How to make geo-fencing work for your business

You may already use GPS tracking in your fleet or for your lone workers, but if you are not utilising all the tools you have, you may be missing out on the real value.

Unless you are a security monitoring company, you won't have time in your daily routine to sit and watch what your fleet is doing at every moment throughout the day.

With a Geofence solution, you don't have to. Geofences are an often underutilised feature of any decent telematics solution but can provide uncapped value when leveraged.

What is a Geofence?

Simply put, a virtual fence or border around a predefined geographic area.

How is geofencing used?

Geofencing is an extremely flexible tool. By being a little creative, geofencing can be used for a phenomenal number of purposes.

  • Create a Geofence around key properties or areas of interest
  • Check-in/out
  • Identify points of interest or key locations on a map
  • Monitoring vehicle and staff movements
  • Automatically report on vehicle or staff movements in these areas
  • Monitor and maintain safe speeding limits by identifying high-risk areas that enforce restricted speeding zones, such as construction sites.
  • Have access to a log of events for any resource that travels in or out of a geofence

Within a Telematics solution, Geofencing is a tool that triggers an action when a device enters a set location, notifications, engagement features, security alerts, high-risk locations, time on site etc. Businesses are finding creative ways to make use of these virtual boundaries and from that drastically improving their productivity, reporting and reducing risk.

What is the ideal size for a geofenced area?

The benefit of a having a platform that allows unlimited Geofences on a map is you are not limited or restricted by size, you can ring-fence a property, building, Street, Suburb, Town, City, Region or Island. You can set up specific areas of risk or caution for alerts or simply sites of interest for reporting. An ideal size is, therefore, use-case specific and linked to the intended outcomes you wish to achieve

How can a Geofence work for your business Operations?

Geofences can become an integrated part of your organisation's daily operations. Identifying sites on your mapping platform provides the basis for making Geofences work for you and your business

Setting up your main site or a satellite office is a great way to get an understanding of the movements of your fleet. Geofences can work for both vehicles and personnel so that you know when either an individual is on site, or a fleet vehicle is there.

Time on Site

Knowing when a vehicle has arrived at a work site and how long they were there can be leveraged in many ways. You can attribute the cost of resources allocated to a job, the number of hours of value-adding utilisation an asset is providing i.e. is there a digger sitting on site unused for the duration of the job that could have been allocated elsewhere?

You can also use Geofences around sites to keep up to date on day-to-day coordination by receiving automated notifications when vehicles are leaving sites. This can be useful for deliveries and logistic purposes by estimating arrival times.

Fleet Utilisation

If you run pool vehicles, using your geofence allows you to review peak utilisation across a period (i.e. minimum number of vehicles are in the Head Office or Satellite site). Using this peak utilisation data, you may see inefficiencies or overcapitalisation in your fleet, from having too many vehicles, or not enough, or maybe even not enough of a type. For example, too many/few four-wheel drives or utes, may highlight the need to re-allocate resources from one team to another.

Scheduled Visits

Are you an organisation that needs to keep track of when you last had someone visit a location? Maybe you're checking on the condition of amenities, your last client visit, or wanting to keep track of when the lawn was last mowed at a sporting ground or park.

By placing a Geofence around a building, reserve or park, you can keep track of current and historical data of vehicles and assets that have entered these Geofences. Having your mower for example tracked will allow it to trigger an event when it enters a Geofenced park or region. By keeping track of when the Geofence was last entered/exited by your mowers, you can quickly tell the last time the lawn was maintained, helping ensure you're maintaining a schedule and monitoring these tasks in a more automated manner.

Proof of Activity

Using a Geofence, coupled with proof of activity reporting can provide further insights surrounding the use of vehicles within Geofences. For example, with a mower you could record the amount of time a secondary input (mower blades) has been operating, thereby looking into utilisation within locations. Other examples would be sprayer units and record the locations in which they are being used; this can ensure oversight that restricted or protected zones aren't being sprayed in.

How can a Geofence work for your Health and Safety?

By drawing virtual zones around sites, work areas and secure areas, a vehicle or a person can trigger alerts or warnings that can be sent to an operator or a group of staff.

Restricted or Caution Areas

Do you have areas that are out of bounds or restricted to vehicles or personnel? Placing a geofence around these areas assists with alerting administrators when someone strays into regions that are restricted and also gives you the ability to automatically report on vehicle or staff movements in these areas.

  • The District Nurse of a local in-home care organisation would like to be alerted when one of their staff enters an identified high-risk patient zone, and a follow up when they exist safety.
  • The Operations manager of a mining site may want to be alerted if any vehicles enter an area identified as out of bounds or Restricted in the mining location.

Disaster Zoning

Temporary disaster/danger zoning can be a great way to ensure your staff a kept out of harm's way. In the event of bushfires, flooding or earthquakes there may be regions that are too dangerous to enter. By placing Geofences surrounding these areas, you can monitor traffic who may unknowingly enter these regions, receive notifications and if needed direct staff away from these danger zones.

  • The Health and Safety Manager of a roading firm would like a text message (SMS) when a staff member enters an area of known risks, such as a known slip area along the Kaikoura roading. They would also like this to be reported upon, on a weekly basis for their Health and safety ledger.

Lone Workers

As above under Time on Site, a geofence set up can be used to Check-in or Check out for a lone worker. A team supervisor or Safety officer may wish to be alerted daily when a lone worker has arrived at a remote location or had left the site to come home at the end of a shift, this can be a very simple but effective use of a Geofence, that can become a crucial part of your real-world use for a Geofence in a health and safety solution.

Geofences can quickly become a central and crucial tool in managing your daily operations and also helping with your organisational risk management and reporting.

Find out more on how Smartrak can help you with Geo-fencing or other features.

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