Telematics today have become a fleet necessity, providing tools to improve employee accountability and productivity while decreasing fleet costs. To help achieve these goals, vehicle telematics systems — also known as mobile resource management (MRM) systems — provide easily accessible and valuable data. With this data — and the reports MRM tools produce — fleet managers can set customized parameters, including, but not limited to, fuel transaction monitoring, stolen vehicle location, GPS navigation and routing capabilities, driver behavior and location monitoring, accident reporting, maintenance alerts, and organized timekeeping.

The experiences of several diverse fleets illustrate the advantage and various use of telematics systems.

Paul J. Rach Co. Saves $35K Annually in Reduced Fuel & Overtime Costs

oe Spencer, president of Paul J. Rach Co., realized additional fuel costs, vehicle mileage, and overtime were mounting and cutting directly into the bottom line of his concrete construction company’s success. The Baltimore-based company specializes in slip forming concrete, primarily for jersey barriers, curb, gutter and sidewalk work, retaining walls, and small structures.

"We were having issues of unauthorized evening and weekend use," said Spencer. "We decided to purchase a GPS fleet tracking solution." The company selected Vericom Technologies.

The Paul J. Rach management team now easily accesses Vericom’s mapping and reporting solution from any Internet-enabled device 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Two years after installing the system, the MRM solution has yielded greater returns than expected.

"After we installed the MRM solution, we curtailed off-hours use by 100 percent. We also began receiving discounts on our insurance premiums and gained vision into speeding episodes. Now if we identify a driver with a habitual speeding pattern, we counsel him accordingly," said Spencer.

According to Kenny Tarbart, Paul J. Rach shop foreman, "Vericom’s MRM solution helped us reduce our monthly overtime by 2–3 hours per employee as well as fuel costs by one tank per vehicle."

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On a monthly basis, Paul J. Rach saves a minimum of $150 per vehicle in reduced overtime and fuel savings for an annual savings of more than $35,000.

The MRM solution also performs everyday functions such as easy vehicle location identification, routing and playback, and identification of unauthorized vehicle use. Time card accuracy has also increased along with on-time morning arrivals, added benefits that also contribute to the bottom line.

"Occurrences of unauthorized weekend driving — with drivers filling up their gas tanks on Friday afternoon and then again on Monday mornings — are few and far between," noted Tarbart.

 Anchor Pest Control Tracks Vehicle & Driver Performance

mall to mid-sized companies often hesitate to investigate fleet telematics systems because of the expense. The professional installation and monthly subscriber or service fees required by many systems suit larger commercial fleets, but are beyond the needs or limited budgets of small businesses.

Anchor Pest Control in Sonora, Calif., operates an 11- to 12-vehicle fleet of work trucks. Owner Don Wolf had installed a GPS system in the company trucks, which tracked location. However, he needed a system to monitor vehicle and driver performance. He also wanted a vehicle management system that would generate easy-to-ready reports, install easily, and could be expanded as his business grew.

CarChip answered Wolf’s needs. A small unit that plugs into the diagnostic port under the vehicle dashboard, CarChip is simple to install — no cameras or straggling wires.

Wolf can now diagnose vehicle problems early and arrange routine servicing to avoid extended downtime. From the CarChip mileage and fuel reports, he can determine if employee driving habits were causing increased brake wear and reduced fuel economy.

System reports, formatted in charts and graphs, also help Wolf correlate service records and employee driving habits.

"Now when I get a complaint about an employee’s driving behavior or our service, I can remove the CarChip unit, download the data, and review an individual report for that day. I can also compare that day with other driving reports to see if this driving behavior is part of an overall trend or if the driver was just having a bad day," said Wolf. "Beyond driving performance, I can determine how long our service technicians are on-site performing their pest control duties," he added.

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 Butterfield Lumber Improves Route Efficiency

roy Mortensen, operations manager for Butterfield Lumber, based in Salt Lake City, oversees a fleet of pickup trucks and 18-wheelers. He uses GPS Insight for tracking and routing capabilities.

"I use the system to improve efficiency. It delivers unlimited real-time vehicle tracking," Mortensen said. He monitors driver speed and idle time and has reduced idle times from 48 percent to 23 percent.

"Drivers were a little apprehensive about the system at first. I set up geofences to measure irregularities between time and distance that allows me to verify driver travel time from one location to another."

GEM Plumbing Monitors Fleet Location and Utilization

n addition to overseeing a fleet of GM, Ford, and Mitsubishi vehicles, from box trucks to vans, Larry Gemma, president of Gem Plumbing, based in Lincoln, R.I., is responsible for operations, inventory, and the Gem University employee training program. Servicing most of New England, Gemma implemented @Road’s GeoManager program in 2000 to help control the increasing fuel and labor costs.

Gemma customized the MRM program to monitor vehicle location and use, receive maintenance alerts, more effectively route plumbers and technicians, wirelessly send invoices to his office, verify accident reporting, and take advantage of geofencing and timekeeping amenities.

He also integrated the system with GPS to obtain real-time traffic reports and reroute drivers using a navigation system. Before implementing @Road, fleet costs totaled 7.5 percent of gross sales. Those costs were reduced to 5.2 percent, said Gemma. In addition, on-time productivity increased from 52 percent to 61 percent.

To gain employee acceptance, "We explained to employees our goal was to create efficiencies, which would increase company profits and allow us to pay our employees more money," said Gemma. wt

Originally posted on Work Truck Online

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