What started off as a futuristic, almost luxury item for the chauffeured ground transportation industry—GPS—is now, by all accounts, standard operating procedure and most certainly an absolute necessity for providers everywhere.
“When I founded Vehicle Tracking Solutions (VTS) in 2002, I had a very simple premise in mind: help businesses with both small and large fleets harness the power of GPS satellites and use that technology to increase productivity, enhance customer service, and reduce costs, which in turn improves their bottom line,” recalls John Cunningham, CEO and founder. In fact, during the firm’s early days, Cunningham says he led the sales effort on the front line and found himself educating prospective clients on what the technology was and how it worked.
Now in its second decade of business, VTS co-founders John and Karen Cunningham note that the company is one of the leading providers of fleet tracking technology for the service and transportation industries, and as today’s technology has seen a much larger adoption rate, VTS has grown into a major provider in the rapidly developing fleet management software industry.
As with any technology, VTS has evolved beyond more than just a provider of GPS tracking devices. Cunningham says that Silent Passenger, VTS’s flagship product, works as an extension of their clients’ fleet management staff by providing actionable business intelligence in real time 24 hours a day. As technology continues to play a pivotal role in chauffeured ground transportation, the team consisently releases enhancements for the cloud-based software based on those needs.
“Technology accelerates at a relentless pace. Any technology not moving forward, is moving backward,” says Chief Technology Officer Ryan Wilkinson. That is why Wilkinson, who has been with VTS since 2009, says he is continuously working with the VTS development team to raise the bar with Silent Passenger. Its recently released feature, SP QuickView—geared toward operators who don’t have their own mobile app—was designed to allow companies to text a secure mobile-friendly hyperlink to their clients with real-time Google map tracking, ETA, and the chauffeur’s information and picture for added security and customer service.
“From the moment one logs into Silent Passenger, one experiences a user-friendly interface that offers more than the standard mapping and tracking GPS features an operator might expect,” says Cunningham.
Cunningham says that he realized early on that he had to differentiate VTS from similar providers. With the livery industry being a critical market for VTS, Cunningham launched a custom software integration with one of the largest livery dispatch software providers back in 2008 and has continued to adapt to the realities of a changing industry.
Today, in addition to vehicle-location mapping and street-views (courtesy of Google Maps), he says Silent Passenger gives dispatchers easy access to trip ETAs, vehicle speed in relation to the posted speed limit (in real time), driver identification via a key fob monitoring solution, and the best possible turn-by-turn route information via Garmin based on current traffic conditions. “Standard and premium features go on and on, whether it’s adding dispatch software integration, two-way messaging, or even vehicle maintenance recording. In short, Silent Passenger offers dispatchers everything they need to run an efficient trip remotely, while providing all this vital data in an extremely user-intuitive web-based software,” he continues.
A true advantage of the system, he says, is its ability to collect overall data, which is often appealing to C-level executives and corporate travel managers as well. He notes that in one instance, a livery company with a sizeable fleet found that they saved $30,000 a month on fuel alone, after only using the system for a few months. Ultimately, the collected data is meant to help business owners drill down on all variables associated with a booking, which could lead to the development of a cost-effective plan for the entire operation.
“With over a decade of experience helping fleets reduce their costs and grow their business, we consider ourselves to be more than just a GPS tracking provider—VTS is a fleet management partner. Our entire team works from end to end to be consultative and ensure that our clients are equipped with the solution that fits their specific business needs,” says Mike Dawes, VP of operations. Dawes has been with VTS since 2008 and has helped some of the largest operators in the U.S. deploy the VTS solution, and works to ensure they continue to raise their level of customer service and see a significant ROI.
In addition to being on the leading edge of fleet management technology development, VTS is an active supporter of the ground transportation industry, as a participating member of the Limousine Association of New Jersey, Long Island Limousine Association, and National Limousine Association. Cunningham has become a familiar face in the industry, now working with more than 2,500 companies’ operating fleets that are located from Maine to California.
“It is truly rewarding to me to see our clients growing their business using the fleet management business intelligence, productivity and cost savings tools that we provide,” Cunningham says. “As both the industry and VTS has evolved, I am extremely flattered when our clients comment on how they appreciate our approach to delivering cross platform fleet management software that is both intuitive and visually appealing. Our goal is always to be a client first organization and we continually to strive to ensure that this mentality is ingrained in all aspects of our business; from our consultative sales approach to our focus on ensuring that our clients have what they need when they need it. That is what VTS is about and it’s all we do.” [CD0716]