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Interview

Maximizing Efficiences in Field Service

How Lane Valente used technology to streamline operations

Lane Valente is one of the largest retail maintenance service providers in the United States. Founded in 1989, it caters to high-volume remodels, for which the company provides retail project management and energy services, sending a skilled mobile workforce to service everything from plumbing and electrical to retail lighting and refrigeration. Its clients include well-known brands such as Wal-Mart and Chevron.

Recently I sat down with Michael Moran, field quality control officer and fleet manager for Lane Valente, to talk about how fleet management helped them streamline operations by maximizing efficiencies, improving scheduling and driver safety, and how these improvements allow the company to exceed customer expectations.  Here is what we discussed:

Before deploying Fleet Management, what challenges did Lane Valente face?
As our business continued to grow, so did our fleet of cargo vans and bucket trucks. With this expansion, we wanted to monitor the productivity of our fleet, including the time it took techs to arrive on the job and how long it took for job completion. In addition, we wanted to monitor unauthorized use of vehicles and ensure the accurate billing of hours and payroll.

We turned to a cloud-based fleet management solution that gave us visibility into day-to-day field operations so we could identify, manage and improve areas such as driver safety, customer service, back-office administration, fuel use and fleet efficiency.

Why Fleet Management?
We started using fleet management to keep track of our vehicles and to ensure that we met our estimated time of arrivals. We can also easily look up who is in an area to service emergency calls. Since implementing fleet management, we have improved safety by monitoring mobile worker status and reducing risky driving behavior. We’ve also expanded business intelligence by enabling data-driven decisions. Fleet Management has increased our workflow productivity, reduced fuel costs and improved asset utilization. One unexpected way that fleet management has helped us is its ability to help in tracking stolen vehicles. Four trucks were taken, but with fleet management the vehicles were located within minutes or hours of when they were reported missing.

What did the company use before fleet management?
When I started with the company, we were using two different tracking devices. I determined that Fleet Management was not only more accurate but also had many other features that would enable us to be more cost effective, and be able to better meet our clients’ expectations.
We now use fleet management to monitor drivers’ locations so they know immediately who to send for emergency calls, as well as ensure that techs are servicing customers fully. Our new units are much more accurate in managing vehicles’ positions. Using fleet management, we can evaluate the effectiveness of our work by analyzing fuel usage, number of hours on the job, scheduling and dispatch time, and other metrics.

We use fleet management to monitor unauthorized use as well. Each morning, I receive an exception report via e-mail showing all vehicles that were used during off hours. I check this report against the dispatch report to confirm the use was warranted.

How did drivers initially react to implementing fleet management?
At first, drivers thought the GPS system was a way for us to check up on them, but after some time they saw how it could help them. No more questions about what time they got to the job and how it could take so long to get to the site. We monitor this information daily to ensure an accurate payroll and client service logs.

Has fleet management helped you to optimize efficiency?
Fleet Management has allowed us to better understand the effectiveness of our fleet, which helps us reduce costs. The solution is very scalable so there’s no big initial investment, which means we quickly reaped a number of benefits. For instance, we improved driver safety by monitoring speed and harsh maneuvers, which helps to decrease accident rates and, ultimately, mitigate liability.

I will continue to streamline operations so I have the most efficient fleet possible and continue to provide excellent service delivery. I’d recommend fleet management anytime to anyone.

For more information about Trimble field service solutions, visit www.trimble.com/fsm.

More Stories By Joyce Tam

Joyce Tam is an expert in field service technology at Trimble Field Service Management. Her areas of specialty include mobile enterprise, cloud, M2M and fleet driver safety. Her articles have appeared in numerous industry publications, both national and international.