By Pankaj Sharma
When it comes to running a landscape company, there’s no shortage of tasks on your to-do list. You’re meeting with prospects, providing estimates, and even helping out with the hard labor when you’re short-staffed. You’re likely also charged with managing the day-to-day operations, along with the performance – and schedules – of your employees in the field. All this in an effort to provide your customers with the best service possible, while also acquiring new customers and finding new ways to make your business more profitable.
When you hear the word “data,” it may call to mind large piles of useless information. However, even small companies like yours can reap the benefits of data across your business. By using data collected by GPS-based fleet management systems, many savvy landscaping companies can increase productivity, reduce costs and growth their revenues. Although data may be the last thing on your mind, here are five reasons to give it a fair shot:
1. Greater Fuel Efficiency: Has your fuel spend been steadily increasing from month to month, while your work orders have remained steady? While you can’t predict gas prices, you can control how much you spend on fuel. First, you need to know where your fuel is going – a fleet management solution can offer numerous fuel reports, providing deeper insight into all your fuel expenses. By integrating fuel cards with your fleet tracking software, you’ll gain a better understanding of your fuel expenses thanks to a full range of features that track, monitor and analyze fuel consumption. This will help you improve efficiencies, reduce waste, account for fuel purchases and improve buying behavior. Other ways fleet tracking can help you to save on fuel include:
- Efficient routing – this helps your employees drive fewer miles.
- Improved maintenance – well maintained fleets with proper tire pressure and regularly changed air filters use less gas.
- Fuel-efficient driving behaviors – Negative driving behaviors, such as speeding and rapid acceleration, burn fuel faster.
2. Vehicle Maintenance Management: Has vehicle maintenance been costing you a small fortune? Maintenance is one of the most significant costs associated with any vehicle. If you have vehicles that have needed servicing more often than they should, a fleet management solution can track your maintenance timelines, using that history to spot trends and take appropriate actions. It could be that your drivers are hard braking and cornering, causing more wear and tear on your vehicles. Having the ability to track these behaviors can cut your maintenance costs considerably.
3. Better Time Management: Are you regularly late to jobs? It’s important that your employees in the field are on time to provide services to each client, as one late job can cause your schedule to fall like dominoes, causing delays on every job after that, resulting in multiple customer complaints. You can monitor the routes your employees are taking, including their stops and starts, with a fleet management solution. This tool can also help you to reroute your workers when faced with construction, road closures, and traffic accidents, quickly adjusting to better optimize driver time on the fly.
4. Simplified Routing: Are your drivers taking the most efficient routes possible? When dispatching vehicles to multiple stops or service calls throughout the course of the day, you have the potential of losing revenue by not optimizing the route your vehicles follow. A fleet tracking solution can take all locations and stops in a vehicle’s route and order them to create the shortest route. This means completing more jobs each day, ultimately increasing service revenue and driver productivity, while decreasing fuel costs. It allows you to make adjustments on the fly as circumstances change.
5. Increased Productivity: As your business grows, has job scheduling become a painstaking process? If you provide service calls, for example, to fix irrigation systems that have gone down, a fleet tracking solution with dispatching capabilities allows you to easily schedule jobs, dispatch them to your vehicles, and send messages to and from your workers in the field. This can increase productivity by providing daily itineraries and routes to drivers, while also increasing revenue by fitting more service requests into the workday.
With a GPS-based fleet management solution, landscape business owners can leverage data to run their business more efficiently and effectively. Data can provide businesses with the answers they need – in real time or over a period of time – helping to streamline the work day by tracking dozens of key metrics that can save both time and money, two of the most precious resources for any business.
Pankaj Sharma is VP of marketing for NexTraq, a provider of fleet tracking solutions. For more information visit www.nextraq.com.