With the cost of GPS tracking devices becoming more and more affordable, more businesses and organizations are finding uses for the technology. GPS fleet tracking, for example, is nothing new, but an increasing amount of employers are finding uses for GPS tracking technology that justify the cost. Clark County, Washington, has begun tracking county employees in order to provide better service, ensure employee safety, and cut fuel and claims costs.
With budgets all around the world tightening, some argue that GPS tracking devices might be too costly. Currently, it costs the county between $300 and $425 for hardware and software per vehicle, with installation costs at about $140 to $280. Once installed, the tracking system has a operating cost of about $35 per vehicle. A pilot program last year reflected an immediate change in employee productivity after 29 vehicles were monitored, covering the operating cost in full. The overall savings will be hard to quantify, because the county hopes the tracking equipment will help avoid up to $163,400 each year in worker’s comp., property and casualty claims.
Employee safety is also high on Clark County’s priorities. “Since my employees must physically inspect every property in the county, they often go down long dirt roads not knowing what may be waiting at the end of the road or driveway,” Clark County Assessor Peter Van Nortwick wrote in an email. “We make sure they check out an in every day, but if one did not check in or were in danger we would not know exactly where to find them.”
However, some employees have expressed concern about being watched by their employers at all times. “We’ve put out a memo to the union that’s not our intent,” said Pete Capell, Public Works director. “We’re not going to have people monitoring everybody, every minute of the day.” Bob Moag, a facility maintenance specialist in charge of dispatch said, “If you aren’t doing anything wrong, then you don’t have anything to worry about.”