CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY BUILDS ON ITS SUCCESS WITH GPS TRACKING

The construction sector is a highly competitive arena to operate in and so keeping control of the costs of the vehicle fleet is a vital area for any company. Lee Goodwin is owner of Oakleafe Ltd, based in Dagenham, a building contractor that services the insurance repair sector across London and Essex. The company has a fleet of eight vans and faces the usual challenges of any construction company including customer service, driver behaviour and traffic citations.

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Construction Fleet ManagementGoodwin reports that on several occasions they have been able to resolve complaints that could have resulted in large insurance claims. In one instance a lady contacted Goodwin and claimed that one of the company vans had bumped into her car causing substantial damage. “She provided us with the date and time of the alleged accident and the vehicle’s registration number, we interrogated our tracker logs and were able to prove that the vehicle was 70 miles away at the time of the accident,” Goodwin explains. “The insurance claim never followed.”

According to Eric Villa, Dispatcher at Plote Construction, one main reason for installing GPS tracking was to gain better knowledge of their vehicles’ locations at all times. Plote Construction is a family-owned construction company with more than 45 years of experience in highways contracting. The company specialises in various projects including roads, highways, airports, lifestyle centres and housing developments.

While Fleetmatics helped improve dispatching and ensured drivers did not take unauthorised journeys, it also helped them succeed in court. One of Plote’s trucks was involved in a serious accident. Fortunately, Villa had access to the Fleetmatics GPS reports and could pull up the exact speed and location of their truck before the accident. The Fleetmatics report showed the speed at which Plote’s vehicle was traveling and the behaviour of the Plote driver. Based in part on these reports, the court concluded that at the time in question, Plote’s driver did not exceed the speed the other driver allegedly reported and was not driving “aggressively”. With this information, Plote’s driver was found innocent and the company avoided significant legal liabilities. “Without Fleetmatics, we could have lost that case,” Villa says. “It really worked out great for us.”

When it comes to driver behaviour, Fleetmatics once again stepped up to the mark for Oakleafe preventing speeding and unauthorised use of the company vehicles. “Vans should not be going above 70mph – not only is it illegal, but it’s too fast for a van and high speeds waste fuel,” Goodwin explains. “Fleetmatics’ instant alerts are set up on all the vehicles and so my drivers never speed.”

Another construction company that credits Fleetmatics with controlling the speed of the vehicles is Kimball Construction. Since installing GPS tracking on its 18 vehicles, Kimball has been able to run reporting on location and activity tracking 24/7, resulting in greater driver accountability as it relates to idle times, speed, mileage, and hours worked.

“We wanted to track locations, but safety was important to us,” Kimball, says. “The speed limits here are around 65mph, but there were instances where our trucks were exceeding them. Our trainer helped up set up automated reporting for our system. Now we get idling and speeding reports sent to us via e-mail every Monday, and in less than four minutes we can scan our vehicles and get a handle on what they’ve done for the week. If we have concerns we can go back and talk to the driver about it.” 

And a slightly more serious case of employees using vehicles for their private work was quickly thwarted by Oakleafe by using the GPS tracking system. “Drivers have fuel allowances; this is common practice for building contractors. Using Fleetmatics to monitor fuel and private use, we managed to save the company £200 per week,” Goodwin says. “There was one example whereby it transpired that two employees were moonlighting with my vehicles at weekends… this has never happened again.” 

But probably the most welcomed result of using the GPS tracking system is knowing exactly what is going on with the vehicles at any given time. Kawartha Capital Construction began using the Fleetmatics GPS tracking system for its 65 vehicle fleet in 2011. Besides realising improvements in the dispatching process, Kawartha reports increased productivity and cost savings since implementing the system. 

The favourite function of Fleetmatics for Rick Kelly, Physical Operations Manager at Kawartha is Live Map, which allows him to see where all of his trucks are at a glance. Live Map is available 24/7 and uses mapping by Google Maps to give the most accurate maps available with current traffic information. Kelly has two monitors in his office and constantly has Live Map up and running. “Live Map allows me to just look at the map and instantly know where every vehicle is. It’s a time saver.”

Fleetmatics has not only made dispatching easier for Kelly, but it’s also made his day more productive. “I don’t have to waste time calling the drivers to see where they are anymore. I would say productivity has increased 90 per cent. Customer service has improved as well—I can just look at the map and tell the customer where our guys are.” Kelly lets his customers know that Kawartha uses Fleetmatics for tracking. “It helped us win a contract at a local hospital. We are able to provide accurate billing information because of Fleetmatics tracking and reporting, and our customers know that. If there are any bill disputes, we can always go back and get proof of what was going on.”