A recent survey in the British plumbing and heating industry has revealed that reducing fuel bills and ensuring fast customer response times are top of the agenda. This is hardly surprising: fuel accounts for roughly 60% of a fleet's total costs while plumbing and heating company's customers often look to them as an emergency service - when they need them, they need them fast.
While these issues may be priorities, they are just two of a growing number of challenges that face plumbing and heating businesses on a daily basis - along with keeping on top of fleet and equipment maintenance and ensuring high standards of safety, Then there's the ultimate challenge to all businesses when economic times are tough: doing more with less.
In such a competitive market place, plumbing and heating companies are looking for ways to bring down costs while continuing to grow and without compromising on service. For many in the industry, GPS vehicle tracking is helping them do just that.
"Since installing the Fleetmatics GPS tracker 8 years ago, our van mileage has almost halved - dropping down from 28000 to 15000 miles per year - that's a huge reduction in fuel costs." - B & K Boiler Services.
Scottish firm Heatcare Oil & Gas turned to GPS tracking back in 2008 as a way of ensuring the business could meet its two-hour guaranteed response time. With a near real-time picture of the entire fleet, managers at Heatcare have seen a marked improvement in service as they are able to re-route drivers and update customers with new ETAs much faster than before. Heatcare Oil & Gas director Darren McLeod: "In order for us to meet our two-hour emergency response time targets, we needed a GPS vehicle tracking system that allowed us to quickly identify the closest engineer to the residence."
The business has seen many other benefits since installing a GPS solution too. By automatically logging driver arrival and departure times at every job, Heatcare have improved the accuracy of its timesheet process, helping to drastically reduce overtime costs: "As some of our drivers are on hourly rates, which are very expensive at unsociable times of the day, we use Fleetmatics to back-up our engineers’ time sheets to ensure there are no discrepancies."
"We chose the Fleetmatics ﬂeet tracking system because it is so easy to use." - Heatcare Oil & Gas
And they are far from alone. Surrey-based family business B & K Boiler Services credit its GPS tracking solution with cutting the company's fuel bill in half. Not only can the business provide every driver with an optimal route to every job but with alerts in place to flag whenever a vehicle is started outside of working hours or driven in an unauthorised location, personal mileage has been completely eliminated.
The biggest boost for the business from GPS tracking, however, is in how it has helped B & K overcome that classic challenge - doing more for less: "Previously, the average number of jobs completed by an engineer was between eight to nine jobs a day, it's now nine to ten - the Fleetmatics GPS system has paid for itself 10 times over." says owner Mark Worthington.