How GPS monitoring permits social distancing and optimizes development fleet productiveness throughout a pandemic

In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, contractors, business owners and site managers still have to manage their fleets but may not want to go to the office every day and risk potential exposure to themselves or others.

Fortunately, by combining real-time GPS vehicle tracking data received via smartphone, tablet or PC with business communications such as email, text and today’s ubiquitous video conferencing, they can create social distance while dynamically managing fleets, work teams and logistics without to hit a 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 create social distance. To avoid the possible transmission of viruses by other employees and vehicles, they can drive away from home in their typical company vehicle and go straight to the construction site without having to return to the office, except to obtain the necessary consumables, ”says Ben VanAvery, sales manager and Marketing at Advanced Tracking Technologies Inc. (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.

“We use GPS tracking to know where our equipment is so we can get it to the next job site quickly,” said Robert Hanneman, business development / fleet manager at K&D Construction Services in Chelsea, Oklahoma. “We use it when planning which jobs will need which equipment, to make sure everyone gets what they need and nothing extra.”

K&D Construction is a specialist foundation company serving the utility market in a six state area with a full range of foundation foundation services. With so much work in such a large area, Hanneman 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.”

However, real-time vehicle tracking adds a dimension to Hanneman’s management capabilities that is rather rare. ATTI’s Vision broadcasts updates every 10 seconds and tracks exactly where the vehicles are when the fleet manager or dispatcher needs to know. Most other GPS tracking devices update the location every few minutes, so Vision adds the vehicle speed and idle time to the location data to make it easier to see if something is wrong. This data is transmitted around the clock via satellite and cellular networks. The vision software can reference speed limits nationwide by location.

Using a PC or smartphone app approved by ATTI, Hanneman can display 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 on the map, we can see everything,” says Hanneman. “We can look up where the various crews are and see what equipment they have with them in case we need to move the equipment to different locations depending on the job.

“We have several crews working in several states. It is therefore a real advantage to be able to track where our vehicle fleet is in real time around the clock. It is also helpful when we need to respond quickly to the need for an emergency construction, such as repairs after a storm. “

The dispatch can be made 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 the dispatcher, owner or fleet manager can stay up to date. That way it can serve as a remote timesheet.

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 is encountering speed, starts, stops, or idles are cause for concern or deviate from policy.

To increase efficiency and safety

Because the GPS system is automated, travel reports can be created that analyze important historical data, e.g. B. punctual collection or delivery services. They can also be sent via email without anyone having to open 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, maximum speed, mileage, idle times of the day and other metrics for work performance. By identifying and implementing more efficient routing and performance, individual drivers and the entire construction fleet can 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 more safely 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 automatically sent to the driver and the fleet manager in a report by email.

Real-time GPS tracking can also 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, 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 improving vehicle and crew productivity.

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