Follow Your Fleet

SkyBitz’s Local Fleets provides a variety of options in one fleet-tracking system.
Follow Your Fleet
Ken Borowski, a regional sales manager with SkyBitz, discusses the program with attendees at the 2016 WWETT Show. Local Fleets can be used to dispatch more efficiently, reduce fuel expenses and verify payroll hours by tracking job-stop time. (Photo by Cory Dellenbach)

When your business has a lot of vehicles on the road, it’s important to stay in the know on their whereabouts.

Good fleet-tracking software provides many efficiencies that can improve your bottom line: Ensuring you dispatch the closest vehicle to a service call or monitoring drivers’ idling time, for example. That’s where fleet-tracking software like SkyBitz’s Local Fleets can help. The company showcased its product at the 2016 Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment & Transport Show.

“We like to say that we watch the fleet so you can watch your business,” says Amy Ward, regional sales director for SkyBitz. “That’s our tagline and it’s true with the way the system is set up. Once the data is flowing, it’s autopilot from there.”

A hardwired GPS device is installed in each vehicle, and from there the Local Fleets software can produce a number of different reports or provide valuable information in real time. It can be integrated with dispatch to give turn-by-turn directions to a service call, or tailored to provide a number of different alerts such as preventive maintenance reminders.

“We also have an app for mobile devices so you can see where the trucks are while on the go. And a lot of the information we collect can be emailed directly to the end user,” Ward says. “As far as user friendliness, it’s really simple, very automated and easy to manage the data.”

Ward says a majority of Local Fleets customers use the system to dispatch more efficiently, reduce fuel expenses through route planning and the monitoring of idling time, and verify payroll hours by tracking job-stop time. But there are other benefits as well. Local Fleets has been on the market for about 15 years, and the most recent upgrades have focused on providing data about driver behavior.

“It’s more than just a dot on the map now,” Ward says. “In the last couple years, it’s been more about driver safety and how people are performing behind the wheel. There’s an accelerometer inside the GPS unit and that is what allows us to tell how hard someone is pressing on the gas or the brake, or how fast they’re going around a corner.”

Ward says that data can be used to create a report showing how many instances of hard braking, acceleration or cornering a driver has had in a given amount of time. It can also be used to produce a graphical display of a company’s safest and least safe drivers.

“Not only do our customers want to use the system to verify time in and time out, they also want to make sure their employees are driving the vehicles as if the boss was in the passenger seat next to them,” Ward says. “Nobody wants to receive calls from community members about a driver speeding or driving erratically. The driver behavior feature can be used to give customers confidence in their brand, confidence that their company is not causing any issues on the roadway.”

Local Fleets is scalable, so customers can start with basic vehicle tracking and add features later as needs change. Tracking other assets (heavy equipment or non-powered assets such as trailers and containers) is also available with everything viewable in the same Web-based application. One feature Ward says distinguishes Local Fleets from other tracking systems is the E-Log function — digital driver logs that allow users to more easily track hours of service in order to maintain DOT compliance. “That is one feature that I think we have a handle on that not all providers offer yet,” she says.

Backing the Local Fleets hardware and software is a department dedicated solely to customer support and helping companies find success using the system.

“It’s not as if a customer signs up, we get their money and that’s it,” Ward says. “We want our customers to see the full value behind the system and we’ll support them throughout the time that they’re our customer.”

Plumbing companies are only a portion of SkyBitz’s target market, which is diverse. Any company with a mobile fleet can benefit from the type of data Local Fleets compiles, Ward says. That’s why SkyBitz has had a fairly consistent presence at the WWETT Show in recent years.

“Almost every single company here — even some of the exhibitors — has a mobile fleet, so the show gets us in front of a lot of different companies,” Ward says. “And the traffic is always good at the show. It makes sense to come every year.”


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