Many residential homes in rural areas use fuel oil as their primary or backup heating source. It’s also very popular for keeping outbuildings and machine shops warm. During times of deep cold, fuel oil consumption can skyrocket catching people off guard. In these times property owners rely on fast, consistent fuel oil delivery to keep homes and outbuildings warm.
This can be a challenge for fuel oil delivery fleet managers, who need to ensure that the deliveries are scheduled efficiently. At the same time, they also need to make sure that operators are performing according to company rules as well as maintaining all pertinent safety regulations.
GPS Tracking Technology For More Efficient Route Planning
These days an increasing number of transportation fleets and fuel oil delivery companies are turning to GPS tracking technology and intuitive software solutions for a variety of benefits. One of the more important ones is to develop more efficient route planning.
Passive GPS and active real-time GPS systems can be used to collect data through the course of a driver’s route schedule. This can then be analyzed through sophisticated logistics software to help plan efficient delivery routes. Real-time GPS tracking systems, which can be wired into the vehicle’s onboard electrical system, can also come in handy for reallocating inventory to meet an emergency call.
For example, let’s say a high capacity fuel oil tank is delivering a scheduled volume to a client when a nearby emergency call comes into the dispatch center. The fleet manager can see where all the delivery trucks are in the service area in real-time. They can then reroute the closest truck that will have available volume available after their last delivery.
The net result is a saving in manhours and vehicle fueling, as well as rapid service to the emergency client. This, in turn, increases client satisfaction and improves the chances for repeat business as well as new client referrals.
Accurate Delivery And Volume Tracking
GPS tracking technology can also be tied into power take-off equipment as well as things like pump meters. This allows fleet managers to accurately monitor exactly how much fuel oil is being delivered to each client.
Many clients with fuel oil tanks, especially those in rural residential homes, don’t have tank indicators with exact volume. Instead, they tend to have relatively inaccurate level indicators that use fractions like a quarter, third, half or full tank. Knowing that they are getting precisely the correct volume of fuel oil improves overall client satisfaction.
It’s also worth noting that pump meters attached to our tracking systems help with things like employee compliance, operator accountability, and theft prevention. Some operators are aware of the inaccurate nature of residential fuel oil tanks and will be tempted to short one or more clients. This is even more likely to be an issue with operators who have their own fuel oil heating system, or an alternate client who they service off the company’s books.
Also known as a GYPSY activity, this practice might seem to short the company by a small volume in the short-term. Sometimes unscrupulous employees may short some customers fuel without your knowledge, and then sell that fuel to their own customers. It’s theft plain and simple against you, and your customers. As time goes on it can lead to a significant long-term loss that would be very difficult to track via old-fashioned pencil and paper methods.
When pump meters are incorporated with GPS technology and things like onboard video systems, a fleet manager can rest assured that the correct volume is being delivered to the correct clients. When the delivery truck operator knows that these systems are in place, it greatly reduces the temptation to engage in GYPSY behavior.
The Benefits GPS Tracking With Dash Cam Surveillance
Many transportation and delivery companies are also pairing state-of-the-art GPS tracking technology with onboard dash cams and other forms of vehicle video surveillance. These systems are particularly valuable for bulk service companies like those delivery fuel oil to rural locations.
Improved Driver And Operator Accountability
Drivers and fuel oil pump operators are far more likely to maintain company policies and adhere to safety regulations when they know that their behavior is being tracked by GPS-based video systems. Of course, this goes far beyond simple driver road safety and making sure all valve connections are secure before releasing the fuel oil from the primary tank.
Operators who are being tracked by vehicle video systems tend to treat delivery clients with a higher degree of customer service. They also tend to be more thorough with the basic service checks that go into making sure all equipment is in proper condition before initiating the delivery.
Drivers who are aware of an onboard video tracking system are also more likely to be careful with a client’s property. This leads to things like fewer reversing accidents and reduced damage to things like customer landscaping.
Reduction In Liability Claims
Onboard dashcam systems integrated with GPS tracking technology can also be helpful for limiting liability issues and defending false fraud claims. Every year commercial vehicles and operators are victims of false “Fraudsters” who will target them knowing that they are more likely to settle a claim out of court with a lucrative payment.
Some of the less sophisticated are simply individuals who will step in front of a delivery truck at a stoplight, claiming to have been hit and injured. Some of these individuals will even go so far as to recruit a co-conspirator to claim to be an “Eye Witness.”
In a scenario like this, a fuel delivery truck operator and the company that backs them have little viable recourse, but to offer a settlement. Unfortunately, this costs the company money upfront, and can also lead to a long-term increase in insurance premiums.
With an onboard dash camp and accessory video system, there can be irrefutable evidence that clears the company and operator. It might also aid law enforcement in pursuing legal action.
Proof Of Safe Operation
There are some rural residences where the home tank system’s valve is hard to access or surrounded by landscaping meant to casually disguise it. A fuel oil delivery truck with onboard video surveillance can also be used to defend claims of operator error or damage to the client’s property.
An Easy Return On Investment
One of the great things about GPS tracking technology, dash cams, and video systems is that they are also very inexpensive. When you weight the cost of even the most advanced systems against things like long-term GYPSY activity, operator errors, liability, and insurance premium increases, a fleet manager can rest assured that they will see a timely return on the investment.