Telematics offers benefits to fleets of all sizes. For many companies, this data is completely new to management and can help paint a clearer picture of the fleet or even form new policies.

Work Truck reached out to fleet managers with successful telematics programs that reduced fuel usage, improved vehicle mileage, and lowered costs for their companies.

Poolsure Finds Savings with Dynamic Routing

<p>With telematics, Poolsure was able to change drivers&rsquo; routes in real time and take on more customers, increasing market share and boosting profits without additional fuel costs. <em>(Photo: Poolsure)</em></p>

Industry: Water Treatment
Headquarters: Houston

Poolsure offers chemical treatment products and related services for commercial aquatic facilities across the Gulf Coast. The company has a fleet of about 100 trucks, including tanker trucks and light-duty pickups. But, the largest portion of the fleet is Poolsure’s 62 heavy-duty trucks used for chemical delivery.

Safety was the driving factor when the company decided to install Telogis telematics in 2013 — it had two major incidents — but Poolsure also found success with the system’s routing options. Alan Falik took over as president of the company in 2014 and knew better routing practices would also help the company.

“I come from a banking background so I knew that, as we grew, we had to have a better way to route our trucks to plan for daily and weekly activities,” Falik said. “In the past, we had static master routes and it was very hard to really manage our fleet, where they were going, and what deliveries they were making.”

ADVICE FROM THE FIELD: “Start small with a goal in mind and don’t be overwhelmed by the amount of data that telematics can give you,” said Alan Falik, president of Poolsure.

With telematics, the company is able to see what its trucks are doing and can arrange routes to meet immediate needs. This also helps the company add new customers along routes more easily.

“The incremental cost of adding new products and new customers in current markets has been lowered significantly because we’re able to add them to our routes,” he said.

As of late 2017, Poolsure’s annual revenue was up 48% over 2013’s revenue. With more information on the markets served, the company was able to take on new customers and offer more services — including a water treatment division. But, thanks to more efficient routing, mileage has only increased 11%.

“We signed up for Telogis and have been able to significantly grow our top line; however, our gasoline costs have remained stagnant, which also means the number of trucks and the number of employees hasn’t increased at the same level our revenues are. We’re able to do more with our current assets and current employees, which means we’re able to keep rewarding our drivers and make sure that we can invest in the safety of our trucks,” said Falik.

The company reached its safety goals as well. Since adopting telematics, Poolsure’s insurance costs have decreased and they have gone three years in a row with no reportable accidents.

Garner Trucking Embraces Proactive Fleet Management

<p>Adopting telematics allowed Garner Trucking to collect more information on its fleet. <em>(Photo: Whitton Companies)</em></p>

Industry: Logistics
Headquarters: Findlay, Ohio

Garner Trucking hauls general commodities throughout the Great Lakes and some southeast states in the U.S. The logistics company has a fleet of 96 Class 8 tractors and 346 box trailers.

Through telematics, Garner has become proactive instead of reactive when it comes to fleet management.

ADVICE FROM THE FIELD: "Telematics is another tool that enables you to stay ahead of your competition. You cannot fix what you are not aware of," said James Husted, director of maintenance for Garner Trucking.

“There are situations where the shop foreman knows there is an issue with a truck before the driver becomes aware there is a problem. We are then able to decide if the unit must have immediate attention or if it is able to finish a run before it goes to a shop for repair,” said James Husted, director of maintenance for Garner Trucking.

Using the data collected by telematics, management can also identify problems, coach drivers, and, ultimately, help the bottom line.

“In real time, I can call up reports that give me details such as idle time as a percentage of total run time, and what percentage does the driver use cruise control in high gear,” Husted said. “Before telematics, we had to wait until we had the truck at the shop and were coaching drivers weeks, even months after they showed poor performance.”

Whitton Companies Cuts Down on Idling

<p>Managing field units can be a challenge, especially when the company offers many different services. Whitton Companies uses telematics to track vehicles, decreasing idling and keeping employees honest. <em>(Photo: Whitton Companies)</em></p>

Industry: Construction and Home Services
Headquarters: Mesa, Ariz.

Whitton Companies was not interested in reinventing the wheel. The company offers framing, concrete, and plumbing services for new home construction and plumbing services for homeowners.

When choosing a telematics solution, the construction company wanted something that allowed management to communicate with workers in the field while integrating with those existing systems. After testing multiple options, Matt Nielsen, director of information technology, said he went with GPS Insight because it integrated with the company’s GPS hardware. He also chose the company because it was local.

“I enjoyed the fact that they were in Arizona and that I could go down and talk to them if I need to,” he said. “They have local people that can take care of problems if I have any. I can quickly get replacement parts and they have a good warranty.”

Whitton installed 116 telematics units across its fleet of smaller pickups through Class 4, medium-duty trucks. The system is effective, and Nielsen said he plans to install additional units in the company’s forklifts.

ADVICE FROM THE FIELD: “I wasn’t looking for a system that would just be another piece of software, but something I could integrate with to build and communicate with our drivers," said Matt Nielsen, director of information technology for Whitton Companies

One major factor in Whitton Companies’ fuel use is idling. Arizona is home to the hottest city in the U.S., and it can be difficult to convince drivers to turn their vehicle off when it’s 100 degrees outside. The company receives weekly idle reports from its telematics provider, and management meets with drivers to remind them to limit idling when possible.

Finding return on investment (ROI) was not difficult. The company has found the most savings in time card adjustments. Before, payroll depended solely on employees’ time cards which were entered manually. With telematics, management can cross reference time cards with data.

“When we see a driver come into the office and they write down on their time card that they worked until 5:00 p.m. but their vehicle was parked at the office at 4:00 p.m., we know that their time card is not correct and we’ll make adjustments to that,” Nielsen said.

He has not seen any pushback from employees; time cards now include a disclaimer that hours will be verified by telematics data. Whitton has seen savings of $100,000 per year on time card adjustments alone.

Dutch Maid Uses Fuel Data to Incentivize Drivers

In order to make a lasting change, Dutch Maid created incentives to get drivers to improve their...

In order to make a lasting change, Dutch Maid created incentives to get drivers to improve their behavior on the road. The company trained drivers on the importance of safe driving, which greatly increased trucks’ mileage. (Photo: Dutch Maid)

Industry: Logistics
Headquarters: Willard, Ohio

Telematics collect a lot of data to help companies better understand their drivers. But, how do you use that data to create a lasting change?

For Dutch Maid Logistics, the solution was a program that targets driver behavior.

After learning that Omnitracs’ system came pre-installed on Dutch Maid’s trucks, Jeff Brown, director of training and recruiting, created a program that saves on fuel, improves driver safety, and extends the life of Dutch Maid’s trucks.

“The better they drive the more fuel bonus they can earn. Almost immediately we noticed not only did the fuel mileage get better, but we started seeing our equipment last longer,” Brown said.

Brown consulted OEMs to learn the optimal conditions to drive the fleet’s trucks and trained drivers on proper driving techniques.

“These trucks are so different than they used to be even 10-12 years ago, especially with the new automatics,” Brown said. “Taking the quality time to teach a guy the parameters that these things should be driven under is the key and the only investment is your time.”

ADVICE FROM THE FIELD: “The best investment is simply time well spent with drivers," said Jeff Brown, director of training and recruiting for Dutch Maid.

Using telematics data, Brown showed drivers that small changes could make a big difference.

“We consider anything over 68 mph an over-speed. One driver would have 8-10 hours of over-speed and by the end of the week, he would average maybe 50 mph. I can show him a driver that sets his cruise control on 62, has hardly any time over 65, and averages 52 mph a week, 2-3 miles faster than the guy who thinks he’s doing better by speeding and over-speeding,” Brown said.

During the test period, the fleet went from an average of 6.2 miles per gallon to 6.5 miles per gallon. Since the program became available to all drivers, mileage has continued to improve. In 2017, it was up to 7.45 mpg.
The program is not mandatory. But, once drivers see the results (and bonuses), they gain interest.

“I had a husband-wife team, and the wife had gone through our training but the husband did not. He was getting 6.7 mpg but she was getting 8.3 in the same truck,” Brown said. “That opened our eyes a lot, so we brought the husband in and within a few months he was getting 8.1-8.3 and that’s huge savings, especially in the course of a year. You’re talking another $5,000-8,000 per driver.”

Brown started with 30 of the company’s 131 drivers in the program, and last quarter, 80 drivers received a fuel bonus.

Not only did the company see savings, but Brown said drivers are also happier and less stressed while on the job.

“I had one guy who had been driving for several years and when it came time for his break he would have to take a sleeping pill because he was so wired from the day of white-knuckle driving,” Brown said. “Within five or six months of driving like this, he said for the first time in 33 years he doesn’t have to take a sleeping pill to relax. He can just go to bed and get eight hours of sleep and the next day he gets up and feels great, so much so that he’s decided to stay longer and drive.” 

Originally posted on Work Truck Online

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