Convinced, after tabulating fuel expenses, that your techs drive their vans like race cars? Worry no more. Fleet management systems on the market — capable of monitoring fuel use and vehicle performance, mapping the most direct route to the next job, tracking vehicle locations and even critiquing techs’ driving habits — allow managers to ensure service vehicles run at optimal efficiency.
According to the Zonar Systems, the City of Sacramento, Calif., installed the company’s products in 400 city-owned vehicles, saving about $60,000 every month in fuel costs. Granted, the size of Sacramento’s fleet dwarfs SMB service operations, but with ever-increasing gas prices — expected to average $3.17 nationally in 2011 — the software promises to take a sizeable chunk out of operating costs.
Telogis, another cloud-based fleet management software provider, offers a similar product to track fleet location, performance and even curb fuel theft — admittedly, a more pressing concern in the trucking industry, with diesel theft running upwards $1 billion every year. A basic package costs about $475 to install in every vehicle, with a $35 monthly fee for every service selected, whether GPS tracking, fuel efficiency monitoring or the like.
The products give managers insight into an array of intel on their fleet’s vehicles, locations, routes, fuel consumption, idle time, even GPS-enabled check-in systems, intended for child monitoring on school busses, but perhaps applicable to the ultra-concerned manager.