OVERCOME THE 4 BIGGEST CHALLENGES IN LOGISTICS

Moving goods around the UK’s roads is a lifeblood of the economy. But like many industries, the logistics sector has suffered under the weight of the economic downturn. To survive within this highly competitive and crowded segment, productivity must be maintained and costs such as fuel and wages need to be controlled.

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Commercial Truck & LogisticsAccording to the Road Haulage Association, the UK’s trade association for the haulage industry, the four major challenges facing the sector are fuel prices, road congestion, vehicle security and efficient vehicle utilisation.1

But as many haulage companies are discovering, help is at hand with a modern GPS tracking system. In the search for increased efficiency, Profile Handling began the search for a vehicle tracking system to efficiently route drivers to their next job in order to fulfil same-day services, and also to save time by reducing calls to drivers’ mobile phones. Accurate reporting was also important for verifying wait times at customer locations.

Now with a Fleetmatics GPS system installed, the company has seen significant savings through improved operational efficiencies. Profile Handling reports that productivity has increased to the extent that the company is now able to secure additional jobs. Fleetmatics’ Key Management Reports have enabled Profile Handling to verify payroll hours and customer wait times for accurate billing. “We expect to have saved over £14,500 in our first year with Fleetmatics through improved operational efficiencies,” says Steve Clarke, director of Profile Handling.

The ability to accurately despatch vehicles and efficiently plan routes is only one of the benefits that a GPS tracking system can deliver. Many, including Geoff Simmonds - owner and founder of Simmonds Transport, would point to decreased fuel and wage costs as the greatest advantage. Based in Telford, Shropshire, in the West Midlands, the company provides transport and warehousing solutions throughout the UK and Ireland.

Simmonds Transport needed a fleet tracking and management tool that would help reduce operational expenses. Managers knew that by reducing transit times and out-of-route mileage they could lower their fuel costs over time. They also needed to eliminate unauthorised vehicle use.

Since installing the GPS tracking system, the company has seen tremendous savings in both fuel and wage costs. Overtime costs have decreased and personal vehicle use has been almost eliminated. They have also increased productivity since the drivers are now more accountable.

“We have saved over £48,000 in diesel costs and £25,000 in wage costs in our first year with Fleetmatics,” says Jeremy Wilson, operations director at Simmonds Transport.

With the myriad tools available within the tracking system, users can significantly tighten their expenses through a variety of fuel-saving features.

Ian Stirling, owner of Ian Stirling Haulage, explains that his company utilises the Live Map feature to confirm exactly when drivers arrive at a job site and how long it took them to get there. This information helps resolve any routing discrepancies and helps drivers use the quickest route to a job.

Despatchers have the ability to locate the vehicles nearest to any job site, thus further cutting fuel usage. The automated reports also allow them to see excessive mileage and unauthorised vehicle usage on off-days. As an added bonus, the idling reports helps the company identify drivers who waste fuel by running their engines for climate control during hot or cold days. Ian Stirling Haulage effectively used the information from this report to significantly reduce idling times. “We have cut our fuel costs dramatically,” Mr Stirling explains. “In fact, the fuel savings alone more than cover the costs of the system.”

Ensuring that drivers are paid correctly was something that took a lot of time before the GPS tracking system was installed. The only practical option was to manually verify when drivers started work or took unauthorised breaks.

Now, when Mr Stirling logs in to the Fleetmatics fleet tracking system, he can check Live Map to locate every vehicle. Then throughout the day he knows exactly when an employee arrives on a site, how long they stay there, and when they leave. “Without Fleetmatics, you really have no idea where your vehicles are or what they are doing,” he said. “Now I know where they are every minute.”

When this is added to data from the Daily Report he can now guarantee employees work efficiently during all their required hours without worrying about overtime. In fact, his employees now work shorter hours during the day because of their increased productivity. “The system is incredibly accurate,” he adds. “I can see exactly what’s going on at any given moment.”

An additional advantage that many users discover once the system is up and running is improved safety and customer service. Using functions such a speeding alerts means that Mr Stirling is immediately notified if one of his vehicles exceeds a pre-set speed threshold. “Drivers can sometimes get distracted out on the road,” he said. “Fleetmatics alerts management as to who is exceeding posted speed limits, which helps their drivers keep their speed down and has even changed their driving style.”

1 http://www.roadway.co.uk