Guildford's fleet facelift reaps rewards
Quartix's vehicle tracking solution has proved invaluable for Guildford Borough Council where it has improved efficiency and led to early cost savingsFleet management has been modernised at Guildford Borough Council thanks to a GPRS real-time vehicle tracking solution from Quartix. The cost-effectiveness of the system has not only enabled the council to stay within budget, but helped it retain waste services in-house.
The council's fleet and waste operations department provides waste collection services to over 130,000 residents across one hundred square miles of combined urban and rural localities. Dave Tobutt, fleet & waste operations manager for the council, runs a fleet of more than 150 vehicles - HGVs, vans and pick-up trucks - streamed into separate divisions for refuse collection, recycling and street sweeping. He is responsible for 170 employees and an annual budget of £2.5M.
Two years ago, Tobutt became aware that there was scope for honing fleet efficiency, most notably in the area of route planning. Fleet operations had become entrenched and needed to be modernised. After reviewing the telematics market and trialing three separate vehicle tracking options, he selected the Quartix solution.
"Some systems appeared to be suitable but either required lots of PC-based equipment, or an operator to produce the tracking records," explains Tobutt. "I wanted a service to match fleet requirements in the most straightforward way - the Quartix system was the only one offering automatically-generated tracking logs on a daily basis."
Recalling the installation process, he remarks: "I was impressed by the excellent service provided by engineers. We now have 104 tracking units fitted - with staff acceptance and Union backing."
Keeping costs low
Tobutt explains how the advanced tracking service helps to mitigate administrative load and fleet running costs. "The benefit of the system is the provision of a managed service - emailed reports arriving every morning, detailing the previous day's operations.
"The service is reliable, fast and flexible - each of our three fleet divisions has a separate access code for its relevant tracking logs, but I retain an overview for monitoring purposes. Another bonus is that I can interrogate the database at any time, checking back as far as I want to. Accessing logs for the previous six months is not a problem."
Tobutt reports that his department is making cost savings of several thousand pounds per year through enhanced route planning. "This is especially true of the industrial collections, where 'crossover' situations have been eliminated."
Customer enquiries can also be dealt with more rapidly. "Where previously, a representative of the department would have made a customer visit in response to an enquiry, now we simply check the tracking log," says Tobutt. "This allows us to immediately reassure the resident, admit to any slip-ups, or defend staff if everything has been carried out according to our expectations."
The system's tracking facility has even acted as a crime deterrent, leading to the recovery of a stolen Johnston Compact road sweeper within 15 minutes. "Recovery of a vehicle of this type - valued at £60,000 - effectively repays the council's investment several times over," Tobutt points out.
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