ACHRNEWS

Report Shows GPS Benefits Service Companies

August 17, 2009

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Keeping down vehicle expenses is an ongoing task for HVAC contractors. According to GPS Insight, a supplier of GPS tracking hardware and software solutions for commercial and municipal fleets, service organizations are turning to GPS-enabled service workforce and fleet management solutions to improve their efficiencies, maintain or improve customer satisfaction, and control costs.

According to GPS Insight, these firms are actively looking to increase visibility into all service resources via GPS. This was borne out in a report titled “Service Workforce and Fleet Management: Driving Utilization with Location Intelligence,” published by the Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks company.

Randy Seaman, president of Seaman’s Heating and Air Conditioning, Grand Rapids, Mich., said the company installed GPS systems in January of 2009. “All our trucks go home each night with the drivers.” The fleet consists of 21 E-250 Ford Econoline vans, two Ford F-150 pickups, and two cars.

The contractor is far from being alone in installing GPS. “Organizations responding to the research indicate that they currently monitor and track the location of 35 percent of their workers and 47 percent of their vehicles,” said Sumair Dutta, senior research analyst, Aberdeen Group. “This is up from averages of 23 percent for workers and 35 percent for vehicles in 2008, with indications of further investments in 2010.”

What does it mean? According to Dutta’s interpretation, it means the value offered by GPS-enabled tracking, navigation, and routing helps service businesses deal with cost containment and customer management pressures.

MANAGEMENT TIPS

Eric Knaak, VP of Service for Isaac Heating & Air Conditioning, Rochester, N.Y., offered these GPS-specific tips for efficient fleet management:

• Stop thinking about it; use GPS tracking and navigation systems.

• Limit idle time (via the GPS). “A Chevy V6 uses approximately 1 gallon of gas per 1 hour of idle,” he said.

• Monitor speed (via the GPS).

Firms that responded to the GPS Insight survey indicated they have seen the following average improvements in key service performance indicators since the adoption of GPS-enabled solutions:

• 25 percent saw a reduction in idle times.

• 32 percent saw an increase in fleet utilization.

• 22 percent saw a decrease in fuel costs and a 31 percent drop in daily mileage.

• 23 percent saw a boost in workforce productivity.

The report also finds that leading service organizations are nearly two times as likely as all others to be leveraging fleet management applications, and more than three times as likely to be using intelligent routing systems. In addition, leading firms are significantly more likely to actively integrate captured location information and intelligence into their field service scheduling and parts management systems, driving overall service delivery efficiency.

GPS Insight said it will provide a complimentary copy of this report to interested individuals. For more information, visit www.gpsinsight.com.

Publication date: 08/17/2009