So what ensures success in implementation? If success is defined at an early stage,
then plans will be created to track and realize it. If success were defined as, “all vehicles
will have GPS devices installed”, then that would be an easy goal to meet. If success
were defined as, “all drivers will never speed”, then that would be both an unrealistic
and extraordinarily difficult goal to manage. Setting operational goals that work to
reduce cost, waste, wear and tear on vehicles are where operators get the most from
their deployments. Why is it being installed? It is to achieve certain operational
efficiencies and cost improvements. More than likely, the cost improvements are the
driver and the operational efficiencies are the means to that end.
Supervisor training: In most cases, the people employing the GPS information to
manage technicians are the front line supervisors. Take the time to train supervisors not
just on the driver application, but also on how the GPS technology works and who will
use it. Provide them the reasons for installing it and the goals that they will be tasked
with achieving. This is an opportunity to train supervisors on coaching for success and
to make them aware of the effort that will be required to manage the data. Answer
questions accurately and keep them focused on how to use the data applicable to them
for the primary purpose of helping their drivers carry out their jobs successfully.
Transparency: When installing GPS in vehicles, every driver must be informed of the
plan. Several items should be brought to their attention. Drivers should be made aware
of the costs and the benefits to the company associated with managing fuel and speed.
GPS is a tool that helps to create more coherent routing during their workday, effectively
saving miles driven and fuel consumed. In doing so, GPS will help cut down on the
number of times that drivers may pass each other going to jobs. Second, it will be
utilized to improve safety. Alerts indicate if a driver is speeding or, in some applications,
driving in an unsafe manner (i.e. swerving, hard stops, excessive accelerations). In
addition to these items of interest the GPS will also be capable of providing the
company with data for various items such as vehicle location, after hours usage,
congregating, and drivers outside of approved work areas. While this may cause some
initial consternation, access to this information will give a technician the time to correct
any driving behaviors that may otherwise be job impactful prior to installation. While
GPS can report on all of these information items, a supervisor will find out quickly that
they may not have the time to chase after every notification, but occasionally they will
discover information that requires their attention.
Baselining: The first and most important step toward improving an area of operations is
gathering information on the current state or “status quo” in order to show improvements
relative to that state. After educating supervisors, informing drivers and installing
equipment, the baseline data collection process is started. There will be a slight
improvement immediately upon install. Best practice is to install equipment quickly and
to temporarily withhold that information for up to three months in order to collect data on
typical driving habits. This purposeful lack of communication with drivers will show that if
there were bad habits, they would re-appear quickly and the baseline data can be
Setting expectations: After collecting data and creating the baseline the next step is to
present that information to the drivers. The direct addressing of individuals ought to be
avoided. Supervisors will find that by presenting the data, drivers will understand the
amount of visibility their supervisor has and most of the operational improvements will
arise from self-correction.
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