Equipment Industry Spotlight
Automatic Vehicle Locator (AVL) Technology – A Great Productivity Tool
Automatic Vehicle Locator (AVL) technology allows you know where your vehicles are in real time or at end-of-day. Some of the reasons for implementing this are to address problems before they become significant. See if your company fits.
- Driver is doing business on the side.
- Your truck, parts and labor costs are being used by the driver to clean portable toilets for "special customers" or pump septic tanks at a "reduced rate based upon cash payment."
- Your drivers always seem to take 10-12 hours a day to finish the work. Obligated overtime even during off-season.
- Company vehicles are being used after-hours, on your fuel and operating maintenance costs, for employees' "personal jobs."
- Vehicle and drivers disappear during the middle of the work day, "out of cell phone coverage."
- Breaks and clutches have to be replaced at a higher rate then needed and your drivers claim to "never speed."
- Once my trucks leave the yard, who knows what happens?
- Drivers are having a group meeting at the local diner, unfortunately you’re not invited.
- Your vehicles are always on, even when parked.
All are good valid business reasons to implement AVL technology in your company – good, but not the right business reason. All the above are exceptions to the general vehicle activity, the 1-3 percent of the day that gets your attention because you typically get upset when hearing that your driver is speeding or has violated your trust by doing business on the side.
- The other 97 percent of the time, AVL can make a big difference in you costs and vehicle productivity. Yes, you can:
- Reduce your operating costs
- Lower road use tax (depends on vehicle and state)
- Lower fuel consumption (idling time)
- Longer intervals on part replacement (reduced speeding)
- Reduced insurance costs (contact your agent)
- Lower overtime (see where vehicles are parked so driver can nap until he has to show up at the office)
- Improve vehicle productivity
- Exceptions are the rule. Since you know where your vehicles are, your company can redirect the correct vehicle to the exception and not have to make a special trip to get the job done. This is a BIG MONEY SAVER, because sending a truck and a driver do to anything can cost over $100.00 per hour and that’s for a pickup.
- Visually seeing the planned and actual route on a map can improve work assignment by 10-25 percent. You know the estimated run rate (how long it will take to do the work) so you can keep the vehicle busy.
And now for the big winner: improved office productivity. Think about this: 100 percent of all your work, customer problems, invoicing and receivables come through your office staff. AVL allows the office staff and your drivers to work together to deal with many issues throughout the day.
- Outraged customers who think they have been wronged. The office staff has a thorough and up-to-date vehicle history and can tell a customer exactly when a unit was serviced.
- Situations when a driver is needed at a site as quickly as possible. Since the office staff knows where the vehicles are, they can make informed choices on who to send to the customer (instead of having to page, cell phone and ask all the drivers where they are). This results in giving the customer the highest level of service, while the office staff and driver feel that they are doing a "good job." If you think this is not a big issue, talk to the office and ask how the drivers feel about being sent out of their way, when another driver was closer.
We have seen that AVL is actually a tool with many business benefits. Some people will mistakenly equate vehicle tracking with employee tracking, but implementing this technology will actually reduce costs, and boost productivity and office morale. There is no better feeling than to be effective and productive, and with the knowledge of the vehicle’s location and history, drivers, staff and customers will all benefit.
About the author
Joel Smith, of Clear Computing, Inc., is a business consultant and software designer for the waste industry. He has consulted with large and small companies on the use of technology to improve their productivity and operations since 1988. Call Joel at 732-747-0113 ext 100, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his companys website at www.clearcomputing.com.