The Pandemic Might Have Scrambled Your Vehicle Replacement Plan. A GPS-Enabled Fleet Management System Can Help.

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The Pandemic Might Have Scrambled Your Vehicle Replacement Plan. A GPS-Enabled Fleet Management System Can Help.

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Supply chain issues have created headaches for plumbing contractors that go beyond the struggle to source fixtures and fittings in a white-hot new-construction market. If you were planning on replacing a vehicle that is nearing the end of it’s predicted service life, new vehicle shortages and record prices have made that math more painful than ever. And increases in the cost of consumables like fuel to tires have made every mile more expensive to drive.

But even if new vehicles aren’t in your short-term plan, you can reduce the risk and expense that can come from an aging fleet. With a fleet management system like GPS Trackit, you can get real-time data on everything from vehicle location to fuel consumption to driver behavior. Easy-to-use reporting helps you identify and prioritize the care and maintenance actions that solve small problems before they become larger. GPS Trackit’s system can base alert notifications on mileage, time and hour intervals, and cover components like fluids, braking and electrical systems, tires, belts and hoses, steering, and lights. Automated service reminders mean your vehicle maintenance plan — including regular inspection, service and repair — can be set-it-and-forget-it easy.

Let’s look at some of the ways a fleet management system can help.

Decreased vehicle downtime

Tyrell Steffen of Classic Installs in Wildomar, California, manages a nationwide network of crews installing commercial kitchens — everything from plumbing to lighting to electrical. With extended lead times for raw materials and tight installation windows, he can’t afford extended vehicle downtime. “We’re a turnkey industry, so every day we’re moving to the next point,” Steffen says. “Being able to catch a problem when it’s only a minor hour or two inconveniences for our guys to get it taken care of by a mechanic compared to the van being down for three or four days? That saves us a lot of money.” 

In a survey of field service management businesses, an out-of-commission vehicle costs an average of nearly $800 in lost revenue per day of downtime, and that’s before considering the additional cost of a larger repair that could have been avoided with preventive maintenance.

Reduced vehicle wear and tear

The data from a monitor like GPS Trackit comes directly from the vehicle’s engine management system, which means you can track and coach drivers out of aggressive driving behaviors like hard stops, starts and turns. Less aggressive driving means reduced wear and tear on vehicles, fewer accidents, and less expensive repairs when an incident does happen.

Fleet vehicles that have been rigorously serviced on a preventive maintenance schedule can get an additional 100,000 miles from their effective service life, and better-maintained vehicles have a higher residual value when you’re selling or trading in.

Improved fuel economy

The easiest dollars to find from better maintenance through fleet management software? The improvement in fuel economy achieved by fully maintained vehicles. Simply following a schedule monitoring proper tire inflation, fluid replacement and spark plug life can increase fuel economy by 10%. The average GPS Trackit client with a 10-truck fleet can see savings of more than $4,000 in fuel costs alone, by using a device that costs less than a cup of coffee a day per vehicle.

Better driver safety

GPS tracking data makes building efficient routing plans for your crews easy. Better routing means fewer miles driven per truck per day — and fewer miles means less driver risk. Combine fewer miles on the road with better ways to monitor and coach drivers for safer and more efficient driving, and you have a recipe for fewer incidents, less potential for driver injury, reduced vehicle damage repair costs and more attractive fleet insurance rates.

Of the crashes caused by vehicle failure, more than 50% were related to tire and brake issues — two vehicle systems that are straightforward to inspect, maintain and repair on an automated schedule.

A fleet management system is a powerful tool for increasing efficiency and saving money, but what it really does is create peace of mind. When your vehicles are at their best, your routing and deployment is more predictable. That translates into customers that are happier because you’re able to provide quality, on-time service. 


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