Beyond reducing costs and increasing customer satisfaction, both of which affect the bottom line, better fleet management also decreases the possibility of missed sales opportunities. What if a customer refuses a delivery while simultaneously another customer is calling in an order for those very same products only to be told, "Sorry, we are out of stock"? If every action was updated in real time, that refused delivery could be turned into a sale.
BM Technologies, an equipment rental company in Frisco, Texas, uses a wireless fleet system with GPS (Global Positioning System) from InterTrak Tracking Services (www.trackmenow.com).
BM had a problem with drivers showing up late for deliveries, not returning to headquarters on time, and asking for a lot of overtime, according to Edward Muldowney, InterTrak president.
The company opted for the InterTrak system, sometimes referred to by Muldowney as a "tattletale system," and notified all the drivers that the trucks now would be tracked. The system allows the company to know where each truck is and, if not moving, how long it has been at a single location. BM's overtime rate was cut by 50 percent. Enough said.
InterTrak charges $850 per unit plus a per-unit fee of $5.95 per month for the service, which it manages as an ASP (application service provider) service.
Recovery of stolen heavy equipment is yet another use for telemetry. Everything from tractors to commercial generators often disappear from construction sites.
"One construction company steals from another," Muldowney said, but the real loser is the leasing company that owns the equipment.
The 7-inch by 5-inch by 0.5-inch device can be hidden on the equipment, and the GPS log of the equipment's movement and location is admissible evidence in a court of law, Muldowney said.
Finally, Roy Eder, vice president of business development at AT Road, in Fremont, Calif., tells us Pepsico Bottling and TakeOut Taxi use his company's wireless location-finding technology to reduce training time for drivers, fuel costs, and maintenance and to increase customer satisfaction. AT Road (www.road.com) charges about $400 per unit per vehicle and about $40 per month per device for the service.
If you have any examples of how technology, especially wireless, is being used to reduce costs or increase sales, send an e-mail to email@example.com.