Electrical contractors manage field technicians as well as vehicles. They need fleet management technology that gets their people to job sites efficiently and tools that boost productivity, lower fuel costs, and improve driver safety.
Here are 10 questions electrical contractors should ask when deciding whether to purchase a GPS tracking system:
Do I know the location of my vehicles in real-time?
Do I know how long technicians spend at a job site?
How many vans do I need to serve my business?
Are technicians taking the shortest route between jobs?
How much am I spending on fuel?
Can I quickly locate my vehicles and employees during a major weather event?
How am I handling service intervals?
To what extent are my drivers engaging in risky driving?
When are my drivers distracted by mobile phones or other causes while driving?
Are technicians running personal errands on company time?
Knowing the location of your assets and technicians is fundamental in field service businesses such as electrical contracting.
Because customers of electrical, plumbers, and HVAC contractors are less company-loyal and focus more on the quality of the experience, these businesses prioritize on-time arrivals, communication, and social reviews.
GPS vehicle tracking helps fleet managers ensure that their technicians are reaching the pre-planned stops, completing work, and moving on to the next stop. It helps ensure that drivers follow the route set by dispatchers and
administrative staff, and can let a business owner know how long an employee spends at a job site.
Knowing where vehicles are located can improve customer service. Dallas-area Superior Pool Service, for example, shares their driver’s location with customers when they call so they know roughly when the technician will arrive.
Telematics helps reduce time theft. With geofencing features, telematics lets businesses know if their technician drivers are spending their afternoons at local bars or taking a company vehicle to a strip club.
The technology provides a deterrent. When a technician knows the boss is tracking their movements, they’re less likely to waste the company’s time or fuel.
Gaining insight into locational data also helps company managers decide whether they have the right-sized fleet and manpower to serve the needs of their customer base.
Telematics systems bake in routing that helps dispatchers organize a driver’s stops throughout the day so they travel the shortest distance from Point A to Point B. Routing software usually incorporates external factors such as the number of intersections, left turns, traffic congestion based on time of day, and other factors.
Dispatchers often need to make changes in a driver’s route during the day if a job is canceled or an emergency call requires a technician to be pulled off another job. Telematics systems allow the dispatcher to locate the nearest vehicle and send that driver to the new stop.
Businesses need routing software to help deal with the array of options.
One vehicle making 10 stops will generate
3,628,800 different possible routes.
Add a few more vehicles, and the options become exponential. Telematics routing software uses computer algorithms and advanced processes to solve this dilemma. It can also help business owners determine the business case for adding additional vehicles.
Fuel is a top fleet management cost and can make up 60% of the total operational costs of a fleet vehicle even with lower prices at the pump in recent years, according to Work Truck. Telematics systems help fleet managers develop
and execute a fuel management program that encourages more efficient driving behavior. These factors should be included:
An effective fuel management program also tracks whether drivers are filling up with regular or premium fuel. Most trucks and vans don’t need premium fuel, so it’s wasteful if drivers aren’t using regular gasoline.
Telematics systems can also help drivers locate lower-priced fuel along the route so drivers don’t stop at a station offering free coffee and elevated prices. Itemized fuel reporting tells fleet managers whether their drivers purchased fuel or
“smokes and Cokes.”
Emergency Service: Keeping Workers and Assets Safe
Like other emergency workers and plumbers, electrical contractors must often respond to emergency situations where a facility has lost power – especially due to a rainstorm, flooding, or high wind. They need to reach the destination and restore power.
A GPS vehicle tracking system helps these businesses gather data about their assets in real-time. When extreme weather strikes a region, businesses need to assess which drivers and vehicles are available for deployment. In some
instances, such as flooding, vehicles could be knocked out of service or employees may need to be located for their own safety.