The changes in seasons are typically a time of hyperactivity for HVAC companies. Service calls and emergency situations are even more likely to occur in the change from fall into winter and again spring into summer. Families, businesses and commercial properties rely on HVAC service providers to keep people at a comfortable, safe temperature.
Efficiency can sometimes get lost in the mix during these times of the year. Things like excessive idle time, inventory errors, lack of necessary equipment, route planning problems, and other fleet management problems can all eat away at an HVAC service company’s bottom line.
Improve HVAC Service Fleet Management
In recent decades GPS technology has evolved from early handheld outdoor devices to become a trusted and effective tool for service fleet management. GPS tracking units can be integrated into a vehicle or trailer’s onboard electric system to collect passive data or to transmit information in real-time. When paired with sophisticated software suites and easy-to-use analytics it allows fleet managers to address some of the more common inefficiency issues.
GPS Tracking For HVAC Route Planning
HVAC service technicians often perform at multiple sites within a given day. Being able to efficiently plan their routes and order of their service calls saves time and can also improve client satisfaction levels. GPS logistics software can also help account for things like planning around heavy traffic times and making sure that all services vehicles or equipment trailers are being allocated where they are needed most.
Improved Efficiency For Answering Emergency Calls
HVAC service companies tend to receive a high volume of emergency service calls in the transition seasons of spring and fall. Families and residential properties are some of the more high-volume calls when a heating or air conditioning unit fails. However, commercial properties are just as likely to need HVAC services, specialty equipment, and a significant volume of materials.
State of the art GPS technology paired with sophisticated software can help track assets and materials throughout the course of one or more service days. When an emergency call comes in, fleet managers can use accurate logistics and inventory to make sure that the right materials and technicians are deployed efficiently.
Being able to provide timely, efficient, and effective services to families as well as high-value commercial properties greatly improves client satisfaction rates. This, in turn, improves the chances of earning future referrals to attract and retain clients.
GPS Tracking Technology Improves Driver Accountability
Things like speeding tickets, service vehicle accidents, and other safety liability issues can also eat into an HVAC service fleet’s profitability. Not only can these incidents incur short-term costs, but it can also lead to future increases in a company’s insurance premiums.
It’s also worth noting that there are several US insurance companies that are offering GPS-related “Safe Driver” programs. This is potentially the first step in US providers following in the footsteps of many European insurance companies who provide premium discounts for vehicles with active GPS systems.
Both passive and real-time GPS tracking systems can be used to monitor as well as analyze the way drivers use company vehicles. With some of these vehicles, a dash cam can be paired with the GPS tracker to help thwart false fraud accusations. This information might also be used for improved driver safety retraining.
There are also some HVAC service companies who provide their technicians with a company vehicle and possibly an equipment trailer. While this can increase route planning and timing of morning service calls, it can also lead to issues with security and misuse.
With GPS tracking technology onboard service technicians are more likely to use equipment responsibly. It also discourages concerns with employees moonlighting with company resources.
GPS Technology Improves Equipment Security
Many would-be thieves and vandals recognize service vehicles and equipment trails as high-value targets. While thoughtful parking, marking and physical security measures can help dissuade these people, they cannot provide active security alters.
A GPS tracking device that is wired into a vehicle’s electric system or a trailer electric battery braking assist system can be set up with a variety of active alerts. When a door is opened or a shock sensor is tripped, the GPS unit can send a wireless signal to a smartphone or other device. Depending on how the system is configured, these alerts might also be able to lock out a vehicle’s ignition or secure a trailer’s brakes.
These devices can be used for company vehicles that HVAC technicians take home with them, as well as trailers and vehicles stored on company property during off-hours. Sometimes large, high-value pieces of equipment can have GPS tracking devices installed in case they are removed from the equipment trailer or vehicle lot.
In the event that a service vehicle or equipment trailer is stolen the onboard GPS tracking technology can be used to help law enforcement track down and retrieve the unit with minimal loss.
GEO Fencing Solutions Ensure Compliance
Misuse and theft are major concerns for any service company. Especially HVAC service companies who need to move vehicles, equipment trailers, and specialty components to multiple clients. Companies with a large service area, often provide technicians with their own specific service area.
GPS technology can be used to establish a Geo fenced area. Anytime a vehicle is moved outside of the established parameters an alert can be sent to a manager’s smartphone or laptop computer. This works to discourage employees from using company vehicles for unapproved personal use.
Geofences can also be set up to cover the boundaries of a parking lot of the equipment yard. When a GPS device is wired into the vehicle’s electric system, it can be set up to send off-hours alerts any time a vehicle is moved beyond the defined boundary.
This can be especially helpful for times when you may need to leave an equipment trailer or vehicle at a commercial property site that needs multiple days of service. The GPS-based Geo fence essentially provides you with off-site security and the peace of mind of knowing that you will be alerted in the event of a problem.