GPS is an increasingly popular way for businesses to track their assets. That’s because it offers precise location data in real-time and acts as an effective theft deterrent.
A GPS tracking device is a piece of technology that sends a signal to a single contact point. In this case, a satellite. Businesses can use GPS trackers to monitor equipment conditions, track vehicles, and estimate delivery times – among much more. For these reasons, the market for GPS asset tracking is set to grow to over 3 billion by 2025.
What Is GPS In Asset Tracking?
GPS stands for Global Positioning System. Many types of gadgets contain it, including smartphones and satellite navigation systems. In terms of using GPS for asset tracking, businesses can use it to determine the location of assets, simply by using a tracker that communicates with the GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) network. By sending a signal to satellite points, trackers enable managers to see where their assets are in real time.
When communicating with the GNSS network, GPS trackers use a process known as trilateration. This is where a series of at least three satellites determine the latitude, longitude, elevation, and time of the trackable asset.
Trilateration provides accurate and precise data that improves asset visibility and controls over-usage. This allows asset managers to make the best use of assets possible.
How Does Asset Tracking Work with GPS?
GPS tracking helps managers to understand how a business’s assets are being used. This level of insight supports improvements in productivity and the workforce. But, most importantly, it also helps save money and time.
A tracker is particularly useful when fitted to a moveable asset, such as a fleet vehicle. This is commonly used to help prevent thefts. It also gives emergency services a better chance to recover stolen vehicles.
It can also track vehicle usage with metrics such as speed, distance, and time on the road. This helps managers understand the performance of workers using all types of vehicles. From heavy-duty cranes and bulldozers to delivery vans and hire cars.
Thanks to the accuracy of satellite technology, it will show a global vantage point of trackable assets. This aids businesses in monitoring tool use, which in turn helps them maximise usage. In practice, GPS asset tracking uncovers unused tools or those left in an incorrect location. With this level of insight, managers can make better decisions on where tools or equipment should move to.
When to Use GPS for Asset Tracking Requirements
The main benefit of businesses using GPS is to prevent the risk of loss and theft of their high-value assets. For instance, a tracker could be fitted to a fleet of vehicles that a company has leased. If one of these vehicles is stolen, emergency services can use the data transmitted from the GPS device to locate and recover the vehicle.
A GPS device can also be used to keep track of non-vehicular assets in the workplace, which can eliminate the process of manually tracking down an asset and help improve time management. A construction company that splits its equipment and tools across multiple sites could benefit in this way.
GPS can be used to track and monitor employees too. For example, an asset manager could use tracking to monitor drivers and their behaviours. They could identify a driver’s speed and whether they are driving carefully or not. With this data, they then might choose to set speed restrictions and incentivise safer driving.
Another example is a flyer distribution company. They can track leaflet carriers going door-to-door, on foot, within a specific geographical area. That company’s clients may want to see proof that the flyer campaign has been delivered.
Typical Features of a GPS Asset Tracking Solution
GPS asset tracking tools enable businesses to monitor their most valuable assets. These assets can be located either on-site, at other site locations, or in transit.
With asset tracking software you can also keep track of your business assets in one centralised directory. By having a complete overview of all assets you can identify their location, where they need to go, and who has used them last, all in a matter of seconds.
A tracking system uses GPS to help better understand how you’re utilising your assets. With this data, you can determine which assets are providing a low ROI due to being under-used. You might decide to sell those assets or relocate them to other premises where they can be put to better use.
Most modern Asset Tracking Software is cloud-based, meaning you can access data anywhere and at any time. Typical features include:
- Real-time tracking
- Comprehensive reporting functionality
- Asset maintenance scheduling module
- Asset usage history
- Alerts for asset theft
- Alerts for driver behaviour in fleet tracking
Most systems also offer barcode tracking and RFID tracking technology, as well as integration with accounting software or ERP systems. They can help manage an asset’s lifecycle too, from acquisition to disposal.
However, the right option for your business will depend entirely on the type of assets you need to track and the budget you have available.
Benefits of Using GPS Trackers to Track Assets
Trackers protect equipment such as generators, pumps, diggers, and dumpers by providing real-time data on their whereabouts. They also support the recovery of stolen fleet vehicles, tools, or equipment.
Improved Asset Utilisation
A GPS system provides insights into the use of assets, enabling asset managers to make the right decisions on what to do with them. It also helps inform decisions by offering key insights.
More accurate data on asset location leads to more reliable reporting. This drives greater improvements and efficiencies in the long run.
Most GPS asset tracking systems allow you to manage assets from a single dashboard. These are often portable, meaning wherever you are you can get the latest real-time updates.
GPS tracking supports managers to make decisions on when to retire unused assets. This results in greater long-term savings and procurement planning.
Alternative Asset Tagging Solutions to Consider
Barcode Asset Tracking
Barcode asset tracking may be a tried-and-tested method, but it struggles to match the complexities that GPS can offer. Overall, barcodes are cheaper to install, but they won’t allow the same real-time access to data. GPS give asset managers a more accurate and dynamic picture of vehicle and asset location.
RFID Asset Tracking
Using RFID tags for tracking workplace assets has several benefits. These include being able to read data from long distances and using multiple tags. RFID is, however, expensive and can’t offer real-time updates in the same way GPS trackers can. While GPS is a larger outlay for most businesses, it’s unmatched in the efficiencies it brings. Systems enable asset managers to keep a closer eye on assets and drive greater efficiencies.