Dan Catterall, Market Research Manager at Quartix, looks at the benefits that vehicle tracking can bring to electricians.
Smart technology has become ubiquitous in our lives because it can deliver convenience and cost savings.
At home, you may have a gas and electricity meter that can digitally send meter readings to your energy supplier for more accurate and lower energy bills, or perhaps an app-controlled kettle to remotely boil water. At work, you likely use your smart phone to check-in with co-workers and customers, order parts for a job, or look up product specs.
For electrical contracting companies, the adoption of technology such as GPS vehicle tracking not only offers convenience and cost savings, but it also helps improve customer service and employee recognition.
Work without distraction
At its core, vehicle tracking pinpoints vehicles on online maps in real-time or over a defined period, freeing electricians to focus on their work without distraction from office staff inquiring where they are and how long they’ve been on-site. Additionally, some vehicle-tracking solutions also offer online timesheets, daily route reports, driving-safety analysis, and maintenance-tracking tools. These features can benefit owners, electricians, and customers alike.
Cost savings on paperwork
With online timesheets and data on shift time, driving time, time at a work site, mileage, and fuel usage, office managers can process pay, overtime, and fuel claims faster and more accurately than ever before. Fig 1 highlights key data accessible with some vehicle-tracking solutions available today.
Tracking data also provides a better picture of how long certain jobs typically take, thereby helping office managers improve quoting, optimise staff allocation, and decide whether to accept or refer service requests based on available resources and potential profit. Managers can also ensure electricians’ vehicles are appropriately equipped, certified, and safe by leveraging maintenance-tracking tools.
Tracking data helps owners reduce false overtime and fuel claims, while at the same time reassuring electricians that they will receive the mileage and overtime due to them without having to fight for it. For example, imagine an electrician puts in a fuel claim or overtime hours that are higher than anticipated. A quick check can confirm whether the claims align with miles travelled and time at job sites. Alternatively, imagine an electrician is assigned a job that was reported as simple, but turned out to be larger than expected. Tracking data can help support the electrician’s overtime requests.
Tracking data may also come into play if a customer disputes a bill, such as by asserting a job was completed faster than the bill reflects. Data showing when the vehicle was at the customer’s site can help reconcile any discrepancy.
Safer and cheaper travel
Many solutions also offer tools for digging down into the details of a vehicle’s routes travelled and driving metrics (speed, acceleration, braking, and idling) – key factors influencing both safety and costs.
Using vehicle data, driving can be scored and safety programs can be established to track, or even incentivise, better driving. With improved driving, not only are electricians safer, but insurance costs can be reduced due to fewer traffic violations and accident repairs.
Savings can also be attained through fuel-cost reduction by:
- optimising driving routes,
- eliminating personal use of vehicles,
- restricting travel to designated areas,
- reducing speeding, and
- cutting back on unnecessary idling.
Route and speed data can even be used to exonerate electricians who may be subject to false claims, for which business vehicles are often an easy target. Imagine an electrician is accused of speeding down a narrow lane or clipping a parked car’s mirror, when in fact the van wasn’t even on the road at that time.
Location pinpointing can also provide peace of mind to electricians as they venture alone into new locations. For example, if a customer reports an electrician hasn’t arrived, the vehicle can be located and assistance sent in case of accident or illness.
Improved customer service
All of these benefits of vehicle tracking eventually trickle down to customers via:
- More accurate arrival time and cost estimates,
- Faster emergency response by properly equipped vans,
- More precise billing,
- Safer roads in the community.
Finding your solution
Despite its benefits, adopting vehicle-tracking technology may still seem daunting to an overworked business owner. Luckily, solutions are available that are both easy-to-use and reasonably priced.
One leading provider – Quartix – has delivered real-time vehicle-tracking and telematics solutions for over 16 years. Nearly 10,000 small- to mid-size businesses have chosen Quartix because it offers:
- tiered pricing options that let them select the level of functionality they need,
- shorter contracts that don’t require multi-year commitment,
- contracts that do not auto-renew,
- customer service by experts invested in their success.
To learn how Quartix can help you better serve your business, your electricians, and your customers visit www.quartix.net