The initial improvements and cost benefits that can be achieved with GPS are well understood. Reduction of idling is the absolute first area to evaluate and improve upon. But it doesn’t stop there. Taking each element and layering it into the reporting that a company manages will keep GPS front and center for all involved. At first, drivers may not feel that they are in control of their day, but they will soon learn that by working with the GPS information, their work day satisfaction will vastly improve and that the management of the company is invested in improving it along with them.
This is the next frontier and requires some additional forensics. When jobs are issued to a driver, the number one element that goes into the decision on which job to assign is the location of the tech in relation to the location of the job. This goes along with the route to be taken which is calculated by the WFM and GPS applications. It does not come as a surprise that drivers may wander off the shortest path in favor of a scenic route, an errand to be run or for other reasons. This insidiously adds up to many additional miles driven alongside other operational costs.
This table indicates a week’s worth of data from nine tech centers, comprising 117 drivers. In this one week, calculations were made on the shortest path between jobs and the actual distance driven. In a single week, almost 6,600 more miles were driven than potentially necessary. This is a typical week and not hard at all to achieve. Consider that after extrapolating this mileage and annualizing it, this group of drivers may be on track
to drive an additional 316,291 miles in a year. At an average 11.5miles per gallon (MPG) per vehicle, this equates to 27,500 additional gallons of fuel purchased and 243 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. A top ten MSO with 5,000 drivers potentially will drive an additional 13,500,000 miles, burning 1,175,000 gallons, costing
$4,114,000.00 (based on a fuel cost of $3.50 per gallon) and generating nearly 10,400 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. It gets bigger. Consider an oil change every 5,000 miles. For the top ten MSO, that is 2,700 additional oil changes. The vehicle is out of service for those oil changes and therefore there are 2,700 service jobs or installs that must be handled by someone else, or pushed out, causing a delay for the customer. At an average of $69.00 for an oil change, this is an added cost of $186,000 in vehicle maintenance.
How does route adherence slip? Analysis of a variety of routes indicate that while there is an occasional “scenic route” driven, or maybe errands are being run, the more prevalent issue is somewhat self-inflicted. That is, technicians regularly return to the tech center from a job site, either for materials and CPE or for other possibly
unnecessary reasons. A supervisor interested in managing this issue should first look for areas in which the workday scenarios lend themselves to extra driving (i.e., poor inventory management for techs) and work to remove them. Once that issue is resolved, then looking for the wayward driver should be next.
Scenic Route - Tech Concern
Poor Planning - Supervisor Concern
In general, techs want to get where they need to go and do not take the long way to get there. Often a trip to the tech center to replenish materials or pick up additional CPE, etc. results in additional mileage. If this is the case, then there is a whole area of materials management to be considered and improved upon. This is controllable at the management level by simply analyzing usage over time and ensuring standard issuance of CPE. With proper application, there will be a vast improvement over current methods.