September 4, 2007
Seventy-five-year-old Vito Plumbing servescommercial and residential HVAC and plumbing customers in northern Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, and covers many miles each day with its 50-vehicle fleet.
Jim Vito, company president, says maintaining his successful business is an
everyday commitment. A year ago, Vito Plumbing was using a ‘passive’ global-positioning system, downloading each vehicle’s activity log when it returned to Rockville, Md., headquarters. The information was often at least a day old.
Vito said he knew that the GPS tracking benefited his fleet operations, but he wanted real-time mobile-resource management. The software, which makers say goes far beyond locating vehicles, helps organizations better manage their remote vehicles, assets and mobile work force, resulting in increased productivity and reduced operational costs.
After considering several bids, Vito selected a Vericom Technologies product. He said he chose Vericom “due to their excellent customer support, attention to detail and effective reporting system.”
BenefitsUnderstanding the challenges involved with introducing new software to his drivers, Vito talked about the system’s benefits.
“We received a reduction in insurance of a few thousand dollars, simply for using a GPS vehicle-tracking solution,” he said. “We use the system to manage our mobile work force, but are careful not to nit-pick our drivers. Just by knowing it’s there, our drivers tend to go more by the book.”
Installing it took about 20 minutes per vehicle.
“Vericom was very accommodating, taking the initiative to install vehicles at multiple locations, avoiding any downtime,” Vito said.
The benefits far outweigh the costs, he added.
“We gained instant access into our fleet and drivers’ activity, specifically drivers who take their vehicles home. My team has reduced unauthorized night and weekend driving, as well as fuel costs and overtime,” Vito said. “We’ve also been able to reduce speeding episodes, increasing safety and gas mileage.”
By using Vericom’s mapping and reporting system, company officials can view their fleet’s information from any device with Internet access at any time. This flexible design allows for easy information retrieval.
Helps rural contractorsAnother Maryland company, Moon Services, a 22-year-old plumbing and HVAC business in Elkton, supports rural communities from Baltimore to Philadelphia. Due to their rural service areas, maintaining knowledge of his fleet’s daily activities is imperative for company President Steve Moon.
As a result, the mobile software from Vericom Technologies has become a valuable daily business tool, helping Moon Services better manage its vehicles and employees.
Moon’s interest in the software came from wanting “to increase customer retention and to have a reliable tool that could easily and clearly resolve customer disputes.”
Based on his calculations, Moon’s business was “losing over $20,000 a year due to unnecessary overtime and customer disputes that could not be rectified.”
He already had a GPS system, but was dissatisfied with its reliability and the company’s support services, so he decided to take another look at other fleet-management products.
After re-bidding the job, the company chose Vericom Technologies.
“Due to Vericom’s responsive, high-quality customer care and service reliability, we knew they were the best choice for Moon,” Steve Moon said. “Creating an excellent customer experience is our No. 1 priority. We have no company and no future without our employees and our customers.”
Vericom worked with company officials to ensure that each installation didn’t slow down business. The majority of the fleet was installed on a Saturday.
Talks helpLike Jim Vito at Vito Plumbing, Moon wanted to avoid the “Big Brother” issues sometimes associated with installing vehicle-tracking systems.
He decided to be straightforward and put a positive spin on the system. He communicated to his workers that the Vericom software “ensures that all drivers are paid what they’re owed and relieves them of manually tracking their vehicle’s maintenance.”
Moon is such a believer that he informs all potential employees during their interview that they’ll be working under fleet-management software.
He uses the software to motivate workers through incentives and contests. For example, drivers that arrive to work on time qualify for prizes.
It’s saved money, Moon said.
“(The software) reduced overtime by 12 to 15 hours per week, saving over $1,500 per month and $18,000 per year,” he said. “Additionally, with better routing, reduced speeding episodes and more timely maintenance, each driver saves a tank of gas per month.”
Keeping in touchThe software also tackled one of Moon’s major concerns - receiving driver information in rural areas. With Vericom’s system, the GPS tracking unit captures and stores mobile work force activity while the vehicle is out of wireless coverage range and sends it when the vehicle is back in covered areas.
A year after installing the system, Moon Services officials are very pleased. Steve Moon not only achieved his primary objectives of increasing customer retention and decreasing customer disputes, but he has also increased his fleet’s efficiency and reduced expenses.
This article and its images were supplied by Vericom Technologies, a Columbia, Md.-based manufacturer of fleet-management software.