Real-Time GPS Tracking Helps Contractor Improve Customer Service

By closely monitoring its fleet, Papalia Plumbing & Heating keeps technicians honest, efficient and on time.
Real-Time GPS Tracking Helps Contractor Improve Customer Service
Papalia Plumbing & Heating in Acton, Massachusetts, uses the Fleetmatics GPS fleet tracking system to ensure techs are on the job on time.

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Papalia Plumbing & Heating in Acton, Massachusetts, implemented the Fleetmatics GPS fleet tracking system to better monitor technicians. But the benefits don't stop there.

“It keeps them honest and efficient,” says Vicki Laake, office manager at Papalia. “We are able to zoom in if they are lost to help them find the customer’s home faster. It also helps us schedule jobs in a manner that keeps the travel time between jobs to a minimum.”

Papalia uses Fleetmatics primarily for tracking purposes, “to ensure techs are on the job on time,” Laake says. “It works with our dispatching program, so we are always looking to see what time they arrived and what time they left a job. “We also track startup and shutdown times for the guys that get paid hourly.”

Improved dispatching has been one of the biggest benefits of the Fleetmatics system. “It’s just helpful knowing where the techs are, so if customers call we can use that information to determine who is closest to a particular job site,” she says. “That’s always a plus when dealing with last-minute emergency calls.”

Part of keeping her technicians “honest” includes monitoring behavior. The "Speed Limits" feature supplies comprehensive data on speed limit information across all types of roads and geographies, and can send email alerts to the user when a vehicle commits a violation. The “Points of Interest” feature uses geofencing, enabling users to designate areas on a map where their vehicles may (or may not) be allowed to travel. “We have the supply houses listed, which makes it easy to find out which one is closest to the technician’s job site,” Laake says.

Papalia’s employees were initially suspicious of having a GPS tracking device in their trucks. “They felt like Big Brother’s watching,” Laake says. “But we’ve had it so long that I don’t think anyone thinks twice about it — unless they are lost or I get an alert that they are speeding in the company truck.”

The system has proven to protect Papalia against false accusations, too. “We had a random person call in to say one of our trucks did a hit-and-run. I immediately ran a report and found we did not have any trucks in that area during the time of the accident, and the caller hung up.”

When Papalia began using Fleetmatics, “it was the one of the few companies that offered this type of tracking,” Laake says. And in order to maximize their investment, they’ve renewed their agreement. “The maps are great and the system tracks in a way that fits our needs — that’s the biggest benefit for us.”

Laake gives particular praise to the "Detailed Reports" feature. “It gives you everything you need to know about where, when and for how long any truck is at any given time. It really helps with tracking the actual ‘on the job site’ time. We also find it useful if a tech is having issues finding a customer’s property because we can zoom in.”

Down the road, Laake hopes to take advantage of the "Maintenance Reports" feature to schedule regular oil changes and other service for her vehicles. But for now, she says, “Fleetmatics does what we need it to do.”


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