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August 2004

Automatic Vehicle Locator (AVL) Technology
A great productivity tool

Automatic Vehicle Locator (AVL) technology lets you know where you vehicles are in real time or at end-of-day. Some of the reasons for implementing this are to address problems before they become significant. See if your company fits.

•Driver is doing business on the side, using your truck, parts and labor costs for “special customers” or at a “reduced rate based upon cash payment.”
•Your drivers always seem to take 10-12 hours a day to finish their work, causing you to incur overtime costs - even during the off-season.
•Company vehicles are being used after-hours, driving up your fuel and maintenance costs, for employees’ “personal jobs.”
•Vehicles and drivers disappear during the middle of the workday, consistently “out of cell phone range.”
•Brakes and clutches have to be replaced at a higher rate than needed and your drivers, “never speed!”
•Once my trucks leave the yard, who knows what happens?
•Drivers frequently organize team meetings at the local diner, unfortunately you’re never invited.
•Your vehicles are always on, even when parked!

All are valid business reasons to implement AVL technology in your company, but not the right business reasons. All the above are exceptions to general vehicle activity, the one to three percent of the day that gets your attention because you typically get upset when hearing that your driver is speeding or has violated your trust by doing business on the side.

The other 97 percent of the time, AVL can make a big difference in your costs and vehicle productivity. Yes, you can:

•Reduce your operating costs
—Lower road use tax (depends on vehicle and state)
—Lower fuel consumption (idling time)
—Longer intervals on part replacement (reduced speeding)
—Reduced insurance costs (contact your agent)
—Reduced overtime (see where vehicles are parked so driver can nap until he
has to show up at the office)

•Improve vehicle productivity
—Exceptions are the rule. Since you know where your vehicles are, your company can redirect the correct vehicle to the exception and not have to make a pecial trip to get the job done. This is a BIG MONEY SAVER, because send
ing a truck and a driver do to anything can cost over $100.00 per hour, and that’s for a pickup truck.
—Visually seeing the planned and actual route on a map can improve work assignment by 10-25 %. You know the estimated run rate (how long it will take to do the work) so you can keep the vehicle busy.

And now for the big winner…improved office productivity. Think about this: 100% of all your work, customer problems, invoicing and receivables come through your office staff. AVL allows the office staff and your drivers to work together effectively on many issues throughout the day.

•Upset customers who feel they have been wronged. The office staff has a thorough and up-to-date vehicle history and can tell a customer exactly when a unit was serviced.

•Situations when a driver is needed at a site as quickly as possible. Since the office is needed at a site as quickly as possible. Since the office staff knows where the vehicles are, they can make informed choices on whom to send to the customer (instead of having to page, cell phone and ask all the drivers where they are). This results in giving the customer the highest level of service, while the office staff and driver feel that they are doing a "good job." If you think this is not a big issue, talk to the office and ask how the drivers feel about being sent out of their way, when another driver was closer.

We have seen that AVL is actually a tool with many business benefits. Some people will mistakenly equate vehicle tracking with employee tracking, but implementing this technology will actually reduce costs, and boost productivity and office morale. There is no better feeling than to be effective and productive, and with the knowledge of the vehicle's location and history, drivers, staff and customers will all benefit.


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