Tri City Glass is learning to use telematics to operate its fleet more efficiently

Sometimes a person will call up, and they have a door that was caught by the wind, and they need service. We look at it, and whoever's the closest service tech, we route him over there. Before, we would never know exactly where everyone was at. So, it works out real well.

FM: Have you had the opportunity to use the data and alerts from Networkfleet to manage your maintenance work with your outside vendors?

LB: We haven't done that yet. We manually record our mileage at the moment. We started out pursuing the Networkfleet system for one reason, basically, and we keep on progressing and adding things as we become more aware of the capabilities and as we see how well it works.

That's something we haven't utilized currently, but we are working on it. Eventually, we can set it with our mileages, so it can alert when the oil changes come up.

One thing we're looking at a little more closely with our auto glass vehicles is, because those need to run a little bit more to keep the sealants and glass warm in the wintertime, if we go primarily off of miles, it's not a true, actual read on the engine run time. So on those vehicles we've reduced the miles between oil changes from 3,000 to 1,500 in the wintertime.

FM: What are your maintenance intervals?

LB: We have been doing that manually. We have different cycles; with our diesels we run synthetic oil at a 5,000 mile interval. Our gas engines in the typical service truck, those are set at 3,000, and again, the auto glass trucks are set at 1,500 for the wintertime.

We haven't utilized Networkfleet as far as our preventive maintenance program, not to its potential. But we'll be inching that way as we go.

FM: Do you personally manage the details of your maintenance program, or leave that to the outside providers?

LB: At each location we have one person in charge of DOT regulations. We need to do inspections, and at that time they record the mileage. We need to fill out a paper form to satisfy the DOT requirements, checking lights and horns and seat belts and all of those things, so when they do that, then we check the mileage.

We have a sheet that our drivers have to fill out daily. It's essentially about a 15 question checklist: check the horn, check the tire wear, that kind of thing, just to make sure everything's working properly. Some of those items aren't things that Networkfleet would pick up, so that's why we're having to do that part of it manually. If we could get away from doing that manually, we most definitely would.

With our manual system of checking the miles, we're more vigilant about getting those oil changes done when they need to be. And that's something that's real important, and it's something that we're setting up to do with Networkfleet, because when we left it up to the driver to let us know when they needed an oil change, they were going well over. That's when we put in the manual system, but we will be doing it with Networkfleet shortly.

FM: Is the telematics system difficult to operate?

LB: We have dealt with Sam Colucci at Baycom in Green Bay, for our system, and as far as the support and their reaction time, it's second to none, really. They've done a really good job any time we have a question that we need an answer to, or we potentially have a diagnostic problem.

Again, we're still learning this, but we can call or e-mail, depending on the urgency, and we get answers right away.

Networkfleet is continually upgrading and improving, so it's not an 'out-of-the-box' deal that you order online and get in the mail and put in yourself and that's it... They recently changed their mapping, and how they set up their geofencing, that sort of thing. It's a very progressive company.

FM: Who installs the units, and where is it done?

LB: We've worked with Baycom on that, coordinating purchase and installation with them. When we were first looking at this, Sam brought in a demo and we were able to log in and check his fleet and see how it worked.

FM: Is there any other new technology that you're using in your fleet?

LB: Currently we're just working on trying to get the full potential out of everything we have. We talk to different contractors, and we're always fishing around for the best way to account for each person's time and vehicle usage and mileage, and all that.

We Recommend