Construction Fleets Get Connected

April 30, 2013

Fleet management is no longer just for the big construction companies. The technology is providing significant value in the form of fuel savings, among others. How much? One construction company discovered the tech can help save 180 gallons of fuel a week.

Midwest Underground Technology, www.mutionline.com, Champaign, Ill., is a telecommunications construction company with a fleet of 84 vehicles. After implementing a new GPS tracking solution, Midwest Underground Technology soon discovered it had a major idling problem.

In only seven days, the company’s trucks had idled more than 259 hours and 52 minutes, burning more than 180 gallons of fuel. Once this was discovered, new rules were put in place regarding idling. For Midwest Underground Technology, this can help save nearly $40,000 a year just in fuel savings.

This construction company isn’t alone either. Many construction companies are likely losing money on idling as well. Data shows vehicles operating without a fleet-management solution will idle for roughly 96 minutes per day.

This is according to recent research from Fleetmatics Group, www.fleetmatics.com, Wellesley Hills, Mass., a provider of GPS solutions. What’s more, only 3.1 million or 17% of all local commercial vehicles have implemented a fleet-management solution.

In addition to fuel savings, fleet-management technology tracks vehicle activity and behavior of drivers, giving owners visibility and insights to adjust processes, ultimately resulting in improved customer service and a better bottomline.

The technology for fleets continues to advance too, offering construction business owners more than just a means to track vehicles. The technology can also integrate with backoffice processes such as timekeeping.

For example, GPSTrackIt.com, www.gpstrackit.com, Temecula, Calif., a provider of GPS tracking and location-based services, recently expanded its offerings, introducing a new key fob for fleet drivers. This device enables fleet managers to better manage timekeeping by keeping track of which driver is in which vehicle.

Eddie Ramirez, product manager, GPSTrackIt.com, explains each device is an electromagnetic ‘key,’ with a 16-digit code associated with it. Each driver has a key that is placed into the vehicle’s electrical system. This enables fleet managers to have multiple drivers assigned to the same vehicle. Additionally, when the driver uses the key fob to identify themselves, it also registers a ‘clock in’ on the system’s time clock. This enables the backoffice to verify time cards.

Beyond cost savings and integrating the fleet with the backoffice, another consideration when it comes to tech in the vehicles is safe driving. These days, drivers of any vehicle have many distractions. Technology might be the solution to prevent distracted drivers in fleets. An upcoming session at the Connected World Conference, June 10-13, will run through some examples of how connected devices and M2M are at the heart of curbing distracted driving within fleets.

For construction companies, fleet management technology can provide a number of benefits from cost savings to increased efficiencies between the vehicles and the backoffice. Now might be the right time to discover how the tech can push business processes further.