In the middle of the COVID-19 Crises, contractors, business owners and fleet managers still have to manage their fleets but may not want to go to the office every day and risk possible exposure to themselves or others.
Fortunately, using new technology offerings like a real-time GPS vehicle tracking system remotely via a smartphone, tablet, or PC, as well as email, zoom meetings, etc., they can socially distance and dynamically manage their fleets and work teams the day without a punch to miss.
Compared to traditional techniques such as personal and mixed paperwork, the advanced technology now available improves control and enables immediate response and adaptation to the inevitable emergencies and changing needs that arise throughout the day.
“With an advanced real-time GPS vehicle tracking system, essentially all employees can distance themselves socially. To avoid the possible transmission of viruses by other employees and vehicles, they can drive away from home in their typical company vehicle and without going straight to the construction site Office except to procure needed supplies, “said Ben VanAvery, director of sales and marketing for Advanced Tracking Technologies (ATTI), a Houston, Texas-based designer and manufacturer of GPS tracking products.
Such a GPS tracking system can facilitate social distancing and virtually eliminate the need for routine face-to-face interaction while ensuring that drivers and work teams stay on the job.
If during the pandemic logistics requires it, emergencies arise, or the work needs to be carried out by a qualified, available technician nearby, such a system can be very beneficial. Real-time GPS vehicle tracking enables site managers to see which technicians are present across the region, including the closest and most experienced technicians suitable for the job. By having access to real-time traffic data in the software, they can determine who is easiest to send to that location.
For example, a Vision, a GPS vehicle tracking device, the Vision from ATTI, transmits 10-second updates and shows exactly where vehicles are at the moment when the fleet manager or dispatcher needs to know.
Compared to typical GPS tracking devices, which may only be updated every few minutes, the system offers real-time location updates, as well as speed and idle time warnings if something is wrong. This data is transmitted around the clock to a smartphone or PC via satellite and cellular networks. The system has access to nationwide speed limits in its database.
Shipping can be done throughout the day and sent directly to the driver’s phone to inform the work team of the next construction site address. Once the job is complete, it is recorded in the system so that the dispatcher, owner or fleet manager can stay up to date. That way it can serve as a remote timesheet.
Robert Hanneman, Business Development / Fleet Manager at K&D Construction Services in Chelsea, Okla., A foundation specialist serving the utility market in a six state area with a full range of foundation services, has already made use of this ability.
“We use GPS tracking to know where our equipment is so we can get it to the next job site quickly,” said Hanneman. “We use it when planning which jobs will need which equipment to make sure everyone gets what they need and nothing extra.”
He appreciates the fact that he can track all vehicles in his construction fleet with one system.
“I didn’t want to look at multiple systems to see different things, with one set of trackers for the trucks and another for the skid steer loaders and mini-excavators.”
According to Hanneman, he can use an ATTI-approved PC or smartphone app to view the real-time location of his entire fleet on a map and zoom in on a specific vehicle. He can see at a glance whether a vehicle has moved (shown in green) or stopped (shown in red). When he touches a vehicle symbol, the app shows where the vehicle is, where it has stopped and how long it has been idling. All of this helps with spontaneous coordination.
“By zooming in or out of the map, we can see everything,” said Hanneman. “We can look up where the various crews are and see what equipment they have with them in case we need to relocate the equipment depending on the job.”
Hanneman found that the work tasks are not always the same from construction site to construction site.
“Maybe one crew has four skid steer loaders, another one, and I have to move skid steer loaders between the different crews,” he said.
“We have multiple crews working in multiple states, so being able to see where our vehicle fleet is in real time 24/7 is a real benefit,” said Hanneman. “It also helps when we have to react quickly to the need for an emergency building, for example repairs after a storm.”
To achieve better self-monitoring and efficiency during the pandemic, construction managers can also configure the system to automatically send real-time text or email notifications to individual drivers, groups or the entire fleet when factors such as traffic congestion, travel route or vehicle speed, starts, stops, or idles are cause for concern or deviate from the guideline.
Improve efficiency and safety
During the pandemic or at times when a quick response is required, advanced GPS tracking systems can also improve efficiency on more established routes.
For example, because the GPS system is automated, travel reports can be generated that analyze important historical data, e.g. B. punctual collection or delivery services. They can also be sent via email without anyone opening any software. The reports can be customized as needed to include as much detail as necessary, such as: B. How many stops, how long per location, top speed, mileage, idle times of the day, etc. Identifying and implementing more efficient routing and performance enables individual drivers and the entire construction fleet to achieve more in less time.
If contractors and fleet managers are concerned with the logistical impact of the COVID-19 crisis, such a system can also help individual drivers drive safer and take more responsibility for their own behavior without the need for micromanagement. A maximum vehicle speed, for example no more than 8 miles per hour above the specified limit, can be set and the drivers can be informed of this. The system then tracks the vehicle speed and compares it with the speed limit in its national database. If desired, exceptions can be sent automatically by email to the driver and the fleet manager in a report.
In addition, implementing real-time GPS tracking can increase the driver’s accountability by being less likely to make unauthorized trips, e.g. B. for personal errands when he is not working. This can help to minimize unnecessary vehicle kilometers, fuel consumption and wear and tear. On the plus side, GPS tracking can also be used to identify and reward a consistent on-time arrival, quick response to emergencies, etc.
For construction professionals, however, the bottom line is that today’s advanced GPS tracking systems can help keep everyone socially as far away from each other as possible while enabling optimal vehicle and crew management for work productivity.
Further information is available by calling 800 / 279-0035 or at www.advantrack.com.