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November/December 2019
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Executive Hire News › Archives › November/December 2019 › Executive Report : Technology drives forward

Executive Report : Technology drives forward

EHN reports on two hire businesses that are using new systems to enhance the management of their vehicle and equipment fleets.

Martin Plant Hire has expanded its telematics solution from Ctrack by Inseego to monitor a fleet of 45 cars and vans as part of a long-term contract extension. The company has been using Ctrack Online for the past seven years to track its powered plant, but it has now taken the decision to combine all tracking requirements with a single partner.

“We had previously worked with two separate telematics suppliers, but recognised the clear value associated with consolidating our systems so we can monitor all our resources through one solution,” explains Andy Martin, MD of Martin Plant Hire, who adds that this will also enable the business to target improvements in driver behaviour, vehicle utilisation and asset security.

The company will now be able to use the Ctrack Online software to monitor all high-value vehicle and plant assets from its head-office in Motherwell, with access to a wide range of real-time and historical performance data.

Driver behaviour feedback

Martin Plant Hire will also introduce the Driver Mobi web app to enable staff to log expenses, complete vehicle checks and gain driver behaviour feedback via a smartphone.

A Driver Score tool will help promote road safety and encourage responsible driving by providing individual performance feedback. This can all be viewed alongside company averages.

In addition, the hirer will replace hard-wired tracking units in its plant with a wireless device to improve asset security and simplify installation. The Ctrack BX500 unit is powered by removable lithium batteries, which can last up to four years while providing a single, daily tracking update. The compact size of the device allows for unobtrusive installation on a variety of equipment.

Another hirer that is embracing new technology to manage its vehicles and assets is GAP. It has now adopted the BigChange system for its mobile operations across the business. Over 500 of the company’s vehicles have been fitted with the technology and over 600 staff have been trained on best practice.

Called JobWatch, the cloud-based system incorporates a range of mobile apps with live tracking and job scheduling. It also links in real time to GAP’s back office systems, such as its central hire desk and financial systems.

The mobile apps include electronic signature capture, with proof of delivery (POD) and proof of collection (POC) records being automatically uploaded onto GAP’s Smart Office system. This eliminates the need for customers to call depots as all information is available immediately online.
 
The system has built-in data messaging and satellite navigation that automatically routes vehicles to their destination. GAP’s customer services team is able to see the exact location of every vehicle in real time. This keeps customers informed of ETAs, and coordinates drivers to ensure the correct drop-off location.

Frank McGrory, GAP’s Head of IT, explained, “Key aims of the BigChange project include enhancing customer interactions on-site, driving delivery efficiency with live scheduling and tracking, and significantly improving administration to make life easier for our customers and employees.

“Thanks to this rollout, we envisage that we will see a reduction of 8% in fuel use and 5% in the overall distance travelled by our HGV fleet. We also forecast a decrease in paper used from over 3.2 million sheets to around 500,000. For example, we will be reducing the number of printed copies of despatch notes to a single copy with immediate effect.

“There are still several aspects of the system that we are looking to utilise better. Ultimately customers will have the ability to access records of their hires themselves.” •
     
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