Fleet Management System Employs GPS Technology

Staff | September 28, 2010

In today's competitive environment, keeping up with business while managing fleet operations is an everyday challenge. Ask small business owners how they create a solid foundation for success, and they'll tell you that maximizing their resources — vehicles, assets and mobile workforces — while minimizing their expenses and taking care of their customers is a recipe for success.

For Paul J. Rach, Inc., a successful Baltimore concrete construction company, the recipe for a solid foundation is no different. Paul J. Rach specializes in slip forming concrete, primarily for jersey barriers, curb, gutter and sidewalk work, retaining walls, and small structures.

Until a few years ago, most businesses with fleets and mobile resources had limited solutions to help maximize their performance. Estimating job times, routing a driver's stops, responding to customer requests and issues, maintaining vehicles, identifying vehicle and worker location and more proved to be challenging tasks, if they could be accomplished at all.

Two years ago, like most other construction companies, Paul J. Rach operated without a GPS tracking solution in place. However, Joe Spencer, president of Paul J. Rach, knew that his company's success was built on his mobile resources and also realized that additional fuel costs, vehicle mileage and overtime were adding up and cutting directly into his bottom line.

"We were having issues of unauthorized evening and weekend use," stated Spencer, "so we decided to purchase a GPS fleet tracking solution."

Spencer's investigation of GPS solutions led him to Vericom Technologies, a Mobile Resource Management (MRM) company.

Installation Made Easy

Vericom's scheduling and installation team worked with Paul J. Rach to secure a convenient installation time for the delivery fleet. A small black box containing a GPS chip set and a wireless modem was then installed under the dash of each vehicle, and a small non-obtrusive antenna was mounted inside the windshield. The system took about 20 minutes to install on each vehicle, and all vehicles were installed at off-peak times, "ensuring continued operation and no loss of work time," noted Spencer.

After the installation, the MRM solution was transparent to the drivers, and Paul J. Rach's management team could easily access Vericom's mapping and reporting solution from any Internet-enabled device 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Drivers Benefit From MRM Solutions

MRM solutions not only benefit the organization, but they also relieve driver responsibility and add value to the driver's experience. Specifically, MRM solutions help eliminate the burden of manual documentation for drivers on items such as time cards, maintenance and mileage. An automated maintenance program also ensures that vehicles are maintained in a timelier manner, creating a safer driving environment.

By improving the financial health of the organization, these solutions also help create financial stability. Finally, MRM solutions enable managers and owners to recognize employees by rewarding driver performance.

Big Savings Result From Everyday Use

Two years later, much to Joe Spencer's delight, the system has yielded even 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."

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

These small, everyday savings really add up. On a monthly basis, Paul J. Rach saves a minimum of $150 per vehicle from two main areas, reduced overtime and fuel savings. That's an annual savings of over $35,000 — a number that contributes directly to the bottom line and more than pays for the system. Best of all, these savings are realized year after year.

The MRM solution also performs valuable, 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," notes Tarbart. "Now," he says, "they know better."

All of these everyday benefits help Paul J. Rach's management team save time and increase their team's productivity as well.

The Facts Speak For Themselves

The Department of Energy estimates that timely vehicle maintenance can increase gas mileage by as much as 40 percent. Additionally, every 5 mph over 60 mph is equivalent to paying an additional $.15 to $.20 on a gallon of gas.

These two facts alone present a major opportunity for organizations with no visibility into their fleet and mobile workforce activity. For organizations, these savings could mean the difference between success and failure.