Providing additional fleet security, increasing productivity and reducing operational costs are top of the agenda for the UK’s scaffolding industry, according to a recent customer survey by Fleetmatics; the findings being that GPS vehicle tracking can provide the vital support and tools to help address these concerns.


Scaffolding CrewWith the price of scrap steel reaching £0.08 per kg (or £80 per metric tonne), there are now more instances of metal thieves taking advantage of fully-laden vehicles; it is therefore understandable that the security of scaffolding lorries is of paramount importance. The ways in which a GPS vehicle tracking system can help improve on the security of a business fleet and its goods are many – the most impactful being automated alerts whenever there’s unauthorised vehicle usage, even outside of working hours.

By using the Fleetmatics dashboard or by accessing the system through a smartphone ‘app’, it is possible to highlight, manage and reduce inappropriate activity, such as vehicles being used for side jobs or personal errands. The GPS system allows the fleet operator to view and replay journeys made by their vehicles, instantly flag-up vehicle movement during non-working hours, confirm that only their employees are driving its vehicles and create ‘No Go Zones’, receiving an automated alert whenever they are breached.

A testament to how GPS tracking can increase the security of a company’s goods comes from Paul Freeman, Commercial Director at Independent Hire & Sales and sister company Framework (Specialist Works) Ltd: “One of our small lorries was spotted being unloaded at a residential address some considerable distance from any of the sites we were working on at the time. When taking the matter up with the driver, and subsequently the Police, the fleet tracking facility gave us convincing evidence that the location and time of the vehicle being at the address were as reported. We went to the address and were able to retrieve all of our materials – this would have been impossible to manage as effectively without Fleetmatics.”

Additionally, Able Access Scaffolding’s IT Manager, Ian Wilson explains: “We had an incident when we called one of our customers to arrange a pick-up of our scaffolding equipment and was told that it already had been picked up a few days ago - we had no record of this. Thanks to the Fleetmatics system, we had proof that none of our fleet had been to pick it up and, with this evidence in hand, we were able to report the stolen goods to the police and the insurance company.”

Another major business concern that the recent Fleetmatics customer survey brought to light was productivity. Unsurprisingly, a system that uses sophisticated GPS mapping (Google Maps including ‘Street view’) can be an immediate benefit when it comes to optimising routes and using the traffic monitoring feature to help avoid delays.

Ian Wilson, Able Access Scaffolding’s IT Manager, comments: “The Fleetmatics GPS tracking system has helped us better manage our work load. If a service call comes in, for example, we are able to quickly look at the location of the job and see where our nearest driver is situated, thus allocating the job accordingly. Now, instead of making 10 calls to find the whereabouts of each driver, I can just look at the ‘Live View’ map and see their location.”

Nick Bentley of Deverson Direct Ltd adds: “Since installing Fleetmatics GPS vehicle tracking on our fleet of vehicles, we have achieved cost savings through better time management. Work productivity has improved as each vehicle is now completing one additional job per day.”

Burflex Scaffolding Limited has also experienced improvements since installing Fleetmatics; Managing Director Steve Cox comments: “The detailed reports are used to optimise efficiency and, with each driver being accountable, the productivity of the business has improved. This means that jobs are completed on time, as it’s easier to forecast how long each job should take: If it’s a two day job, it will take two days.”

Additionally, the Fleetmatics system has helped firms in the scaffolding industry reduce their operational costs. The ‘Hours Worked Report’ provides a summary of the actual hours worked for each driver and can be used as an electronic time sheet. This report includes details on daily actual start and finish times, hours worked, days worked, average daily hours and weekly totals - improving back office efficiencies and helping alleviate payroll discrepancies.

Steve Cox of Burflex Scaffolding, explains: “We use the Fleetmatics reports as a time sheet, which we use to ensure that each driver is paid according to their ignition on-times. The drivers are aware of this and, as a result, we have reduced our labour costs by approximately £1000 per week; the Fleetmatics GPS tracking system definitely pays off!”

The current business concerns as expressed by those that took part in the Fleetmatics customer survey may reflect those of the vast majority of companies involved in the scaffolding sector. The features and potential benefits available to scaffolding firms that use a GPS vehicle tracking system, as we’ve seen from comments, are already helping them improve the security of their vehicles, goods and drivers, increase productivity, and reduce operational costs.