United Subcontractors Inc. (USI) sought a GPS tracking solution to coincide with a company initiative to take all operations digital. By using Verizon Connect with their existing platforms and fleet management company, USI has been more efficient with resources and has improved operations. USI estimates that normalized fuel costs are down 10 percent and maintenance fees are down 10-15 percent.
About the company
United Subcontractors, Inc. (USI) was founded in 1998 and currently has 1,700 employees. Headquartered in St. Paul, MN, USI serves the construction industry with 46 additional locations, serving clients in 16 states. Their 979 vehicle fleet is spread out across the United States and is made up of vans, pick-ups, various class box trucks and trailers.
USI needed seemless integration
United Subcontractors, Inc. viewed GPS vehicle tracking software as one component of a larger company initiative to take all day-to-day administrative operations digital. “We needed vehicle locations, optimized routes and near real-time data in order to get our jobs out as quickly and efficiently as possible,” says Jim Liverseed, Director of Facilities and Fleet Operations at USI.
At the beginning of their search, USI knew there were a handful of capabilities they needed. After looking at a number of providers, they ultimately made the decision to go with Verizon Connect. “It came down to the flexibility of the team. The Verizon Connects' team was able to accommodate how we wanted the software to perform when competing providers weren’t able to. Verizon Connect by far had the most capabilities and most flexibility,” comments Liverseed.
One way Verizon Connect has been a great solution for USI is that they have been able to integrate Verizon Connects’ software with both their WEX fuel card data from a different provider and with their fleet management company ARI. “Between the three being linked together, we’ve really been able to leverage all our information and data as best as possible,” says Liverseed.
Verizon Connect has improved service and cut costs
Since installing Verizon Connect, USI has improved service and reaction time to their customers. “We are better at scheduling our jobs and meeting customer demand. We can predict when we will be somewhere based on what the hours are, where the jobs are and how long we will take to be there,” says Liverseed. “It feels like we are smarter. We aren’t having last minute emergencies nearly as often. We are able to anticipate potential issues before they happen.”
USI has been able to streamline their fleet size by allocating the right amount of trucks to each branch. “A local manager may request seven trucks for a job. With Verizon Connect, you realize that the job and routing can be done more efficiently with only five trucks,” says Liverseed. “Now that’s fleet you can employ elsewhere or less fleet you need to have. Less vehicles sitting idle, less vehicles to maintain and less to insure. Costs go down.”
Having accurate odometer readings has also been huge for USI. Before Verizon Connect, the company relied on manual odometer readings, which were prone to human error. “I now know exactly how many miles each vehicle has on it. If a vehicle has low miles, I can take that from one branch and reallocate it to another branch. Something as simple as accurate odometer readings every day on a fleet of nearly 1,000 vehicles saves a company like USI thousands of dollars,” says Liverseed.
Another benefit to having daily odometer readings is that USI estimates the fleet has gone from having 70% of their fleet maintenance compliant in the past to 90 percent preventative maintenance compliance. This helps the company save money on maintenance costs. “Even with an increased fleet size, by having 90 percent preventative maintenance compliance, we are spending 10-15 percent less in repairs every month. We are just doing those things at the right time,” points out Liverseed.
Fuel savings: Due to more efficient routing, the company has seen a reduction in their normalized fuel cost by 10% even though they have only evaluated a third of their fleet so far. “There are more realized savings to be had,” says Liverseed.
Increased employee efficiency: “We put geofences around the fuel station every morning. In the first week, we had 10 alerts from the same crew spending over 25 minutes at the stations every day. All we had to do is pull one guy aside and the next week, zero alerts. We’re getting more out of our guys.”
Data flexibility: Liverseed has found that the ability to raise and lower thresholds on alerts has been very useful. “I don’t need to know who is going 2 mph over the speed limit, but if it’s over 15 and I know about it, I’m going to sit that guy down and have a talk.”
Higher company-wide visibility: With vehicle tracking along with daily reports and alerts, Liverseed is seeing a new trend. “Now managers have better visibility and are able to see where each branch is and track their progress throughout the month. They can now be proactive about how company-wide resources are being used.”