Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Increase Productivity and Eliminate Payroll Issues
1) Better Dispatching and Routing
With GPS tracking, dispatchers know the exact location of every vehicle in a fleet. This helps them to direct the closest vehicle to any job site. Some GPS tracking solutions go a step further by providing a feature that automatically locates the vehicles nearest to any address.
In addition, dispatchers can ensure drivers take the most direct route to any job site and quickly re-route them should they get lost on a journey. Some GPS tracking solutions also provide real-time traffic reporting so dispatchers can warn drivers of traffic delays and provide rerouting as needed.
To ensure that you get the most efficient dispatching and routing, look closely at the mapping functions of any potential GPS provider. Many solutions offer inaccurate or incomplete mapping. Choose a GPS solution that includes powerful mapping - like Google Maps API - to give you pinpoint accuracy.
Lowering fuel consumption and reducing wear and tear on vehicles through efficient routing is an obvious benefit. But less time spent on the road also means more time spent completing jobs during the day.
2) Monitor Inefficient Employee Practices
Another reason productivity increases with GPS has to do with simple human nature. When employees know that their vehicles are monitored, they tend to drive and work more efficiently. In essence, GPS gives fleet owners the ability to ride along with their drivers. Under direct supervision, employees perform their duties faster and at a higher level.
Some GPS tracking solutions also include features that monitor vehicle idle times and engine status. Business owners can use these tools to ensure that drivers are not wasting extensive time idling in one location or spending an excessive amount of time at a particular job. Combined with an alert function, owners can be notified if a vehicle has idled or remained inoperative after a certain amount of time and quickly determine the cause.
By knowing the location of every vehicle, business owners can also immediately determine if a driver deviates from a direct route to a job site. This eliminates the practice of employees using work hours to complete personal business.
Vehicle monitoring can also help improve productivity by giving business owners a quantitative measurement of employee performance. This works especially well with GPS solutions that provide in-depth historical reporting.
Businesses can use hard data gathered through GPS tracking like idle times, mileage, speed and engine on time to implement an employee reward program. Bonuses based on tangible performance metrics encourage productivity and boosts morale.
The best GPS solutions provide data reporting that dates back all the way to when a client first begins using the system. In some cases, performance can also be compared between drivers or against the company average.
3) Automate Timesheets and Payroll
A majority of businesses with vehicle fleets rely on manual timesheets to determine payroll. A manual system often opens the door to inaccuracies and falsification of work hours. By automating payroll, business owners can ensure their employees are paid accurately for actual work done.
Many GPS systems track the time when a vehicle starts for the first time during the day, and when a vehicle shuts down for the day. This provides an accurate, automated record of how long an employee worked. In addition, shutoff and startup times during the day can be used to record accurate time spent for lunches and breaks.
Reputable GPS providers include extensive reporting functionality that compiles this information in an easy format that can be used as an electronic timesheet. Integrating this information into back office applications will further increase business efficiencies and reduce administrative costs.
In addition, accurate and automated payroll can help eliminate payroll disputes. For example, C. Jones Trucking in Aberdeen, MD found themselves in a court dispute with employees. Their drivers claimed they were owed $120,000 in overtime pay. Fortunately, the company had a reliable GPS solution installed to track actual work hours. With evidence from the GPS reports, the suit was settled for only $7,000 and the company avoided financial ruin.
4) Eliminate Unauthorized Vehicle Usage
GPS vehicle tracking can give business owners the ability to ensure employees use their vehicles only for authorized purposes and only during specific times.
High-quality GPS programs help in this effort by alerting business owners when their vehicles enter areas considered off limits. For example, drivers may congregate during business hours at a specific location, wasting valuable company time. GPS can alert owners when their vehicles enter that location.
These alerts can also notify fleet owners of employee theft. For example, Ingersoll-Rand, a HVAC-R company found that their employees were turning in scrap copper from company jobs for personal profit. Copper from jobs was supposed to be turned into the company. Ingersoll-Rand used GPS alerts to notify them when any vehicle entered or exited local scrap yards and eliminated the theft.
In addition, some GPS tracking solutions can notify business owners when their vehicles are used during unauthorized hours. These alerts are essential in notifying business owners of vehicle theft in progress and can help with quick recovery of a stolen vehicle.
But a vehicle activity alert is especially useful for businesses that allow drivers to take company vehicles home. Employees that use company vehicles for completing unauthorized side jobs tend to spend time during work hours scheduling and handling administration of non-company jobs.
Eliminating unauthorized vehicle use can ensure your drivers avoid restricted areas, significantly improve production during the day and reduce any liability of drivers using vehicles during off-hours.
Case Study: Di Pinto Brothers
DiPinto Brothers Transportation specializes in delivery of containers to and from the ports in the New York area. It operates over thirty vehicles that travel throughout the Northeastern seaboard. From its 115,000 thousand square foot facility in Edison, New Jersey, its fleet racks up 133,000 miles per week.
However, the company found itself struggling under the weight of a payroll inflated by too much overtime. DiPinto Brothers had no way of knowing the accuracy of its timesheets or how efficient its operations really were. The company implemented GPS vehicle tracking across its fleet in order to gain control of payroll and overtime expenses.
"We have seen significant savings since installing GPS," said John Puya, Fleet/Safety Director at DiPinto. "In our first year alone, we saved $190,000 in overtime costs."
DiPinto Brothers reported a series of benefits from the implementation of its fleet management software. On the payroll front, the company is no longer paying out wages and overtime based on driver estimates.
Using GPS, dispatchers can monitor the location of all vehicles night and day. For example, an alerting feature enabled the company to set a two-hour limit for trucks waiting at a pickup or delivery site. Previously, drivers might end up sitting at one spot for many hours. This led to heavy overtime costs as well as lost revenue.
"Before, we would have to pay the driver many extra hours of overtime yet would not be able to bill the customer as we often didn't find out until well after the fact," said Puya. "By alerting the customer before the two hours are up, we ensure we get paid appropriately for our services."
It is also much easier to monitor driver lunch hour habits. Under a manual system, the organization had to accept whatever was recorded in the driver logs. Puya suspected that these were not completely accurate. This has been borne out in the return on investment.
"Improved payroll accuracy has saved us approximately one hour per vehicle per day," said Puya. "That's why we've recommended the system we use to four or five other companies who are now implementing it."
The current economic recession has been particularly hard on businesses with vehicle fleets. In addition to lower revenues, fleet owners have had to deal with volatile fuel costs. GPS fleet tracking has helped businesses around the world meet their immediate need to decrease fuel consumption and increase their profit margins.
Often overlooked are the impacts of GPS on productivity and payroll. Almost all GPS tracking services in some way provide the information needed to gain more control over these two areas. But only reputed, forward-thinking GPS solutions include a wide variety of tools to make it easy for business owners to leverage the most benefit.
When choosing a GPS tracking provider to maximize productivity and control overtime, look for these features:
Precise, Minute-by-Minute Tracking
Make sure your provider tracks vehicle locations at least every minute and provide regularly updated mapping.
This helps ensure your drivers spend more time on the job and less time stuck in traffic.
Monitors Idle Times and Engine Status
Knowing how long your vehicles idle and when they are actually in operation is imperative to reduce wasted time.
Management Reports and Alerts
Your GPS solution should have a variety of reporting functions to provide easy access to data gathered by the system. Reliable GPS tracking should also provide immediate alert notifications when drivers deviate from rules you set, including entering restricted areas.
If you still have to use manual timesheets after installing GPS, then your system is not using the latest tracking technologies. Eliminating manual timesheets is essential to improving payroll.