We'll help you find it

"How-To" and Industry Articles designed to help the American Fleet Manager cut costs, lower emissions and maintain compliance.

Monday, June 10, 2013

FlexPROTECT - Heavy Equipment Recovery and Protection

FlexPROTECT - Heavy Equipment Protection
"It was here, Friday..."
Protecting Heavy Equipment is fundamentally
different that tracking vehicles

Since very early on in the evolution of GPS Tracking, people recognized the potential benefit for recovering stolen or lost equipment.  Systems for auto-recovery are plentiful and most people recognize them by name.  What many don't realize though, are the challenges in migrating those solutions to off-road machinery.
Most vehicle-recovery vendors require you to notify them the vehicle is missing - generally through the local police force(s), who then work with the vendor to recover the equipment.  Additionally, many of them are limited to major metropolitan areas, and the streets surrounding them.  With Heavy Equipment, both of these assumptions are suspect.
Heavy Equipment are often working in remote locations, away from major cities - and quite often building the roads that aren't on any map, yet.  More challenging, the cost to return this equipment to a locked shop every weekend (much less every night) is prohibitive.  So, by the time someone notices it's missing on a Monday morning, it could be well out of the Country.  And remember, these machines aren't registered and tracked like motor-vehicles.
FlexPROTECT solves these problems.  By using a low-impact GPS Tracking model, combined with a specialized GeoZone, a protected machine notifies you when it's moved out of an authorized area.  Moreover, it keeps notifying you on your computer and/or cellphone and starts a tracking session until you either recover it or turn it off.  You still get to use normal GeoZones to track jobs or transfers, and you save money compared to tracking it every couple of minutes, as it digs a ditch.
To learn more about FlexPROTECT or to learn how to protect your machinery from operator misuse or mechanical faults, call Comlink GPSat 800.853.8165.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

State of the Air

The American Lung Association has published its Annual Report on the State of the Air.  Why is this important on a Fleet Truck Tracking Blog?  One of the biggest impacts our industry can make to better the air quality, is to cut hydrocarbon emissions.  While not all of us can afford to implement new equipment, we can all work to manage the amount of fuel we burn unnecessarily.

By reducing idling, we immediately reduce fuel emissions.  What a great thing that we can save money, reduce wear-and-tear on our equipment and help the environment - all at the same time.

To learn more about how your specific area is doing, see the State of the Air Report here:  American Lung Association: State of the Air

Monday, April 9, 2012

You wanna save 8% on your monthly fuel cost? (On-Track Newsletter, April 02, 2012)

(Psst! Hey, you! Yeah, you. C'mere...)

Last Friday on my way home from work, I made the mistake of stopping at the local quick-fill to

get gas. I say "mistake" because that also happened to be the drawing-day for the Giga-gillions lottery. However, as I was filling the Suburban and passing the time by swearing, I got to thinking about starting a "fuel-lottery." Buy a ticket; win a chance at lower fuel costs. The more I thought about it, I came to realize that we pretty much already had something like that.

So, what am I talking about? (I seem to get that question, a lot.)

If there were a lottery, and you were fairly certain to trim 8% off your monthly fuel cost, would you buy a ticket?

You look skeptical. I suspect that those of us in the industry have caused some of it. When a typical business owner hears/reads/smells the "GPS Carnival Sideshow Hawker" screaming:  "Come and see the Great Idle Reduction! Just one thin Ulysses - two Jacksons and a Hamilton! Hurry while it's still here!," they tend to put one hand on their wallet and walk past just a little bit faster.

(Side note: This is not about idling per se, by the way, but interestingly, excessive idling wasn't much recognized as a problem until location and telematics systems were installed and started showing how much time was spent. And yet many of these original measurements were (and still are) inflated by the systems not being able to differentiate between the engine actually running or the key being in the "On" or "Accessory" position. So, the numbers have tended to be inflated and have a degree of uncertainty in them. Why shouldn't people be skeptical?)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Simple actions to decrease your fuel costs through lower fuel consumption

Learn more about how to cut fuel costs

The April 2nd issue of On-Track outlines how to effectively get fuel for $3.50 per gallon or less.  This article from the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency outlines some of the strategies and actions you can take today, with very little investment.

U. S. EPA (www.fueleconomy.gov): Keeping Your Car In Shape

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Average Truck Accident Costs Increase Slightly in 2011

While there were areas that also decreased (predominantly by truck type), generally, costs increased between 1 and 8 per cent.  Contributing factors included weather, cost of materials, electronics in vehicles and age of fleets.

Read the Work Truck Online article

- Truck Accident Costs in 2011 increase 1 - 8% on Average, Lauren Fletcher, Work Truck (Cover Story), March, 2011

Friday, March 23, 2012

Driver Distraction Interview w/ PHH Arval

I always try to point out the business-relationships that folks have, so people understand their possible interests.  So, remember that PHH Arval and ZoomSafer do have a relationship.  However, that said, the attached article brings up a very key point:  Safety must be Proactive to be Effective.

Preventative Enforcement is Key to an Effective Fleet Safety Policy, Automotive Fleet, 03/23/2012

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Data Exhaust

Interesting article below, on "data exhaust."  Simply, data exhaust should probably be treated the same way we treat vehicle exhaust - we should minimize it in every way we can.  (Though, I have to admit, I'm not sure yet how exactly it might impact the environment...)

One thing I've learned in this industry is the subtle difference between using a smartphone as a fleet tracking device, rather than a wired-in, dedicated unit. The costs for using a phone can be very attractive - especially if you already issue one to your employees.  And, there is some pretty good software out there that uses the phone well, and reports well.  The issue will become one of "who" is being tracked, versus "what" is being tracked.

Typically, a wired device tracks a piece of equipment and how that equipment/vehicle/asset is being used.  A smartphone tracks a person.  This brings up several security and privacy concerns, and should not be taken lightly.  You may also find that an employee using his/her own phone could be prone to resist, the same way they might towards putting a tracking device on a personal vehicle.

Obviously, there are other trade-offs (e.g. what can be reported or captured), but the privacy and security issues should be evaluated well before you make any long-term decisions.

- Alasdair Allan, O'Reilly Radar: Tertiary Data:  Big Data's Hidden Layer, 19 March, 2012

Republished in Location Smart Brief, 21 March, 2012