Increasing productivity, reducing fuel bills and ensuring fast customer response times are at the top of the agenda for the British plumbing and heating industry, according to a recent customer survey conducted by Fleetmatics. The survey findings have uncovered that GPS vehicle tracking can be used to help provide the vital support and tools to help address these common concerns.


Plumbing Service Contractor“In order for us to meet our two-hour emergency response targets, we needed a GPS vehicle tracking system that allowed us to quickly identify the closest engineer to the residence,” says Darren McLeod, Director of Heatcare Oil & Gas. “We chose the Fleetmatics fleet tracking system because it is so easy to use and extremely reliable – both quintessential for our business and helps us ensure that fast response times and high levels of customer service and satisfaction are maintained.”

Mark Worthington, Owner of B&K Boiler Services, adds: “If we get an emergency job in, we can use Fleetmatics to locate the nearest engineer and assign the job accordingly and, the beauty is, we can tell the customer precisely when we will arrive.”

The Fleetmatics GPS vehicle tracking system locates the positio n of fleet vehicles in real-time, indicating whether an engineer is en route to the next job or if ther e is a delay. With this information, fleet managers are able to calculate accurately how long it will take to complete the job before moving onto the next one. Another major business concern that the Fleetmatics survey brought to light was the lack of visibility on how productively the fleet is operating. However, a system that uses sophisticated GPS mapping (with Google Maps including ‘Street view’) can bring an immediate benefit when it comes to optim ising routes and the traffic monitoring feature helps users avoid delays. This frees up time and provides more opportunities to schedule additional jobs for the engineers.

B&K Boiler Services has experienced such improvements since installing Fleetmatics; “Previously, the average number of jobs completed by an engineer was between eight to nine jobs a day,” comments Mr. Worthington. “It’s now nine to 10; I believe that the Fleetmatics GPS system has paid for itself 10 times over.”

Caroline Ellis, Office Administrator at G Parry Home Improvements Ltd comments: “We are based in North Wales, where post codes can cover a large geographical area; now, when a job comes in, I can see the exact location of the driver on the Fleetmatics dashboard and route them to the next one efficiently.” Another important benefit that the firm has experienced while using the Fleetmatics system is that it has improved its drivers’ time keeping.

Excessive idling times were another bugbear within the heating and plumbing industry. The ‘Idling Report’ on the Fleetmatics GPS vehicle tracking system collates data, such as idle start and stop times, location of idling, and total idle time, which can be used for analysis – for examp le, the standard idling report can be used to help minimise idle times, reduce fuel waste and also decrease engine wear and tear. In addition, alerts can be set up whenever idle time exceeds a pre-defined threshold.

A testament to how GPS tracking can be used to help decr ease idling times comes from John Dobbins, Health & Safety and Fleet Manager for Password Services Air Conditioning Limited: “We’ve only been using Fleetmatics for seven months, and have already reduced our idling time by a massive 90% in some cases! This is a substantial cost saving to the company, and the fleet management system has alr eady proved its worth.”

Darren McLeod, Director of Heatcare Oil & Gas adds: “Fleetmatics monitors and alerts me to excessive idling times, use of vehicles out of hours, and speeding violations, w hich can then be dealt with quickly and effectively. Keeping a close eye on each vehicle’s activities has helped the company save a great deal on fuel costs.”

Mr. Worthington of B&K Boiler Services has experienced similar benefi ts: “Since installing the Fleetmatics GPS vehicle tracking system three years ago, our yearly van mileage has almost halved - dropping down from 28000 to 15000 miles. This has been achieved thr ough tighter restrictions on personal use of our vehicles – that’s a huge reduction in fuel costs to my company.”

The current business concerns, as expressed by the companies that took part in the customer survey , may reflect those of the vast majority involved in the plumbing and h eating sector. The features and potential benefits available to firms that use a GPS vehicle tracking system, as we ’ve seen from the comments, are already helping them improve productivity, reduce fuel bills and improve customer response times.