By Mark Forrest, managing director, Trimble Field Service Management
The economic climate has provided a tumultuous environment over the past few years, leading many field service businesses to have to do more on a restricted budget.
But what many businesses don’t realise is that significant savings can be made in simple areas, from keeping on top of vehicle wear and tear to monitoring driver behaviour.
Vehicle utilisation is understandably high for businesses with fleet operations, but regular services and efficient management of vehicles help to extend life and preserve assets, ultimately increasing productivity and lowering the risk of mechanical failure.
Vehicle diagnostic solutions take routine maintenance checks a step further by providing real-time data so information can be drawn directly from the vehicle.
Such information includes getting fault codes and alerts about engine difficulties before they become a major problem and obtaining real-time data on fuel consumption so exact fuel use can be monitored, helping identify where fuel is being wasted on poorly-performing vehicles.
Rising fuel prices have become a major contributor to budgetary constraints and were cited as the number one barrier to achieving field service excellence in Trimble’s latest research report.
Businesses can’t stop using their vehicles to reduce fuel costs, but by monitoring driver activities such as speeding, excessive idling and route deviation it is possible to ascertain where improvements can be made from a safety and financial perspective.
Driver safety technology monitors aggressive manoeuvres, such as hard acceleration, braking, turns and speed.
With this data at hand, recommendations on training can be made for individual drivers, resulting in lower accidents therefore helping to manage risks and costs.
A safe driver is a cost-effective driver.
They have fewer accidents, they are more productive and they tend to drive more efficiently, reducing the fuel bill.
Financially, optimising the use and number of vehicles and equipment needed to complete work efficiently will increase the amount of time vehicles are in productive use, improving the bottom line.