No two days are ever the same in the plumbing business. From overnight emergencies to planned installations to the latest tools and techniques, the plumber’s lament hasn’t changed. Plumbing has always been a complex and evolving trade defined by highly skilled workers and a well-organized commercial fleet network.
These days, plumbing companies and field technicians alike are seeking new ways to achieve success despite existing challenges, especially during the global pandemic. That’s no easy thing, but many have discovered that telematics technology can help them to better manage commercial fleets, build resilience and improve overall business performance.
For several years, fleet management technology has been a growing trend across numerous industries, from services and transportation to construction and government. They have all benefited from improved driver safety, more predictable vehicle maintenance and improved operational efficiencies for an overall better customer service experience.
In 2020, adoption of fleet technology increased by 8 percent compared to the year prior, and 32 percent of businesses achieved a positive return on investment in less than a year, according to an annual Verizon Connect survey.
The same survey of more than 1,200 U.S. fleet managers executives and other fleet management industry stakeholders found that customer service improved by 54 percent because of fleet tracking features like in-cab video, emergency alerts, near real-time tracking and maintenance scheduling. A whopping 96 percent said GPS fleet tracking software was particularly beneficial.
Before implementing a fleet management system of your own, here’s a closer look at how fleet tracking tech is fast becoming a game changer for the plumbing industry and beyond.
Reduced Fleet Expenses
From maintenance and driver safety to dispatcher scheduling, managing a fleet of plumbing vehicles has always been a complex task. With features like integrated fuel cards to near real-time tracking of driver behaviors like idle time, speeding and overall drive times, new digital fleet management tools unlock insights that simply weren’t possible before.
For example, plumbing companies gain a far clearer picture of what exactly is happening to fleet vehicles anywhere, anytime with near real-time data analytics. They can also help reduce maintenance costs with features like advanced engine diagnostics that sound an alarm when an engine needs servicing. Features like instant mileage reporting help you form proactive maintenance plans, so you pay for repairs when they’re actually necessary.
With costs always at a premium, fleet management software can help manage workers more effectively, trimming employee overtime hours by reducing overtime expenses. Some management solutions can even analyze and predict upcoming workloads, assigning workers as needed to help manage staffing.
In a business as fleet-focused as plumbing, the ability to plan and optimize service routes to help avoid traffic congestion and other costly slowdowns is hard to put a price on.
Boost Asset Safety and Security
On the jobsite or on the road, safety is always a top priority, and once again fleet management solutions can play a major role. For fleet oversight, you can promote fleet safety and help reduce the likelihood of accidents with emergency alerts, notifications for unsafe areas, and tools to correct unsafe behavior and speeding.
Drivers and general motorists benefit too with near real-time GPS tracking notifications that encourage safe driving behaviors. The tracking systems can monitor speed, aggressive driving, harsh braking and quick starts, issuing audible, in-cab alerts to correct dangerous driving behaviors. This system is not solely punitive — it can offer specialized “last mile” navigation and boost morale by rewarding good driver behavior through a point-based scoring system and fleet leaderboard.
Satisfy Your Customers
At the end of the day, delivering a good customer service experience is how any business grows and succeeds. That’s especially true in plumbing, where situations sometimes require a rapid response
Today’s leading fleet management systems offer data-rich personalized services to help organize workers, vehicles and equipment more dependably with intelligence. For example, these systems can simplify compliance with complex Service Level Agreements, provide more accurate time to arrival windows, enable the right vehicles and capacities are assigned to the right workers.
Imagine being able to create special routes for your customers, specifying frequency, driver and time windows, and then deliver what you want — when you want — making arrangements as timely and convenient for your customers as possible. That’s exactly the potential that fleet management solutions can deliver.
Helping Plumbers Nationwide
Across the nation, plumbers and other skilled tradespeople have begun to recognize the power of telematics technology to grow their business. At Dallas Plumbing Company, GPS fleet tracking that was recently added to 54 vehicles helped to reduce fuel costs, improve security and allow the company to gain complete control over the entire vehicle fleet.
The company, which adopted Verizon Connect, relies on features including Vehicle Activity Alert, Speeding Alert and Idling Alert to transmit updates to the business owner’s smartphone the instant a violation occurs.
The Speeding Alert has also helped Dallas Plumbing Co. reduce speeding violations and costs since excessive speed burns more fuel per mile driven. Detailed reports provide the company with a wealth of information to quickly assess the entire fleet and make adjustments to optimize performance as needed. One report monitoring idling time, for example, has helped to significantly reduce fuel costs.
Bill Howe Plumbing in San Diego, meanwhile, dropped the accident rate in its fleet of over 150 vehicles by almost 88 percent using fleet management tools that put visibility and data analytics behind the platform’s driver safety scorecard.
Clearly the benefits of fleet management solutions are no longer the domain of long haul freight and other expansive use cases. No matter the fleet size, the unprecedented level of control and information now available with modern fleet management solutions is unlocking a new era of efficiency, safety and opportunity.