With today’s tight margins and competitive market, home improvement company managers are always looking to cut costs, increase efficiency and improve customer service. One of the best ways contractors can do this is to invest in a GPS tracking system for their fleet vehicles. Most companies that install GPS tracking units report that the systems pay themselves back within a year, and confer many other benefits as well.
Here are the top ways home improvement companies can take advantage of GPS tracking and how it can positively impact their business:
Keeping employees accountable: GPS tracking systems disclose where each vehicle is at all times, and record this information for future review. This helps put an end to overly long lunches and breaks, as well as false overtime requests.
For companies that allow their employees to take trucks home, the technology also puts the brakes on unauthorized personal use of vehicles after working hours.
Increased productivity: With the help of GPS tracking, a dispatcher can quickly and easily determine the closest vehicles to certain destinations, and maximize productive work time vs. time spent driving. It is also easier to inform drivers of traffic events that may delay their progress, and offer alternative routing options.
Driver and vehicle safety: Most GPS systems track driver behavior such as hard stops and fast accelerations, as well as vehicle speed. Driver behavior reporting based on GPS data provides hard evidence of unsafe driving. This can be used as valuable feedback to improve fleet driver safety. When drivers know their performance is being monitored, their attention to safety improves.
Improved vehicle performance: Monitoring the current and past performance of your equipment allows you to better maintain your fleet, reducing wear and tear and extending vehicle life. It’s also often possible to track the performance of specialized equipment, such as salt spreaders, dump trucks and snow plows. This can help greatly to analyze efficiency and even assist with estimating future projects.
Better fuel efficiency: Saving fuel is one of the major reasons many home improvement contractors give for installing GPS tracking devices in their vehicles. The technology improves fuel efficiency in several ways:
- Route optimization – Less time spent on the road means less fuel burned to reach a destination.
- Driver monitoring – Speeding and other aggressive behavior burns extra fuel and is unsafe. Feedback from GPS tracking can help reduce driver-related overconsumption.
- Reducing idle time – The costs of idling can be significant, including increased fuel consumption and greater engine wear and tear. Again, with increased feedback this behavior can be reduced.
Improved customer service: With more accurate tracking and scheduling capabilities, it’s possible to give customers more precise arrival times. Also, when speedy service is required, GPS can offer a tremendous edge over the competition.
Resolving customer complaints: A tracking system monitors the exact time and location services are rendered. Having this information readily available can help contractors avoid and resolve billing complaints and other disagreements with customers.
Recover lost and stolen assets: GPS tracking is a reliable and effective way to reduce vehicle theft and locate stolen equipment. When used for off-road heavy equipment, it can help a contractor who may have equipment spread over several job sites to quickly and easily locate needed assets.
Insurance discounts: Installing GPS tracking can save many contractors money right off the bat. That is because insurance companies often offer lowered premiums for vehicles equipped with anti-theft and vehicle recovery devices. Discounts vary, but it’s common to save 10-15 percent, and some companies offer savings of 30 percent or more.
Choosing a GPS tracking system for your home improvement company fleet:
Some GPS software systems are designed for large trucking fleets, and may have features the typical home improvement contractor doesn’t need. By choosing a system appropriate for home service fleets, contractors can avoid paying for features they won’t use.
Another thing to look for is ease of use. Look for a system that is easy to install and requires minimal dispatcher training.
Finally, look for a system that comes with excellent customer service. Being able to speak to a real person who can answer your questions right away can make all the difference.
Author Bio: Robert J. Hall is the President of Track Your Truck located in New Lenox, IL. Track Your Truck is the leading provider of GPS vehicle tracking devices for small and medium sized businesses that have a fleet of vehicles that need to be managed.