Buyer beware:

Vehicle tracking technologies have heralded a revolution in fleet management, boosting the efficiency and profitability of many businesses operating in the IT sector. To avoid becoming the latest victim of unscrupulous providers however, telematics specialist Navman Wireless has put together its top 10 tips for IT maintenance contractors planning on introducing a vehicle tracking system.

The problem with the rapid growth of any industry sector, or technology, is that it will attract unscrupulous business looking to make quick, easy money at the expense of unsuspecting and badly advised customers, says Tony Neill, Executive Vice President, Navman Wireless.

Most suppliers use third party leasing companies to provide finance, but this leaves customers tied into payment for the full length of their agreement, even if a vehicle tracking company is no longer able to provide their service. According to start-up business research by Barclays, 18 per cent of all new businesses fail within their first year, and 50 per cent fail within three years. Industry experts suggest that failure rates within the telematics sector are likely to be even higher.

Navman Wireless advises companies to:

  1. consider whether a provider is reputable ensure its financially secure, has a health set of accounts, and a trading history of three years or more
  1. thoroughly research the available technologies and their possible applications
  1. ask to see working systems when investigating potential suppliers and test out the software. If a company has any faith in its product, it should have no objections to leaving customers with live access to its system
  1. ask for customer references and speak to the references
  1. ensure a preferred provider is up front about any installation charges installation should be free!
  1. find out if, in addition to the fixed costs, there are additional monthly charges there shouldnt be!
  1. ensure the provider has a dedicated R&D resource, rather than this being outsourced to a third party, and find out if the system you opt for can be upgraded during the contract period
  1. ensure a preferred provider offers free software and mapping updates
  1. select the provider that takes technical responsibility for every aspect of the systems operation
  1. select a provider that offers a system warranty that last the length of the contract

The critical message is do your homework before investing large sums of money, adds Tony. Failure to do so could lead to severe financial consequences.

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