GPS fleet tracking technology has made vast improvements in terms of features and functionality in recent years, providing a number of advanced benefits. Simple track-and-trace functionality still exists, but new features allow for holistic and multi-dimensional fleet management. Concrete and general contractors can use a GPS fleet tracking and asset management solution to streamline communications and manage projects. The improved efficiencies can decrease operational costs, while also increasing productivity and service revenue.
Managing a fleet of vehicles and equipment efficiently and effectively as a contracting business is a common concern for companies in the industry. According to the Aberdeen Group, 45 percent of service and manufacturing organizations reported that the development of visibility of service technicians, vehicles, parts, and resources was a key part in ensuring improved field service performance. Misuse of company vehicles and misplaced, lost, or stolen assets are time consuming to deal with and can negatively affect a company’s productivity. A GPS tracking solution can proactively manage and prevent these incidents, providing peace-of-mind to managers and saving the company both time and money.
Evrard-Strang Construction, a full-service construction contracting company, was able to eliminate unauthorized vehicle use with a GPS fleet management solution. With employees taking company vehicles home, the contracting company needed a way to efficiently monitor vehicle usage after hours. By managing personal vehicle use, the company saw increased employee productivity, reduced fuel costs, and savings from its insurance provider. Tracking your vehicles and equipment can potentially save you 5 to 15 percent on your insurance premium.
A comprehensive GPS fleet tracking solution should allow a business manager to set up geo-fenced areas, such as a jobsite or an employee’s home, and will send alerts via email or text when employees arrive or leave designated areas. This ensures that if a company vehicle is taken home at night or over the weekend, it is not being driven without authorization. This not only reduces daily wear-and-tear on a vehicle, but also reduces the risk that an employee is in an accident while behind the wheel of a company vehicle.
These alerts, and others provided by a GPS fleet tracking solution, can also assist in project timeline management. In the contracting industry, delivering successful projects on time is key. Projects that take longer than expected can result in higher labor costs as employees put in more hours on the job. A GPS fleet tracking solution can provide contractors with information to ensure that employees arrive at jobsites on time and stay on schedule. Those same alerts can be used to pinpoint employees that arrive to the jobsite late, leave early, or take excessive breaks, improving payroll accuracy. Regarding labor costs, alerts can also be set up to notify management when employees approach a certain amount of hours on the job each week to ensure they do not work overtime.
When searching for the best company to meet your needs, ensure the GPS fleet tracking solution provides a routing feature that will help ensure employees have the most direct routes to jobsites. In addition, use of Garmin® navigational devices in vehicles allows for voice-guided, turn-by-turn directions. While providing the best route, this also reduces the risk of distracted driving and improves safety.
Geofences can be set up with email alerts when a vehicle or piece of equipment leaves a designated area.
In the contracting industry, vehicles are not the only assets that need to be monitored. Contractors are also concerned with the expensive equipment that is often left unattended at jobsites. If these assets are lost or stolen, companies lose both time and money. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s (NICB) 2012 Equipment Theft Report, annual estimates of the cost of equipment theft are around $400 million, and can vary between $300 million to $1 billion. The average estimated value of a stolen piece of equipment is $17,400 and wheeled or tracked tractors and loaders were the types of high-value equipment reported stolen most frequently. Asset tracking technology allows contractors to monitor their equipment in any environment, including remote jobsites. If assets move from a designated location, built-in motion sensors within the hardware will trigger an immediate alert to the contractor and will help pinpoint and recover the asset, saving not only the cost of the asset but also the costs associated with the lost productivity and revenue.
Contractors are also concerned with fuel usage and spending. Fluctuating gas prices can make it difficult to manage expenses properly, but fleet tracking technology can monitor fuel consumption and excessive idling, which increases fuel savings and eliminates wasteful practices. Contractors should look for a GPS fleet tracking solution that offers fuel card integration, which allows businesses to set limits on fuel-related purchases and provides information regarding gas card data, maintenance purchases, and fuel card transactions. Automated fuel reports can also identify any vehicles that may be burning more fuel than they should, which can help identify any potential fuel slippage or theft.
In an industry where employees work remotely, it is important to utilize a GPS fleet tracking solution that will keep communication between the office and field consistent and simple. A GPS fleet tracking provider should offer Garmin integration and mobile apps for simple communication. Comprehensive solutions allow field employees to view detailed job information from their mobile devices or update job statuses for management.
A fleet management solution is a simple, cost-effective way to improve productivity and overall contracting operations. Companies that implement fleet tracking typically see a 10 to 20 percent reduction in both labor costs and fuel costs and a combined savings of at least $35 per vehicle, per driver. After implementing a GPS fleet tracking solution, contractors can achieve ROI in as little as one month. ■
About The Author Adrienne Sachs is marketing communications specialist at NexTraq. NexTraq’s applications—Fleet Dispatch, Fleet Metrics, and NexTraq Connect—deliver real-time data needed to optimize fleet operations.
Modern Contractor Solutions, September 2014
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