Plumbing and Heating: How to handle a busy winter period

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Frozen pipes, emergency call-outs and unsociable hours often conspire to make the winter period particularly busy for those in the plumbing and heating industry.

While busy periods are nothing to complain about, keeping up with demand, particularly concerning something as time-sensitive as restoring heat or hot water to a household or business, is not always easy.

Fortunately, technologies such as GPS fleet tracking can help to alleviate some of the stress of a busy winter – potentially helping plumbing and heating businesses to meet extra demand while boosting efficiency and controlling costs. Here’s how:

Respond faster

Time is of the essence when responding to an emergency call-out. Any delays to your service can greatly impact customer service, and in turn, the likelihood of any repeat business.

With the help of GPS tracking, not only can you quickly ascertain the nearest driver to any given location in just a few clicks, but you can also quickly and easily share this information with your customer. Near real-time location data also allows you to offer updates to ETAs whenever necessary ensuring your customer knows exactly when to expect your arrival.

Empower your engineers

Rolling out a fleet management solution across your fleet not only allows you to monitor the location of your mobile workforce, it also affords them greater access to the resources they need to do their jobs.

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With your vital information held in a central portal, available from any device, your engineers can access maps, job instructions, quotes, invoices, customer information and much more from the palm of their hand. This in turn helps them to provide a more seamless and efficient service. Plus, as timesheet population, re-routing instructions and job status updates can be communicated digitally between the office and staff in the field, your engineers can spend less time on paperwork and more time with customers.

Maximise the working day

In an ideal world, when a busy period hits, most businesses would like to respond by employing more staff. However, this is not an option for many heating and plumbing firms for a number of reasons. Margins may be too tight to recruit, additional vehicles and equipment may not be readily available and skilled engineers are not easy to find, particularly at short notice.

Fortunately, with the help of GPS tracking, plumbing and heating business owners can strive to fully maximise the resources they already have. By optimising routing, taking into account the location of the day’s stops along with weather and road conditions, it may be possible to fit more jobs into the working day for your engineers.

Keep your valuable assets safer

Dark evenings, wet weather and icy temperatures can all make working during a busy winter period more treacherous than at other times of the year. GPS fleet tracking can help here too. These systems can gather data on speeding and other unsafe driving practices, such as harsh acceleration and late braking. This information can then be used to build a driver scorecard, rating each staff member’s safety score, allowing you to incentivise the best performers and coach those at the other end of the scale. This can even be relayed to drivers in near-real time through audible in-cab alerts which sound whenever unsafe driving occurs.

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