Tracking Service Fleet Productivity
Service fleet management is a hectic profession. When fleet managers aren’t tackling day-to-day issues, they are handling broader fleet problems, such as safety, maintenance, or reducing costs.
One common concern among service fleet managers is keeping drivers productive. Consistently monitoring driver routes and road behavior is one of the best ways to keep track of productivity, and telematics and GPS tracking technologies have enabled fleet managers to do just that.
According to Savannah Brewer at GPS Trackit in Atlanta, “Fleet efficiency is going to take a lot of different forms. It’s being able to see the route the vehicle took, their time on site, whether or not the engine was left running inappropriately, (and) that they’re where they are supposed to be when they’re supposed to be there.”
Fleet Managers Can Monitor Driver Risky Behavior
Elizabeth Donald, fleet manager for Superior Pool Service, operates a service fleet that services over 500 customers a week. Her fleet started initially with one driver and one truck, but she now manages a larger operation of service technicians and their fleet vehicles, which are expected to operate smoothly each day.
Because the size of her fleet has significantly increased from its humble beginning, Donald has incorporated telematics solutions into the fleet operations to keep track of driver activity. This has included tools that now allow her to see where drivers currently are, easily monitor for excessive idling, and review driver behavior reports. “The behaviors report, I use that a lot. Since I’ve been on my drivers about driving performance, they’ve gotten better because they know I’m watching it,” she said.
Keeping Drivers Accountable
Service fleets are also using telematics to keep track of driver behaviors in ways that don’t fall under broader concerns like safety and maintenance.
Bill Rodgers, fleet manager for Service Source, which provides organizations with custodial and other maintenance services, found that telematics assists with payroll concerns, particularly with what he discovered about how drivers are reporting when they are on the road working.
“I work with our HR department when there may be other problems with the manager or with the employee. These reports are helpful because there could be a suspicion that there was some time not being reported correctly,” he said. “Where an employee was saying, they were starting at a certain time in the day. I can go back and find out that ‘No, the guy didn’t start work at 5:30 in the morning and the vehicle didn’t even start until 7:15.”
Brewer says that the driver reports that are generated every day can be used to show to customers as proof-of-service – proof that the service technician or driver delivered the service on a particular date and at a certain time.
Thompson Trading’s service fleet which supplies food and beverage to retail sellers throughout the Bahamas, also experienced issues of driver accountability, trust, and transparency. However, once the company implemented a telematics solution, they immediately saw improvements.
“The first week paid for itself,” said Scott Thompson, fleet manager at Thompson Trading. “We found that our staff was doing things they weren’t supposed to be doing while they were at work. We were extremely happy within the first week because we cut all of that out.”
Thompson, based in Nassau, detailed that he was also able to review the details of his fleet’s activity to address wasteful driver behavior. “We have merchandisers that go out to all the grocery stores and they restock the shelves,” said Thompson. “When we tracked them we found out that they were going home at 12:30 pm and coming back to work at 3:00 pm. Once again, it paid for itself in no time.”
“I think that they are incredibly useful”, says GPS Trackit’s Brewer. “Driver behavior – it’s not just a report, it’s a whole module; it’s almost like a scorecard. It is homing in on drivers’ aggression and speeding. Aggression means things like hard braking, rapid acceleration, hard turns, etc. Those kinds of behaviors lead to unsafe drivers. That is a risk to your vehicle, to other vehicles, to your insurance premiums – I mean if someone causes a bad enough wreck, they’ll put you out of business.”
GPS Tracking Finds Missing Service Fleet Vehicles
Fleet managers have found telematics technology has been able to help solve other company problems related to driver accountability. For example, simply helping to locate a missing vehicle. Rodgers of Service Source, found himself in a scenario where one of his drivers ended up getting arrested during a work shift. Following the driver’s arrest, the location of his fleet vehicle was unknown.
“We knew the truck was taken someplace, but we didn’t know where it was taken to,” he said. “So the manager of that person calls and asks, ‘Where’s my truck?’ Since I wasn’t near a computer, I used the GPS Trackit mobile app and gave him the coordinates where it was. So, he went and got the truck.”
Driver Behavior Affects Fleet Maintenance
Fleet productivity involves maintenance as well. “Being able to monitor driver behavior is incredibly important for long-term company health, says Brewer. “It reduces wear-and-tear on your vehicles as well as they’re being handled properly, then you’re less likely to require expensive repairs.”
Improving Customer Satisfaction through Telematics
Telematics has also helped Elizabeth Donald of Superior Pool Service to answer customer questions in real-time with the help of the tools available, including verifying that a customer’s pool was cleaned, or informing a customer when a pool technician is set to arrive at their location. Improvements in operational efficiency are a large reason why companies are drawn to telematics solutions because this leads to happier customers.
Thompson of Thompson Trading said that his businesses activity was slower and less efficient before his fleet incorporated telematics. “We were doing about 2 to 3 stores per day before and with GPS Trackit we were able to do better routes. So we are doing more stores in the same area and increased to 5 to 6 stores,” said Thompson.
Reducing Fleet Traffic Complaints
Through telematics, Superior Pool Services has also been able to field complaints levied against company drivers more effectively.
“There are people on the roads that’ll call all the time and say, your guy cut me off,” Donald said, to which she is able to confirm these claims via telematics data. “To be able to look and see, okay, this person calling in is probably correct. This is their behavior recently. So, it just gives us actual data, not just a person’s opinion of their driving, but your truck actually did say you accelerated quickly.”
Telematics has also helped fleets defend themselves against claims that are not accurate, which can resolve accident, insurance, and liability issues. “One of our drivers got into an accident. The person he got into the accident with called us to inquire about it,” said Thompson. “When we looked back and looked at the tracking we figured out that they were in that area, and after further questioning, we found out what actually happened.”
Brewer says that telematics fleet productivity also is a public relations (PR) issue. “You make a more positive impact to the community. If UPS causes some horrendous crash on the highway UPS has a P-R problem.”
If you’d like to learn more about how GPS Trackit can help to improve safety, increase productivity and reduce costs for your business, speak with one of our knowledgeable Fleet Advisors at 866-320-5810 or get a quick Custom Quote.
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