HVAC Services Earn More with GPS Tracking
The heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) industry is expected to experience notable growth in the coming years, which will also likely impact how organizations in this segment manage their fleet operations.
For example, all new residential central air-conditioning and air-source heat pump systems sold in the United States will be required to meet new energy efficiency standards by 2023, which will fuel the continued growth of HVAC services, according to a U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS). 1
As innovation and changes in this industry will help it flourish in the future, business demands may become more intense, which will mean needing more support for HVAC businesses, including their fleets. Indeed, fleet management solutions are increasingly becoming a must-have for operators in the industry and the HVAC segment is no exception.
Keeping Up With HVAC Activity
In terms of expansion, the upgrading and replacement of HVAC systems have recorded some of the highest growth in this market, according to the 2020 U.S. HVAC Services Market Research Report. 2
Within the upgrading and replacement category, in-person consulting is predicted to demonstrate the highest growth rate in the market in forthcoming years, according to the report. Visual inspection is included in consulting services and is conducted by an HVAC technician, who identifies and detects the potential issues and problems in the HVAC system.
For HVAC fleet technicians, that may mean an increased workload that results in more trips needing to be made during regular working hours. This can be taxing for the industry as a whole – particularly on company drivers – unless business workflow is being soundly tracked, managed, and analyzed.
To help here, telematics systems can provide tons of operational data, such as information on vehicle whereabouts and driver behavior. That will allow fleet managers to ensure activity is conducive to matching business expectations, and more effectively guide their technicians to performing tasks in a timely manner.
Fleet managers can use telematics to set up KPI (key performance indicator) metrics to track improvement around specific goals the business is trying to meet. This will be especially important during the summer months, which brings peak business activity to HVAC fleets.
Improve HVAC Technician Monitoring & Communication
Indeed, the ability to oversee real-time location tracking of fleet drivers is paramount to having a well-functioning operation. These tools can provide many insights to their business that would otherwise be unavailable.
And simply having real-time awareness of a driver’s location is essential on the backend for the betterment of monitoring technician productivity.
HVAC fleets – as well as other field service industries – that rely on simplistic and antiquated means to monitor their business (e.g. handwritten documentation of locations traveled to), are not only missing out on critical business information but are likely not identifying ways to improve their business. Under less effective systems dispatchers of these drivers may need to routinely call technicians to find out their location and status, especially if there is a sudden sense of urgency.
With real-time vehicle location from the telematics system, dispatchers can quickly and efficiently message technicians with key work updates. This can be especially important when fleets need to pull a technician from a job site to deal with an emergency call.
Improve HVAC Customer Service with Accurate ETAs
Because the HVAC industry relies heavily on having its technicians assess customer needs in person, this accentuates the importance of being timely for service jobs. This is especially critical if technicians need to respond to multiple service calls during a shift.
Customer perceptions of an HVAC organization will be heavily based on how its drivers are conducting themselves during work hours. Making sure that not only are work duties being performed well but also efficiently, is critical for businesses.
Field service businesses – like those in HVAC – rely heavily on satisfied customers. Customers who may later recommend their services to peers or leave positive reviews online. If clients have an unsatisfactory experience with your business, there’s a strong possibility they’ll seek out a different company to service their needs.
“Our customer service has improved,” said Elizabeth Maldonado, a customer service representative of HVAC supplier, The Great Pacific Elbow Company. The company was able to course-correct customer feedback with the information telematics data provided them. “We have been able to give our customers a call before they call us angrily.”
Reducing Fleet Operating Costs
HVAC companies looking to adapt to increases in business activity will also find telematics useful in effectively helping them track and reduce any possible resulting increases in fleet expenses. This may include more frequent preventive maintenance checks and repairs, increases in fuel spend, etc.
For example, being able to review vehicle diagnostics and other important engine data through telematics helps fleet managers set up and follow a more precise preventive maintenance schedule, helping to prevent any catastrophic system failures before they can happen. Additionally, this data can also be used to reduce excessive idling and other fuel-wasting behaviors, further reflecting upon the return on investment telematics offers.
Some HVAC companies may rely on the error-prone process of manually recording preventive maintenance procedures, such as oil drains, filter changes, brake pad replacements, and other routine items.
With regard to fuel spend, this is one of the top operating expenses for fleets. And one of the biggest ways drivers waste fuel is by speeding, which telematics solutions can help fleet managers better monitor for. Excessive idling is another major contributor to overspending on fuel, which telematics can also help track and reduce.
Identify Specific Business Issues
Many of the aforementioned fleet concerns will likely also be important to a very broad number of service fleets. For a more nuanced understanding of their business, HVAC fleets may want to also identify the specific types of telematics-obtained data that will be the most important to their particular businesses.
For example, maybe business activity for your HVAC business has increased, resulting in your technicians having to make more appointments which subsequently has created a speeding issue through your fleet. Not only will telematics help you identify where and why this issue is occurring, but it will also help you find optimal routes for your drivers to navigate through to help eliminate or significantly reduce this issue.
Fleet managers should also properly research the telematics service providers they may be considering to meet their needs. Fleets should also consider how they’ll manage any potential data overload, especially if the HVAC business is expected to grow and expand. They should inquire about the event trigger systems and alerts.
Dashcam Video Solutions Reduce Safety Risks
Another fleet solution that can help HVAC organizations stay focused on what’s most important in their business are vehicle dash cam solutions.
These video cameras are able to record the road ahead and the driver’s face, sending alerts when it observes poor driver behaviors such as speeding, distracted driving, drowsiness, etc.
While this technology is primarily focused on providing deeper insight into driver behaviors, the perks of this solution will create benefits in other areas of the business that aren’t immediately obvious. For example, these systems also capture video from collisions to accurately assess who is at fault. The video clips can be used to exonerate drivers or provide supporting evidence to insurers or attorneys.
Vehicle crashes are impossible to truly predict or prevent, but if your organization has a way of significantly reducing the occurrence of these issues – or defend yourself if they do happen – your fleet will be more prepared to address subsequent problems and continue to focus on more important business duties. Indeed, dashcam video systems add an extra layer of defense to a fleets’ risk management plan. The dashcam solutions can also be used to coach drivers to improve their driving.
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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