024 HPM 1012

HPM October 2012

BUSINESSFEATURE WWW.HPMMAG.COM Got a story? Ring us on 01732 748041 or e-mail twood@unity-media.com ‘An incredibly powerful business tool’ More and more heating and plumbing contractors are turning to vehicle tracking technology to help them run their businesses more effectively, as Chris McClellan, from RAM Tracking, explains... Vprotect their vehicles from theft and asking for arrival times and when an engineer isability to plan site visits more efficiently, servicelevels have also improved. Customers can nowbe informed of an engineer’s exact location whenehicle tracking technology is nothingnew – for many years heating andplumbing firms have been using it to reduce vehicle insurance costs. But recent running late or is delayed by traffic, the software developments within the technology have makes it easy to keep customers informed. opened up a whole host of new applications for Just a few months after installation, directors the industry. The benefits extend throughout all are already thinking of new applications for the areas of business from improving customer tracking and plan to use the wealth of accurate service to reducing administrative processes. data within the system to compile employee While many industries are enjoying the benefits timesheets. It is anticipated that by using of vehicle tracking, the technology is particularly technology to complete administrative tasks, the useful for the heating and plumbing industry RAM Tracking screens help managers track staff efficiencies of engineers and the payroll team where engineers spend large parts of their day ‘on will be further streamlined by at least 5%. the road’ and managers must find ways to oversee are effectively communicated, employees do not Leicester-based NMF Plumbing Installations and protect their staff from a distance. see the system as an intrusive ‘big brother’ tool. similarly utilise tracking to verify and approve all With the software in place, managers are Instead they enjoy seeing their efficiencies timesheets and prevent excessive overtime from armed with a wealth of data to help them make improve and appreciate the added transparency being claimed. the right decisions throughout the day. and protection the technology brings. For Scheduling becomes more straightforward as it is instance, thanks to its ability to instantly pinpoint CONGESTION CHARGING ZONE easy to see which engineer is closest to a the whereabouts of each vehicle, tracking offers The tracking technology also proactively alerts particular job and driver overlap can be avoided. enhanced engineer security. They gain the peace director Paula French when an engineer enters a Perhaps one of the most important factors in of mind that if something should go wrong, their congestion charging zone. Before the system was building a successful plumbing and heating firm manager can quickly locate them. fitted she was finding that busy employees were is developing a reputation for first-class customer Vehicle tracking also supports drivers by forgetting to tell her they’d entered the zones, service. Tracking technology helps companies showing how long they were at a particular perhaps to pick up a part from a merchant. What achieve this by providing key data that allows location. If a customer misjudges how long an should have been a standard £8 charge for one managers and staff to keep customers updated engineer has been on-site, for example, stating visit would then cost the company £60-120 due with accurate arrival times as to when an they were only at a job for 20 minutes when it to the resulting penalty. With these financial engineer may be running late. was actually much longer, the vehicle tracking savings alone, NMF’s tracking system quickly technology will provide the evidence needed. paid for itself while reaping additional fleet FINANCIAL BUSINESS BENEFITS The software can even save employees money optimisation benefits for the firm too. Such technology also promotes a number of by helping them to better-monitor and claim any Elsewhere, Hull-based Kingstown Plumbing financial business benefits; the most obvious of overtime owed. They can also benefit from Services installed vehicle tracking on its these being reduced fuel costs. The software reduced paperwork because the technology can 12-strong fleet to gain better control over the encourages contractors to plan more cost automate many routine administrative processes. company’s mobile assets, improve productivity efficient routes and detailed journey information Essentially key nuggets of information and reduce costs. However when a van was also encourages better driving practices. For uncovered by the tracking encourage small stolen from the yard, director Paul Thompson example, engineers may have fallen into the operational changes that can have a huge impact discovered another crucial benefit of the habit of keeping the engine idling while parked on contractors’ bottom line. technology. He tracked the van and guided police up, but with tracking in place they are more Directors at Newcastle-based TW Plumbing & to its location, and the vehicle was recovered in likely to self-monitor their driving behaviour. Heating wanted to gain a clearer insight into the nine minutes. Without the tracker, Kingstown This also reduces contractors’ carbon emissions day-to-day management of their business and would have incurred significant cost to hire a thus improving contractors’ environmental installed RAM tracking to see where efficiencies temporary vehicle, replace the tools and pay for commitment at the same time as saving on could be improved. The system was fitted to four the inevitably higher insurance premiums. escalating fuel charges. of TW’s Ford transit vans in March 2012 and has Modern vehicle tracking technology offers a Contractors can expect to experience a rise in already helped the company achieve cost savings wide range of features that enable companies to productivity with the technology in place. through better journey planning and reduced introduce positive changes throughout the entire Journey times can be cut and inefficient time private use of vehicles. This has translated to 5% business. By choosing software that is easy to use between jobs can be identified. Furthermore, savings on fuel bills in only two months. and is supported by a dedicated customer service because managers can instantly see where each Automatic alerts also pinpoint if vehicles are team, business owners and managers have an engineer is, there is no need to telephone to being used out of hours, saving valuable incredibly powerful business tool at their determine their location. This enables employees management time – the technology uncovers fingertips. With the right software in place, to get on with their job without interruptions. potential issues without the need for directors to vehicle tracking allows heating and plumbing Tracking provides a new-found insight into continuously conduct their own investigations. contractors to implement major improvements driver behaviour, however, if the benefits of this Productivity has risen by 20% and with the for a minimum investment. 24 OCTOBER 2012 HEATING & PLUMBING MONTHLY enquiry number 120


HPM October 2012
To see the actual publication please follow the link above