GPS tech can save on vehicle running costs

GPS device technology can reduce vehicle maintenance costs. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
GPS device technology can reduce vehicle maintenance costs. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

Cape Town - GPS tracking technology is able to ensure that vehicle running costs are reduced, says an industry insider.

"We have seen our clients' driver incidents reduced by 36% and vehicle efficiency improved by 35%, with less maintenance as the vehicle is being driven better," said Michael van Wyngaardt, executive for Tracker Business.

For companies, managing vehicles can become a burden as the cost of consumables such as fuel, tolls and maintenance increases.

The 2014 Kinsey Report warns that its parts basket for light commercial vehicles can cost between 28% and 40.49% of the as-new selling price.

According to Standard Bank Fleet Management head David Molapo, some firms in Gauteng saw a 30% increase in toll fees in 2014.

Hijackings increase

The cost of fuel has also been trending upward with the bank reporting that the cost per transaction increased from R515 to R890 from 2010 to 2014.

Standard Bank also found that the average maintenance cost is about R3 600 per vehicle, an increase of 26% on the prices in 2010.

To assist in the management of drivers, it is critical that companies have insight into the driving habits to reduce maintenance costs.

Trucks are hijack targets. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

But like consumer tracking systems, the companies can also benefit from the ability to track vehicles that have been hijacked or stolen.

According to South African Police Service crime statistics, reported truck hijackings increased to 991 for 2013/2014, up from 943 the previous year.

The majority of truck hijackings occur in Gauteng, with 547 vehicles reported stolen in the period under review.

The Road Freight Association estimates the cost of hijackings at R12bn, due in part to the cost of trucks over that of cars.


GPS technology like TomTom hardware is also able to assist in route planning, resulting in more efficient driving which saves fuel.

The added cost from tracking a vehicle via GPS technology can be recouped through lowered costs and efficient driving management.

If, for example, a courier company is able to save just 20km per vehicle in a fleet of 40, that company could save around R800 000 over three years, Van Wyngaardt asserted.

"Fifty vehicles cost about R6.8m a year in total operating costs. When businesses are able to set the right fleet management policies, they should be able to reduce costs by R680 000," said Mike Crankshaw, CEO of fleet management company, FleetCUBE.

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