Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Get Control of Your Fleet's Gas Costs; Gasoline Costs Matches High for Year

MSNBC and many other news outlets are reporting that the cost of a gallon of gas has matched its high for the year and could be heading north of $3/gallon. I just paid $2.75 in Boise, what will the price be this summer when my son comes home from college and wants to use the family car everyday for his excursions. That kid will definitely need a job this summer!!

But for you business owners and service fleet managers out there the rising cost of gasoline can eat away at your profits and seem like an uncontrollable expense. But actually implementing GPS Fleet tracking is a solution that can have an immediate impact of reducing your fuel usage, which means managing your fuel budget. GPS Fleet Management will provide you with essential data for managing your fleets route efficiency, reduce vehicle idling time, eliminate off hours company vehicle usage and report on poor driving habits that increase fuel usage and wear and tear on your vehicles.

At L2 Data Collection we have partnered with the top companies in GPS Fleet Management to be able to offer you cost effective solutions that will begin saving you money from the start. We can not predict or control the gas prices, but we can help you control your gas budget. So, contact us today to find out more about how GPS Fleet Management can help your business. And if you have any summer job opportunities for my homeward bound college student, please contact me, and I will arrange a free demo of the Navman Wireless GPS Fleet Management Solution!

Email Contact: Info@L2DataCollection.com

Monday, February 8, 2010

GPS tracks and recovers stolen Kitchen Stove

Another crime doesn't pay story. I recently read a news article that caught my eye about the benefit of utilizing GPS. It seems that a builder in southwest Oaklahoma City was in the process of building a new home and had been hit by burglaries a few times, stealing building supplies and home appliances. Being a practical, yet frustrated guy the builder hid a GPS device in the recently installed oven. It seems that it didn't take long for the device to begin tracking a stove on the move. The builder contacted police who said they found stacks of appliances in the man's home, and in a little twist of irony the arrested man had installed surveillance cameras on his house to keep tabs on the stolen property.

This is a great example of how asset tracking or GPS fleet management can pay for itself in asset recovery. If you know of another example of how an asset management solution aided or assisted in asset recovery, please share your story with us!

Let us talk to you about solutions that can keep your fleet or mobile assets safe and where they should be.

Do you know where your fleet is?

Email Contact: Info@L2DataCollection.com

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Technology, 10 Years ago and 10 Years Ahead

Wow, I just finished reading a news article that took a look back at some of the technology changes over the past 10 years, or so. Everybody remember the size of thier cell phone and the fact that it was really just a phone, not the mobile entertainment device many of us carry around now! The article in TECHNEWSWORLD, is a good reminder of how technology has changed and the effect it has in our personal and professional life. And just as interesting is the predictions for the next 10 years. The author goes on to say that "more of our possesions will contain sensors and computers to log our activities, building digital dossiers that augment our memories, help us make decisions and tame information overload." In fact many technology analysts are predicting amazing changes as technology moves towards the cloud computing era. Devices that will have very fast connections to connect to "the cloud" to let you know what the special is at your favorite deli, live traffic information, or quick information on the cutie you are sitting next to, oops that is my boss's nasty ex need to run away from this situation. The future portable devices won't necessarily need facial recognition, just the quick connection capability to connect to 'the cloud' where massive computing power is utilized for quick information access.

This article is just another reminder that as technology proliferates into our society it can be used in applications to improve the efficiency of small and large businesses. In my case I am very familiar with the benefits organizations can achieve through the use of GPS based Fleet Management Services to gather information on their mobile vehicle and personnel assets, to reduce costs, improve customer support and response times, and make more service calls on a regular basis to increase sales.

For more information on how GPS Mobile Resource Management can help your organization improve please contact us

Email Contact: Info@L2DataCollection.com

Monday, December 28, 2009

Another Sign Of The Economic Times

I recently was talking with a potential client regarding the benefits of a Fleet Management System for implementing and measuring cost control measures for his fleet of delivery trucks. In particular the client planned on implementing the GPS system to reduce vehicle idling time, manage the length of time the trucks stopped at their delivery locations. He was expecting to see a cost reduction of over 20% on just these two factors. As we were wrapping up our meeting a friend of his stopped in and overheard some of our discussion and was interested in GPS for vehicle tracking.

The friend that joined us was a Finance Manager for a company that owned many car dealerships. He picked up on the basics of how the GPS Fleet Management System would benefit the cost monitoring efforts of the delivery fleet, I could see that he was growing interested and the wheels were churning on a problem that his organization was having. He explained that in his organization the number of delinquent loans had significantly increased over the past year. The increase was primarily due to the tough economic times that we are all well aware of. The Finance Manager went on to say that the dealerships were making efforts to work out alternative arrangements with their clients, but unfortunately in many cases the cars fell into a physical collection process, that I am sure no one plans on. His application for a GPS system was not about Fleet Management, but about a vehicle location service to locate their cars that were still under a finance obligation and the car needed to be collected. His application would require a GPS unit that could send out a location signal when requested. Ideally this would be a small unit that could be discreetly mounted in the vehicle and would stay active during the length of the contract.

This is not a typical application for the GPS Fleet Management System that we offer from Trimble. But I am interested in what you think about this type of potential monitoring during the length of a financial contract. Please contact us to discuss this or get information about how a Fleet Management System can help you.

Email Contact: Info@L2DataCollection.com

Thursday, December 17, 2009

39 Reasons to Implement GPS Fleet Tracking

Here is a comprehensive list of 39 key ROIs for GPS Fleet Tracking.

  1. Reduced time spent on paperwork (driver, manager, accounting).
  2. More efficient routes and speeds resulting in lower mileage and lower fuel expense.
  3. More efficient routing enables more services and deliveries to be completed.
  4. More efficient routing and driving reduces idling times.
  5. Ability to redirect or dispatch the closest resources.
  6. Reduce unauthorized use of company vehicles.
  7. Locate the nearest location of other company service vehicles that have an inventory of needed parts or equipment.
  8. Reduction of employee fraud.
  9. Ability to improve safe-driving habits and fuel-efficient driving habits.
  10. Provide definitive proof of exactly where and when deliveries are made, preventing any disputes over arrival/departure times.
  11. Rapid recovery of stolen vehicles.
  12. Ability to document key performance metrics for employee recognition or retraining.
  13. Poor driving habits can be eliminated or improved as fleet managers and owners audit driving habits and receive automated alerts for speeding with our GPS vehicle tracking systems.
  14. Maintenance - Schedule, track and receive alerts for the maintenance of your fleet.
  15. Sensors - Learn not only where your vehicles are, but what they're doing.
  16. Mobile - Get and view vehicle locations and custom alerts on your phone.
  17. Routing - View driving histories and plan more efficient routes.
  18. Job dispatch and navigation - send jobs to your drivers, and provide voice-prompted, turn-by-turn directions to route them with ease and efficiency.
  19. Increased productivity as well as the improvement of your customers’ level of satisfaction by updating customers on delivery and service schedules.
  20. More accurate delivery times and supply chain management by knowing where supplies and in transit inventory is located.
  21. Insurance costs too are often lower since many insurance companies will provide lower premiums and better deals to fleets that use a vehicle tracking system.
  22. Your vehicles standing time is reduced which can reduce your drivers overtime costs.
  23. A full comparative analysis of your driver's effectiveness behind the wheel can be reported on from the data produced by a GPS tracking system.
  24. Keep cost-effective driver logs on an automated basis. Reduce time spent on paperwork.
  25. Meet long-haul trucking needs for computer-based input to state fuel tax calculations.
  26. Communicate in writing, at any time, between dispatchers and drivers out in the field.
  27. Extend life of service vehicles through better maintenance management and GPS alerts.
  28. According to Aberdeen Group, small fleets saw an increase of 25% in the number of work orders completed per day after two years of GPS implementation.
  29. GPS tracking technology has improved service companies’ ability to arrive at their customer’s service location on time. Small fleets have seen a 46% increase in this key metric.
  30. Reduce private use of company vehicles, which reduces fuel and operational costs.
  31. Timecard validation with GPS Fleet Tracking systems allow managers and owners to know when drivers arrive and leave job sites.
  32. Rental and leasing companies are using GPS tracking to locate late and missing vehicles.
  33. Service fleets and contractors use GPS tracking to eliminate employee moonlighting and side-jobs.
  34. Service fleets and contracts have an automated location, date and time stamp as a proof-of-work record.
  35. Heavy equipment fleets benefit from automatic maintenance reminders based upon operational times.
  36. Compliance with work-alone safety legislation.
  37. GPS tracking on heavy equipment can automatically report engine hours and mileage for customer billing which reduces paperwork and increases accuracy.
  38. Government agencies can monitor the efficiency of city buses, sanitation trucks and other vehicles wirelessly—e.g., average speed, stops per day, stops per hour, daily mileage, etc, for analysis.
  39. Make better fleet purchasing choices by analyzing brand, model and configuration performances based upon documented engine statistics, mileage, speeding, idling and more.

We at L2 Data Collection provide GPS Fleet Tracking solutions, traffic data and mobile data collection services. Please contact us if you would like to discuss any of these subjects with us.

Email Contact: Info@L2DataCollection.com

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Trimble awarded Fleet Management Technologies Contract with the National Joint Powers Alliance!

I was excited to hear that Trimble was recently awarded a contract for a full line of services, equipment, software, accessories and supplies by the National Joint Powers Alliance (NJPA). As I understand it the NJPA is a “Co-op” that provides it members with enhanced purchasing power for programs, services and products commonly used by local governments, educational and non profit agencies in the USA. In other words they take advantage of the national volume pricing that can be achieved through its membership, and they perform this function utilizing guidelines and procedures that satisfy the bidding requirements of most states. There are over 28000 (and growing) NJPA members, and best of all, it is free to join the NJPA for qualified agencies.

This news is exciting to me because it quickens the process that local governments, highway districts and non profits use for evaluating the implementation of Fleet Management. In many of our meetings with these types of organizations, the response is an overwhelming yes to the need for an integrated GPS Fleet Management System. They recognize that this system provides the necessary information and reports to implement strategies to reduce, fuel usage, reduce overtime costs, report carbon emission savings, and monitor and reward safe operation of government or agency owned vehicles. In fact according to independent research from Aberdeen Group, organizations that implemented a GPS Fleet Management System reduced fuel cost by 22%! (How much is that for your organization?)

For more information regarding the NJPA and how your agency could benefit please visit their website www.njpacoop.org/LEARN/About/About_NJPA.html

If you would like to discuss GPS Fleet Management please contact us.

Email Contact: Info@L2DataCollection.com

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Caltrain will Install GPS Tracking on Its Trains

San Francisco area riders of the Caltrain system will soon be able to check the real-time schedule of the trains. The Caltrain board of directors signed a $1.8 million deal on December 3 with a Maryland-based transportation firm to install GPS tracking technology in its trains. The transit operator will use the system to post expected arrival times of trains at all station platforms from San Francisco to San Jose online at 511.org and on the 511 phone system.

Caltrain will join other agencies such as BART, San Francisco Muni, and AC Transit in the East Bay in providing real-time arrival data to riders. SamTrans expects its $1.2 million GPS-enabled real-time delay system to begin running in March.

L2 Data Collection provides GPS Tracking Systems for small and medium size fleets. These systems enable the fleet managers to track the history and current status of all GPS enabled vehicles, including their location, path, speed and proximity to landmarks such as job sites. I guess we could also install these GPS Fleet Tracking systems in a train, but not many of our fleet manager customers in the NW have them.

I have complained before about delivery services that do not give you a good delivery estimate. Perhaps some day delivery services will think about providing better delivery estimates by implementing GPS fleet tracking systems that communicate with the end customer.

Railroads also use GPS solutions for construction and maintenance as this article that I recently wrote documents. In fact, I met with a large railroad in Melbourne, Australia to consult with them on a mobile solutions for rail road maintenance.

Email Contact: Info@L2DataCollection.com

Monday, December 14, 2009

Real Time Inspections with Integrated GPS and Geo-referenced Digital Photos

I came across this powerful case study today that documented the use of Trimble's Juno handheld computers and ESRI's ArcPad software to help assess and inspect the damage following the terrible fires that killed 173 people in Australia last year. Here is a quick summary of the inspection project to give you a perspective of the size of it.

By the time the project was complete, they searched 5,781 properties, conducted 3,352 separate searches on buildings, sheds, vehicles, and water tanks, took 9,600 photos using geo-referenced cameras, and sent 1,539 geo-referenced records from the Trimble Juno SC handhelds to the GIS server without a single problem.

One of the biggest problems that the police had was inspecting neighborhoods and communities that had been completely destroyed. There were no street signs, trees or other landmarks to help them determine their locations. They needed a different strategy for systematically inspecting areas. They determined that the use of GPS enabled mobile devices with mobile data collection software applications was the answer. Developers quickly created standardized inspection forms using an ArcPad applet for use on the Trimble Juno handheld computer.

After bodies were discovered in already inspected areas, the police were required to search all possible sites where missing people could possibly have taken cover. Detailed inspections that documented all search efforts and sites were added to the mix.

On-device maps helped them determine their location, and as each inspection on each parcel was completed, the parcel would change colors on the map. This helped all the groups involved to know exactly what inspections were completed, and which ones needed more work.

The Victoria Police were so impressed with the use of the Trimble Junos for mobile data collection, that they are now using them on patrols, inspections and other data collection projects. They are also planning to implement an entire GIS (geospatial information system) for the police force.

The Victoria police estimated that it took only a third of the time, using the Trimble Juno, that it would have using paper forms.

They used the Trimble Junos with integrated GPS and geo-referenced cameras that took photos with GPS coordinates included in the digital files. They created ArcPad applets for their inspection software and wireless synchronized this data with central database servers for real time visibility.

This is an excellent example of real time GPS tracking of inspections. We provide GPS fleet tracking software to give management real time and historical views into the use and locations of their high value mobile assets. Please contact us if you would like to discuss in more detail.

Email Contact: Info@L2DataCollection.com

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

GPS Fleet Tracking and ROI

A recent study by the Aberdeen Group documented a 23% increase in total number of service calls completed per day per technician in organizations with small fleets when GPS fleet tracking was installed in their vehicles.

This is a huge ROI!

If you are interested in discussing GPS Fleet Tracking solutions for your small or medium size fleet please contact us.

Email Contact: Info@L2DataCollection.com

GPS Vehicle Tracking for Teenagers

Insurance carrier Safeco now offers a GPS vehicle tracking system for teenagers that is designed to create a safer environment for young drivers while offering new levels of comfort for parents by installing a $14.99/month GPS vehicle tracking device and service in the teenager's vehicle. Safeco offers a 15% discount on insurance for teenagers using this solution.

If your teenager is costing at least $100/month in insurance, then this system can completely pay for itself.

Car crashes are the leading cause of death for 16 to 20 year-olds. Sixteen year olds are especially dangerous. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found drivers age 17 have roughly one-third less traffic accidents as 16 year olds. This system is designed to hold teenagers accountable to their parents for their driving habits, driving locations and speed.

Using a GPS-based device called the "Safety Beacon™" the program enables parents and teens to set speed, distance, location and curfew limitations. The system will notify parents by phone, text message or email when the teen exceeds a preset limit or ventures outside a designated area. Parents also can go online to get an exact location on the vehicle.

For teens, the program offers 24/7 roadside assistance and a remote door unlock feature.

Data gathered through the Safety Beacon is only accessible by parents and their teens. Individual driver information is not available to Safeco and will not be used to calculate individual rates.

We don't focus on selling GPS vehicle tracking to parents of teenagers, but we do sell GPS Fleet Tracking systems to any company that wants to better manage their company vehicles and fleets. If you would like to discuss this please contact us.

Email Contact: Info@L2DataCollection.com

GPS Graffiti Tracking Application

Here is another interesting use for GPS tracking. Police using digital cameras with GPS tracking snap pictures of graffiti, geotag it, and upload to a database. Graffiti experts, I wonder if that is a degree, review the graffiti much like a handwriting analyst. They try to identify the artist/vandal and identify his/her area of operation as best they can.

Once this artist/vandal is captured they then try to connect them to as many pieces of art/vandalism as possible.

TAGRS is designed for city, state and federal government agencies that administer and maintain data for taggers. TAGRS is the only commercial data management solution designed specifically for law enforcement agencies. Its intent is to monitor the frequency of graffiti and to establish patterns that will assist in the deployment of resources and conviction of the offender.

It is a database where graffiti crimes can be inputted, recorded and tracked. It is photo-based which allows pictures of the graffiti or known offenders to be posted for quick analysis and suspect identification. It is equipped with GPS mapping. The program is designed for the gathering and sharing of information which could lead to the detection of the graffiti offender. In short, it is an important tool in the recording, tracking and identification of graffiti crimes and offenders. We design, build and deploy TAGRS which allows varying levels of access to government information online via either Secure Intranet or Internet access.

We don't track graffiti, but if you would like to discuss GPS Fleet Tracking please contact us.

Email Contact: Info@L2DataCollection.com

Friday, December 4, 2009

GPS Fleet Tracking and Stolen Vehicles

There was a very interesting article on CNN today about a Senator's daughter that was carjacked in Washington DC, but the vehicle was quickly recovered in a Taco Bell parking lot because it had a GPS tracking system in it.

Washington (CNN) -- Sen. Bob Corker says his daughter is fine but "really sore" after being pulled from her car and thrown to the ground in a carjacking in the nation's capital.

The Tennessee Republican said his 22-year-old daughter, Julia, stopped the family's 2005 Chevrolet Tahoe not far from their apartment -- just nine blocks from the U.S. Capitol building -- to help someone she thought needed directions Wednesday night.

"A gentleman appeared, opened the door, grabbed her by the neck," the senator told CNN on Thursday. "She kicked to try to get away ... and he threw her on the pavement and drove away."

A short time later, two suspects were taken into custody in a parking lot in Seat Pleasant, Maryland. Corker credited the vehicle's OnStar service with helping to find it.

OnStar is a navigation and tracking system that General Motors installs in its new vehicles.

L2 Data Collection provides GPS Fleet Tracking systems for commercial fleets and heavy equipment. Contact us if you would like to brainstorm or discuss this topic.

Email Contact: Info@L2DataCollection.com

Real-Time Location Systems and GPS Fleet Tracking

In this blog we spend most of our time exploring GPS Fleet Tracking, however, it is also good to look at similar technologies outside of fleet tracking to gain a better understanding of asset tracking. In a recent study described in this article the use of a real-time location system (RTLS) at Southeastern Regional Medical Center indicates the RFLS technology can save hospitals hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, improve clinical outcomes and boost staff morale.

The study by Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), analyzed the use of an RTLS system at the Lumberton, N.C. hospital. The system was used to track mobile medical equipment. It saved the hospital nearly $750,000 in indirect costs, as well as reducing the time spent by staff in searching for medical equipment by 96 percent

RTLS systems are being deployed in hospitals around the country to keep track all kinds of medical equipment, from beds and wheelchairs to crash carts and IV stands. Such systems, employing radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, allow staff to quickly locate equipment in an emergency and cut down on wasteful uses or lost items that can delay treatment and effective patient outcomes and staff efficiencies.

The study also found that clinical engineering staff reduced time spent searching for equipment, while preventive maintenance for tagged equipment improved from a monthly rate of 90 percent to a consistent 100 percent. Color-coded icons on the computer screen can also identify items available, in use and in need of cleaning.

The concepts behind tracking medical equipment and assets in a hospital is similar to that of a fleet manager tracking their mobile assets across a region using GPS tracking technologies. The fleet manager also wants to know where their mobile assets are located, when and how they are used and when maintenance is required.

If you would like to discuss the GPS tracking of equipment or fleets please contact us.

Email Contact: Info@L2DataCollection.com

Thursday, December 3, 2009

GPS Tracking Underwear for Very Strange People

A Brazilian company LindeLucy Lingerie has just put out a collection of underwear called “Find Me If You Can.” Each of the pieces are equipped with a built-in, pager-sized GPS system that allows those with the password to track your whereabouts online. It retails for $800 to $1,100.

Do I dare comment?

OK, for those of you who are more interested in tracking the location of your employees than tracking your fleets or equipment, you finally have a solution. You can buy all of your mobile workforce underwear, and as long as they are wearing it, and the batteries are good, you can know their location.

Don't ask how they wash it!

If you would like to discuss GPS tracking lingerie, please don't call us. If you would like to discuss GPS fleet tracking solutions please contact us!!!

Email Contact: Info@L2DataCollection.com

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

ClickSoftware and GPS Fleet Tracking

Last week a software company called ClickSoftware launched a new Mobile Enterprise Application Platform (MEAP) called the Mobility Suite. This application is intended to make it faster, easier and less expensive to develop custom mobile applications.

It is interesting to note how ClickSoftware is including GPS fleet tracking in their feature lists now days. They don't provide the GPS equipment or service, they are simply integrating the data from these systems into their back-office application. Here is how ClickSoftware describes it in their press release:

ClickSoftware has combined years of mobile application experience with the latest functional and technical developments to create a step change in mobile enterprise applications. The Mobility Suite has been designed to enable system administrators to easily configure the system to comply with any business requirement without requiring expensive coding or programming skills.

Paper can be eliminated, business processes shortened and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) tracked with electronic capture of data through forms, barcodes, RFID, and cameras. Real time location monitoring also provides visibility of mobile operations, allowing organizations to see where resources are, what they are doing, and spot and resolve connection problems.

All this information, in combination with the latest mobile technology, gives rise to some exciting possibilities across all business functions. Accurate expected time of arrival notifications (triggered as a result of real-time activities and location) can be automatically sent via SMS to customers. This means that the end client can plan their day around more important commitments, rather than waiting for hours at home for the engineer to arrive.

GPS fleet management is an important component of a field service management application.

Email Contact: Info@L2DataCollection.com

Monday, November 23, 2009

GPS Tracking and Chicago's Video Camera Network

In the November 17, 2009 edition of the Wall Street Journal, there was an article called Chicago's Camera Network Is Everywhere. The article discusses the city's video monitoring system that now has an estimated 15,000 video cameras attached to it.

OK, so we are all being watched by Big Brother, but here is the interesting part - the city of Chicago receives about 15,000 (must be a convenient number) emergency calls per day. As soon as the 911 folks receive a call, their screen shows them live video feeds from the nearest video camera. Of course this feed will often be useless, but it stimulates some thinking as to how this "network-centric" approach works.

Live video links being connected to phone calls is an interesting thought. It shows integration between multiple systems into a "network-centric" approach. Let's ponder a large construction project. I can image a time when GPS tracking systems activate live video feeds at the gate of a job site for security and project management.
  • The project manager is expecting 4 trucks full of materials. As each truck passes the entrance gate it alerts the project manager and shows him/her a live video feed on their mobile device. The location of equipment going in and out of gates is viewed by GPS tracking and live video coverage.
  • All heavy equipment on the job site has GPS tracking. If any of the equipment is moved after hours it alerts security and activates live video feeds to the mobile device that is carried by security officials and managers.
  • Project managers hundreds of miles away can collect all the heavy equipment needed for the project from various geographic locations and track its convergence to the job site. Live video feeds and GPS alerts show the arrival of each vital piece of equipment.
  • Perhaps contractors are also willing to share their GPS fleet tracking data with the project manager. This would enable the project manager to track the arrival of important materials that are needed at specific times to keep the project on schedule

GPS fleet and equipment tracking systems are readily available. Integrating these technologies with project management and live video systems is the next frontier.

For more information on Network-Centric strategies read this article.

Email Contact: Info@L2DataCollection.com

Net-Centric Business Strategies are Dependent on GPS

In an article called Net-Centric Field Force Automation, the author Kevin Benedict discusses the concept of net-centric business strategies. This concept involves closely tracking mobile resource (employees), mobile assets and stationary asset locations and using this information to better manage operations. Let me explain each:
  • Mobile resources - most often relate to employees, contractors and other team members that are part of a project or operation
  • Mobile assets - vehicles, trailers, mobile inventories, cargo, heavy equipment, tools, and other assets that are moving.
  • Stationary assets - buildings, properties, roads, bridges, fences, utilities, infrastructure, etc.

Think about a large contruction project and all the moving parts to a project. Net-centric strategies would incorporate tracking, managing and viewing the ongoing operations by seeing all the moving parts via GPS tracking and a GIS (geospatical information system) solution that is integrated with project management systems.

Managers should be able to look at their computer screen and see the location of all of their mobile resources and mobile assets - equipment, vehicles and employees. This information allows management from hundreds or thousands of miles away to monitor a job site location and provide assistance.

Of course for this net-centric strategy to work, all of these moving parts need to have GPS tracking equipment attached to them and identification information on each of these moving assets and resources.

To learn about GPS system integration with live video feeds read here.

Email Contact: Info@L2DataCollection.com

School Buses and GPS Fleet Tracking

It occurred to me this morning as I was driving my daughter to school and saw the school buses driving by and kids waiting in the cold, that it would be a useful application of GPS fleet tracking to install them on school buses.

The parents and kids could check the website to see if the bus was on schedule before leaving the house to stand in the cold. I remember as a kid with a long rural bus ride standing in the rain for what seemed hours when the bus was delayed by traffic, mechanical failure, cows in the road, etc.

It would also be very useful for the bus driver to be able to send messages to the families when a pick-up or deliver may be delayed. It would note be hard. The school knows there are 43 bus stops, the current location of the bus, and that there will be a delay in dropping the kids off at 17 stops. A quick alert could be sent to the remaining 17 families.

When you start considering the utility of GPS fleet tracking, there can be a million benefits.

If you would like to discuss GPS fleet tracking please contact us.

Email Contact: Info@L2DataCollection.com

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sears, GPS Fleet Tracking and Mobile Applications to Improve Sales

In this article Sear's use of GPS Fleet Tracking applications is discussed. It was interesting to note that the primary benefit from the implementation of GPS Fleet Tracking was not Fleet Tracking. It was that the satellite and GPRS dome on the roof of the van was also a mobile WiFi hotspot. It allowed the service technician to always be on the Internet and connected with the Sears customer relationship management (CRM), product catalog and order entry system. This in turn helped the service technician sell more products, warranties and services.

One of the key benefits in using this system was increased sales and better customer services. It is important that companies looking at the investment into GPS Fleet Tracking systems look beyond the basic tracking, monitoring and reporting features for all of the benefits.

Often the benefits of a GPS Fleet Tracking System are related to providing more services each day, selling more products each day, accomplishing more work with less people, dispatching the closest service technician to the job for faster service and lower costs, etc.

GPS Fleet Tracking can help service companies change their business model and improve business processes in many ways.

Please contact us if you are interested in discussing these ideas in more detail.

Email Contact: Info@L2DataCollection.com

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

FedEx - GPS Fleet Tracking Complaint

I don't usually complain on this forum, however, this time my complaint is about GPS Fleet Tracking.

I ordered a new laptop computer the other day. I was efficiently notified that the manufacturer received my order. I was efficiently notified that the order was shipped from the warehouse. I was efficiently notified that it arrived here in Boise, Idaho. I was efficiently notified it was on the delivery van at 9:03 AM. Up to this point all is good, efficient and professional, however, once my laptop was placed in the delivery van I am simply given a 6 hour window for delivery and I am required to be here. I have no idea if I can run down to Starbucks and grab a Mocha. How uncivilized is FedEx?

Six hours is a big window. Some people are actually important and have jobs that require them to move around. Doesn't it seem reasonable that FedEx could narrow the window and post their expected delivery time within 1 hour perhaps? Don't they have GPS fleet tracking on their vans? Couldn't they notify me when they are within 1 hour of delivery. Perhaps they can then update me every 15 minutes. OK, perhaps I am just hyper, but we know that the technology is there to provide more accurate delivery windows than 6 hours.

What if we could actually see where the delivery van was going to be? Perhaps use LBS (location based services) to notify all customers that the van was nearing. Perhaps we could drive to a scheduled location and meet the delivery van. It would save FedEx time and fuel. I am sure there are many reasons not to give crazy people like me the exact location of their vans, but a 6 hour window???

What are your thoughts and comments?

Email Contact: Info@L2DataCollection.com

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fuel Prices and Trimble GPS Fleet Tracking

Fleet management applications are getting more and more sophisticated. I was told recently of a giant multinational company that has a department that monitors commodity and fuel prices in real-time. When events are pointing to rising fuel costs, this department instructs all of the various fleet managers to fuel up all of their vehicles. Some fleets have volume discounts negotiated with certain retailers. In these cases GPS fleet tracking systems, like Trimble's, can show the fleet managers where all of the vehicles are located and where they can fuel up for the least amount of money.

Very interesting!!! If you have 1,000 vehicles and you can save $10/vehicle on fuel today, that can add up fast.

Email Contact: Info@L2DataCollection.com

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Dynamic Ride Sharing Concepts and GPS Fleet Tracking

In this article from the blog Mobile Strategies for Businesses, on the concept of Dynamic Ride Sharing the author ponders possible businesses cases for sharing your travel plans with others that may want to share the ride and help pay the costs. The key to this concept is the ability to communicate and promote your planned travel routes, utilize GPS tracking to show progress, and have a method of collecting payments.

What other business uses could gps fleet tracking equipment mounted into a vehicle provide? I wrote earlier about tracking mobile inventories, what other uses are out there? I would like to hear your thoughts!

Here is another idea, many field service technicians have been certified or qualified on various equipment. When a customer calls in and requests a repair on a certain piece of equipment, how does the service company know which certified service technician is closest to the customer and available to provide the service? The qualifications of each service technician should be associated with the GPS tracking equipment.

Over the past week we have discussed associating vehicles, equipment, inventory, certifications and qualifications to a GPS tracking system so the office can better manage their operations and mobile assets. Please share your thoughts and ideas on other useful associations.

Friday, November 6, 2009

GPS Fleet Tracking is Not Just About the Vehicle

Often when people think about GPS fleet tracking they think of vehicles. They think of vehicle location, fuel consumption, maintenance and proximity to job sites, etc. However, tracking the vehicle is not the only value. Tracking inventory, tools and equipment is also important.

The concept of mobile inventory works like this - a truck or van backs up to the inventory warehouse and uses a bar code scanner to scan parts, supplies, tools and equipment to check them out of the warehouse inventory and then scans the truck or van bar code to designate the new location of the inventory. This provides the inventory management system with a detailed record of the exact location of all inventory, tools and equipment. The challenge is that the new location of the inventory is mobile.

The GPS fleet tracking software can now not only track the vehicle, but all the parts, tools and equipment inside it. Why is this useful? If another service technician requires a specialty tool or piece of equipment, the dispatcher in the office can look up the equipment location, identify the van where it is located and see it on a map. A route or meeting place can be quickly arranged and the part, tool or equipment can be transferred.

Email Contact: Info@L2DataCollection.com

Monday, November 2, 2009

Where is Your Fleet Today? Boise Seminar Announcement

Seminar Announcement - Boise, Idaho:

Have you considered using GPS Fleet Tracking to manage your fleet and control your costs?

Mr. Russ Michel, Regional Manager with Trimble Mobile Resources, will be in Boise on Friday, November 13, 2009 at 9:00am to discuss GPS Fleet Tracking and the unique needs and challenges associated with managing a mobile work force, including real-time vehicle tracking, engine idling, vehicle speed, unauthorized use, monitoring PTO, as well as many other cost-saving and enhanced safety features.

In addition, Mr. Michel will also discuss the savings now available to government and non-profit agencies through the purchasing power of The National Joint Powers Alliance (NJPA).

As recently announced by NJPA, Trimble has been awarded, through a national competitive bid-process, the exclusive contract to provide pre-negotiated GPS Fleet Management equipment and services to NJPA members, now over 30,000 strong. (www.njpacoop.org)

Trimble has been an industry-leading GPS innovator for over 30 years, with 4,000+ GPS fleet tracking units currently installed and over 30 GPS related U.S. patents. Trimble’s extensive network for support and training is unsurpassed in the industry. (www.trimble.com/mrm)

If you or someone in your organization would like to attend the seminar, enjoy a light breakfast with Mr. Michel, and learn more about the benefits experienced by current Trimble customers, please contact Lori Vawdrey at L2 Data Collection, a locally owned and authorized Trimble dealer, for seminar location and directions.

Email Contact: Info@L2DataCollection.com

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Google Changes the Playing Field of Turn by Turn Navigation

Google announced that they will be providing free "turn-by-turn" navigation in their mobile operating system, Android 2.0. It will be a beta version, but Garmin, TomTom and others will be having some serious behind locked doors discussions on what their core customer value is if all Android mobile devices have free navigation.

This is also a direct competitive advantage over Apple and Microsoft's Windows Mobile OS that do not have this feature available for free. If the free turn-by-turn navigation proves successful for Google, you will see more handset manufacturers look to support it on more devices which will impact Microsoft, RIM, Nokia, Apple and others bottom line.

Email Contact: Info@L2DataCollection.com

Friday, October 23, 2009

American Sins, GPS, GIS and Mobile Software Applications that Show It All

This article details some very interesting uses for maps, data and GPS and GIS systems.

American Sins, GPS, GIS and Mobile Software Applications that Show It All

The practical result of these kind of map over lays is the ability to gain insight into your immediate surroundings in real time over your mobile device or Smart Phone. Everywhere you travel, you can request that your current GPS location be used to provide you with all kinds of useful information.

In a work environment, fleets can be uploading GPS data to show the central office where all the vehicles are, but in return the GPS coordinates can be providing the drivers with all kinds of useful information as well.

For a related articles that shows how GPS and LBS (location based services) can be all integrated together with ERPs and business applications read these articles:

Email Contact: Info@L2DataCollection.com

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mobile Asset Management and Street Sweepers

We met recently with a company that owns street sweepers. The company provides street sweeping services for a fee and the biggest assets of the company are several $100,000 giant street sweepers. Here is the interesting point - the owner has no visibility into how the street sweepers are being operated, nor if they are actually providing the services in all the contracted areas.

As a business person, I can say that not knowing if you provided the services you were contracted to provide is a bad thing. You need proof that the services were provided. It eliminates invoice disputes and unhappy customers. One easy solution is to install fleet tracking GPS systems in each street sweeper so their street sweeping activities can be monitored and recorded. Trimble Fleet Tracking is one relatively inexpensive and easy to install system.

When the Trimble Fleet Tracking system is in place, the owner of the street sweepers, and the person accountable to the customers, can login to a browser based online application and see the exact areas covered by all street sweepers each day. These recorded "bread crumb" paths can also be provided to the customer.

Let's now consider the value of the mobile assets, the giant $100,000 street sweepers. Nearly all of the owner's business assets are mobile and not under his or her direct physical observation and supervision. It is like having $500,000 leave the garage each day without the owner being able to care and monitor it. Street sweepers are large motorized vehicles. Safety is a big concern as is damaging things. It is very important that safety processes and safety laws are observed and enforced to protect the business and others. It is also very important to have a good safety record when selling your services to government municipalities and private businesses. Fleet Tracking systems can monitor many different aspects of the vehicles' operation including speed and driving habits.

Another important consideration in running a business is managing expenses. Fuel and maintenance is a big factor when operating a business based upon large vehicles. Fleet tracking systems can help you monitor idling time, operational time, sweeping time, start-up and stop times, mileage and other important factors. Many maintenance procedures are based upon hours of operation, while others on mileage. These can all be monitored by the fleet tracking systems and alerts can be set-up to remind as each maintenance milepost is reached.

The bottom line, if you have hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars worth of equipment running in remote locations and you have a personal responsibility for their maintenance, operation, safety and efficiency, then it would be a good thing to have visibility into how your mobile assets are being used.

If you would like to discuss this fleet tracking solutions in more detail please contact us at Info@L2DataCollection.com.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Trimble Fleet Tracking's Basic ROI

In this article we want to discuss fleet tracking and why companies invest in it. I think a good place to start is by first defining fleet management so we can understand the role of fleet tracking.

Today, Wikipedia defines fleet management as follows: Fleet management is the management of a company's vehicle fleet. Fleet management includes commercial motor vehicles such as cars, vans and trucks. Fleet (vehicle) management can include a range of functions, such as vehicle financing, vehicle maintenance, vehicle telematics (tracking and diagnostics), driver management, fuel management and health & safety management.

Fleet tracking is the use of GPS tracking and most often web based technologies to monitor, in real time or near real time, a large number of different data points on your fleet. These data points can consist of the following:
  • View real-time locations of your mobile workforce
  • Track stop times and milage totals
  • Receive alerts on speed, vehicle idle time and/or landmark proximity
  • See traveled paths
  • Connect to the RS 232 to receive vehicle diagnostics

All of these data points are synchronized back to a web-based map and reporting application. This web technology enables you to view the location of your entire fleet, with multiple views and reports.

Why do companies implement fleet tracking? Fleets are valuable assets and the way they are used and managed can significantly impact profitability. Aberdeen Group lists some of the top reasons companies want fleet tracking:
  • Reduce service response times (57%)
  • Reduce fleet related operating costs (46%)
  • Increase service related productivity (41%)
  • Extend life of service vehicles (16%)

Improving customer service, reducing fuel and operating costs and increasing productivity are all very good things.

What kind of companies are using fleet tracking? Really any company that has a fleet and is interested in managing and reducing the costs associated with it. In this article you can read about other more sinister and dangerous reasons to get fleet tracking.

If you would like to discuss Trimble's fleet tracking in more detail please contact me.