermore, less than half of these operators thought tracking could benefit their business or offer a return on investment.

In fact, fleet operators achieving payback from their investment in vehicle tracking are achieving a range of benefits including increased productivity (54%), reduced costs (44%), and improved fleet performance (46%). In terms of reduced costs, fleet operators are now shaving 12% off their fuel bills and reducing overtime claims by 13%.

85% of vehicle tracking users said they were satisfied with their current solutions provider. The reasons given for dissatisfaction included inflexible technology that can't meet changing needs, costly solutions that don't provide ROI, and too many telecommunication and equipment failures.

One user commented: "The system seems to be experiencing communication problems on a regular basis," whilst another said: "It's not possible to change our current system to suit new requirements."

In general, users were more tolerant of operational shortfalls if supplier responsiveness was acceptable.

Of those companies not using vehicle tracking, more than half of have considered investing in the technology, but over a third are still unaware of the benefits it can provide. In addition, only 48 per cent of these fleet operators thought tracking could benefit their business, and only 44 per cent believed it could offer a return on investment.

Fleet operators expect road charging to be introduced in the near future, with almost 50% of respondents expecting it within five years. Less than 14% believe road charging won't be introduced until at least ten years' time, if ever. Whilst there is disagreement over the time frame, fleet operators acknowledge that road charging will be launched in the UK, leading to the widespread use of some form of "black box" tracking technology.

Fuel costs, Duty of Care and driver behaviour are rated more important issues than "green" initiatives.

DigiCore's managing director, Tom O'Connor, commented that while tracking technology is being adopted by an increasing number of fleet operators, there is still much work to be done by solutions providers to enhance the industry's image and develop systems that best meet the needs of the fleet sector.

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