A Canadian propane company uses a GPS tracking system to better monitor and deploy its large transportation fleet.
Overall, the reaction from managers and drivers has been positive. Once the managers became familiar with the FleetMatics system, they liked being able to keep an eye on the units via the website. Initially, however, the drivers had some concerns about their key fobs. Each driver is assigned his or her own key fob, and is not to share this fob with anyone else. The driver is required to use the key fob on each journey taken in a company vehicle. A key reader is installed in each vehicle's dash, and when the vehicle is turned on, the driver presents his or her key fob to the key reader. "It took a while before the drivers were convinced that they had to have the fob," says Harrison.
Since rolling out the technology, Cal-Gas has enjoyed significant benefits. One of the most important has been improved customer service. "In the propane business, you have a lot of calls for quick service," explains Harrison. "When people call, they generally don't want it tomorrow or next week. They want it now. Managers can now log in and see where their vehicles are and who can most easily service customers when they call in. Before, a manager may have had to call four or five different trucks to find out where they were."
Cal-Gas has also seen reductions in the cost of fuel. This has resulted from a number of factors, such as more efficient routing, reduced vehicle idling times, reduced overall mileage (as managers can now deploy the nearest vehicle to a service calls) and monitoring vehicle speeds. Overall, the transition to the fleet-tracking system, despite the initial technical glitches and slight learning curve for managers and drivers, has proved to be a boon for Cal-Gas.