Mobile Resource Management Saves Contractors

July 30, 2007
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+

Today’s contractors know that knowledge is power. It is the power to increase profits, maintain employee relationships, and expand businesses. The raw and unfiltered information that yields this power, however, is often an overwhelming mess that leaves contractors’ technology usage immobilized and ineffective. With the proper tool though, contractors can filter the overwhelming mess and use the processed information to efficiently manage their fleet of service and installation vehicles.

KNOWLEDGE MEETS APPLICATION

“Knowledge is not enough; we must apply!” observed German writer and scientist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Vericom Technologies’ VeriVision™ solution is a comprehensive fleet management system that bridges the gap between knowledge and application. Utilizing a comprehensive and scalable data platform that combines GPS, wireless communications, and the Internet, VeriVision gathers data from vehicle and driver activity, wirelessly transmits the data, and then translates the data into an Internet accessible reporting system.

“Vericom’s Mobile Resource Management (MRM) solutions help HVAC contractors more efficiently manage their vehicle fleets, mobile workforces, and remote assets, resulting in a return on investment (ROI) via reduced operational costs and increased productivity,” said John Bjorn, president and CEO of Vericom Technologies Inc.

Utilizing a comprehensive and scalable data platform that combines GPS, wireless communications, and the Internet, VeriVision gathers data from vehicle and driver activity, wirelessly transmits the data, and then translates the data into an Internet accessible reporting system.

This three-part system plays an integral role in increasing fleet and mobile workforce productivity, security, and efficiency. It is commonly known that GPS technology allows contractors to track vehicle location 24/7. Combining sensor technology with GPS technology, however, opens new doors to vehicle information - literally. Vericom offers customized solutions through VeriVision that monitors door movement and provides notification if a door is not closed or if it is opened without authorization. This information may seem trivial, but when applied to the industry, contractors are able to know when and where someone is accessing the company’s products and tools, creating a simple theft alert system.

Other sensors are able to monitor power take-off (PTO). PTO is second engine activity that is triggered essentially when the vehicle goes into overdrive. These PTOs consume large quantities of gas and increase the chance of accidents. Contractors can legitimately monitor a technician’s driving habits and use the information to train employees in proper company vehicle operation. They can also give an insurance company documented proof that their technicians have safe driving habits.

With information yielding GPS and sensors involved in their daily lives, some technicians have raised concerns about “Big Brother” watching. At times, this puts a strain on the contractor-employee relationship. Once implemented, however, contractors and technicians are finding that GPS enhances their business relationships instead of hinders them.

“Vericom’s MRM solutions enable drivers/mobile workers to focus on their core skill sets, as processes like mileage and time cards can be automated,” said Bjorn. “MRM solutions also improve the work environment, allowing the driver/mobile worker's customer experience to be more positive.”

One contractor in Winter Park, Fla., has had a positive experience since implementing the VeriVision GPS system approximately two years ago. According to Crum’s Climate Control Inc.’s Pravin Deva, accountant, technicians were wary in the beginning stages but have since gotten used to the system and its intricacies.

“Initially there was a little discomfort, but now technicians accept the fact that the GPS system is in their trucks,” said Deva. “We are up front about our GPS implementation when technicians are hired. That is when the technician decides if working for us is right for them.”

Since using the system, Crum’s has found that there was a lot of unauthorized truck usage occurring.

“We suspected it,” said Deva, “but we couldn’t prove it. Now there is virtually no unauthorized use of our trucks. If employees need to use their trucks after hours, then they have to call and ask permission.”

ACCOUNTABILITY SAVES

Keeping technicians accountable is not the only benefit that Crum’s is experiencing after implementing Vericom’s technology. The company found that using the VeriVision GPS system is also beneficial to its bottom line. After doing quite a bit of research and seeing a live demonstration, the HVAC company chose VeriVision for its benefits, pricing, and available financing. Each of their trucks were outfitted with a GPS device underneath the dashboard, transparent to drivers. This device sends information via wireless communications to an Internet accessible Website that reports when the technician begins and ends work. Using this feature, Crum’s has saved approximately $800-$1,000 dollars in payroll a week.

“This may not seem like a lot of money, but we are a small company and this is great,” said Deva. “It can be difficult to rely on the accuracy of a busy technician, but with this system, there is no doubt, there are no grey areas. We can check what time employees started, which helps reduce our hours. Reduced hours means reduced payroll.”

Vericom’s solutions are not just beneficial to the HVAC contractor. Technicians also benefit from features such as time card management. Using a dash mounted card swipe, the time card management system allows the technician to “punch in” inside the vehicle, instead of having to drive into the shop every morning. This saves time, energy, resources, and the wear and tear on both the technician and the vehicle.

TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS

Contractors are often torn, especially during the busy season, between working in the business and working on the business. There is rarely enough time in the day to get everything done. Automated record keeping and reporting, however, can assist contractors in simplifying the day-to-day details. Vericom offers an automated maintenance system that tracks fleet vehicles and alerts designated parties when recorded maintenance items are due for action by monitoring months, miles, and/or engine hours. The International Fuel Tax Agreement Reporting/State Mileage feature calculates the number of miles a vehicle travels per state and assists organizations with reducing tax burdens by generating automated state mileage reports. According to the company, it increases accuracy, saves time, and eliminates driver paperwork.

Saving time and money and making HVAC businesses more efficient and accurate is what technology strives to accomplish. Bridging the gap between knowledge and application is another step towards these goals.

“Today, many fleet organizations with a mobile workforce have incorporated MRM solutions into their business as an everyday tool, and they are seeing the benefits,” noted Bjorn. “As businesses experience the economic value our MRM solutions provide and the positive impact they have on companies, the adoption rate will continue to rise.”

Publication date: 07/30/2007

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to The NEWS Magazine

Recent Articles by Angela Harris

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

2014 Energy Efficiency Forum

Highlights from the 25th annual Energy Efficiency Forum in Washington, D.C.

Podcasts

NEWSMakers: Mark Satterfield

Mark Satterfield, founder and CEO of Gentle Rain Marketing Inc. and author of “The One Week Marketing Plan” talks about his book and the importance of HVAC blogging. Posted on Sept. 19.

More Podcasts

ACHRNEWS

NEWS 09-15-14 cover

2014 September 15

Check out the weekly edition of The NEWS today!

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Venting R-22

The NEWS reported that a man received prison time for venting R-22. Should EPA step up enforcement?
View Results Poll Archive

HVACR INDUSTRY STORE

plumbing-hvac.gif
2014 National Plumbing & HVAC Estimator

Every plumbing and HVAC estimator can use the cost estimates in this practical manual!

More Products

Clear Seas Research

 

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications, Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

DON'T MISS A THING

Magazine image
 
Register today for complete access to ACHRNews.com. Get full access to the latest features, Extra Edition, and more.

STAY CONNECTED

facebook icontwitter iconyoutube iconLinkedIn i con