As a fleet manager, your responsibilities are seemingly endless, from safety issues and driver behavior, to route planning and fleet maintenance. What’s more, budget concerns remain a very real obstacle. Fortunately, GPS technology can help you do more with less while saving both time and money. Your payroll system is no exception. Read on to learn how Time and Attendance, a GPS-powered tool from Synovia Solutions, can help you better manage all aspects of your payroll system.
Time and Attendance Works with Your Current Payroll System
Time and Attendance is capable of integrating with your current setup so that all of the information captured through GPS tracking can be exported to the payroll system you’re already using quickly and easily.
Time and Attendance Allows You to Automate Time Collection
By using Time and Attendance to automate time collection, you can eliminate paper timesheets by having your drivers login from their vehicles rather than your facility. By tracking driver and employee time more effectively, you can ensure a one-hour route isn’t being logged as a two-hour job or a driver with a four-hour day isn’t being paid for six hours’ worth of work.
Time and Attendance Increases Payroll Accuracy
If your employees are logging their time by hand, chances are your payroll accuracy is suffering. By automating time collection, you can save quite a bit simply by eliminating inaccurate time entries. Even if you’re off by as little as one or two percent, that can have a significant effect on your overall payroll budget, no matter if you manage 20 vehicles or 2,000.
Time and Attendance Keeps You in the Know
One of the largest benefits associated with Time and Attendance is being able to accurately capture time for payroll purposes. If you’re paying your drivers based on time, it’s essential to know how much of that time is actually involved in a specific route or activity. Time and Attendance enables your drivers to log a job type with the same keypad they use to clock in from their vehicle, whether it’s their regular daily school route or a field trip.
Time and Attendance also lets you review and manage the time that is being collected. As your drivers log in, your GPS system is sending that data back to you through the Synovia Solutions platform, which you can review to see who’s logged in, what their time cards look like and more – all in real time. In addition, you can compare your existing route schedules from your planning system to the actual time being logged by your drivers, so if a driver assigned to a six hour shift is logging eight hours, you’ll know.
Time and Attendance Helps You Manage Healthcare Requirements
Even if you don’t pay your drivers based on time and instead use a daily or flat rate, accurate time capturing is incredibly important when it comes to healthcare, specifically the Affordable Care Act, which requires employees who work beyond 30 hours per week be provided health care benefits. If you’re not currently offering these types of benefits, the Affordable Care Act can present you with a rather large expense. That’s why it’s so important that you ensure the time you collect is accurate.
Time and Attendance Makes Life Easier for Your Employees
Time and Attendance also includes an employee portal, which allows drivers to log in and view how many hours they’ve logged. The employee portal also allows non-drivers or dual-role employees (someone who may drive in the mornings and work as an office employee during the day) to log time spent on activities that don’t involve operating a vehicle. This can be done from a computer, so both time spent on the road and in the office can all be captured on one time card.
Even if one of your drivers forgets to log in or out, GPS data will provide you with a full picture of that driver’s day, from when that driver left to time they returned. There are no “he said, she said” arguments over time discrepancies because all of the data is right there in front of you.
Time and Attendance Saves You Money. Period.
The example below shows a timecard representing a week’s worth of work, which alerts you to the fact that the amount of time logged exceeds the time allotted for a particular route or shift, enabling you to investigate and subsequently correct the situation.
Below that you can see weekly totals representing logged activities, including time spent per day. Having this information helps you better manage your employee payroll and reduce time spent on specific shifts or activities where possible, leading to significant overall cost savings.
Using a K-12 fleet as an example, you can see the results North Carolina’s Lincoln County Schools have experienced after integrating their payroll system with Time and Attendance:
When managing a public safety fleet, you need a way to ensure your personnel are in position to respond to emergencies as quickly as possible. But as tightening budgets meet rising fuel and maintenance costs, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to serve those who need you most.
Fortunately, Synovia Solutions has everything you need to better manage your entire public safety fleet, from police squad cars and unmarked patrol units to fire trucks, EMS ambulances and beyond. Synovia Solutions GPS technology enables you to track driver behavior, so you can enforce safer driving habits while decreasing unnecessary fuel consumption.
With GPS tracking tools from Synovia Solutions, you can enhance service to the community and ensure your vehicles remain in the line of duty. How? With route verification tools that confirm whether an area is being patrolled and engine fault code alerts that enable minor repairs to be made before they become major problems.
With Synovia Solutions GPS tracking, your officers, firefighters, paramedics and other first responders will be able to reach those in need faster while your department will see a reduction in fuel and maintenance expenditures and marked improvement in overall cost savings, vehicle uptime, accountability and more.
Want to find out more?
Simply download our guide, How GPS Systems Protect Police and the Communities They Serve. Inside, you’ll discover how GPS tracking can make police work safer and more cost efficient, from crime mapping and route planning to savings on fuel and maintenance expenses.
The best way to make your school system’s buses are as safe and efficient as possible is through careful route planning. Optimal routes will save time and money, and keep your students safe. But even with considerable planning, it’s important to audit your routes and monitor them on a frequent basis.
You need insights to how your routes are performing relative to the planned routes. Are your bus drivers following the routes as designed? Did the bus get to its stop on time, and not early or late? Did it make all the stops it was supposed to, or were stops added? Did the bus arrive at the school on time? Synovia’s Comparative Analysis tool allows transportation managers to review the route planning with the actual results.
Comparative Analysis tracks key performance indicators like arrival time at school, missed stops, extra stops made, and punctuality so you know how your drivers are doing, and can determine why vehicle routing problems occur. It matches your planned routes to the actual data on both a macro and micro level. For any district, Comparative Analysis can give you a percentage of buses running on time to gauge your overall fleet. And it gives you the ability to drill down to look at specific schools, specific routes, etc. to make adjustments.
A transportation director can even monitor buses in real time. With live updates, a route’s current status is always available with an ETA on individual stops and arrival at the school. With the Yard Monitor, you know when buses enter and leave the parking lot so you know as early as possible if a bus is late or a driver is a no-show, and can take the appropriate action.
Comparative Analysis provides you with the facts to deal with issues such as a missed bus. Rather than having to take a driver’s word against that of a parent claiming the bus didn’t stop for their child, a transportation director can go to the data to see exactly what happened, and defuse conflict before it starts. Historical data can be provided to tell the parent when the best time would be for their child to get to their stop.
Routing adjustments are made to help you optimize your routes and improve your fleet metrics. Is a driver taking 20 miles to drive a 10-mile route because of problems with traffic in the area? Is it driver error? Is the driver avoiding dangerous intersections? Now you have the data to compare what’s supposed to be happening with what is happening, and whether changes need to be made to the plan.
The best transportation plan is the one that’s safe for passengers and drivers, provides convenient service for students and parents, and saves the district money. With Comparative Analysis and accurate real-time data and insights, that plan can become reality.
Real-time vehicle information on the health of your city’s fleet – from police cars to bulldozers to ambulances – allows you to make informed decisions. This equips your team to perform preventative maintenance and often times dispatch mechanics before they are even requested. Without a remote diagnostics solution like Synovia, cities have to touch check every vehicle and preventable maintenance is overlooked or forgotten due to workload. This results in more downtime for your workers and costlier repairs to the vehicles. That’s why remote diagnostics technology can be a vital tool for a municipal maintenance manager.
Remote vehicle diagnostics pulls information every minute the vehicle is in use and gives you visibility into the vehicles’ performance. The vehicles are tracked by the vehicle identification numbers (VIN). Diagnostics such as odometer readings, fuel economy, and fault codes feed into our software. This data empowers a maintenance manager to act on real-time information and proactively manage the department.
1. Improve scheduling of preventative maintenance.
When you rely on a driver to report mileages, or maintenance staff members to check them, there will be inconsistencies in the data. Someone forgets to report the numbers, or writes down the wrong odometer reading. With direct data from remote diagnostics, human error is at its absolute minimum.
2. Accurately track your fleet’s health and driver behavior.
Fuel consumption and fault codes are useful indicators to review both the vehicle health and driver behavior. For example, unexpectedly high fuel usage can be an indication of a leak or perhaps reckless driving. You can also audit city-issued credit cards to ensure they aren’t being used for personal use. Without up-to-date and accurate information, a situation can go unnoticed for quite some time before it’s caught.
3. Provide damage control and be proactive to vehicle issues.
Every driver won’t react instantly to something like a temperature light. If a problem is severe, that delayed response can cause major damage to the vehicle. With remote diagnostics, the maintenance manager can receive a text or an email alert so that the team can act quickly to certain fault codes.
Knowledge is power, and a deeper insight into the status of a city’s vehicle fleet can preserve vehicles’ lives and save money. This allows you to provide better service and help your team do its job.
My name is Andy Gall, the new Director of Customer Service at Synovia Solutions. I have spent the past 15 years supporting complex technical solutions, always focusing on how these tools will be utilized by teachers and students. I have learned that honest communication is the foundation of every healthy relationship. I also know that no matter how great the technology is, people have to use it for there to be value. Our success depends upon your ability to consistently use the technology. The Synovia team is committed to developing solutions that help you do your job with the most effective use of resources.
The following information is meant to help familiarize you with some of the many ways we at Synovia Solutions can help you should you ever need assistance. We recognize that our customer service has not performed to the level of support that we desire. I am proud to announce several changes that have been implemented in an effort to provide excellent customer service and not just adequate support.
A Team of Professionals Here to Serve You
At Synovia, our support team is full of fleet management experts who know our software inside and out. Their commitment to our customers and years of experience mean you’ll always get the help you need. Synovia is committed to improving our service as evidenced by doubling our support staff over the past six months. These new team members are intent on providing excellent service through extensive training and a commitment to honest communication.
Should you ever have a question or concern regarding your software or hardware, you have several methods of contacting us. As usual, phone calls are answered directly by Synovia employees at 1-877-SYNOVIA (1-877-796-6842), Monday – Friday from 7 am to 6 pm EST. However, the first improvement you may notice is that if you need assistance after hours, our automated phone system will put you in contact with Synovia support staff 24/7. After you call our toll free number, simply press “2” to be connected with support staff member at any time.
Should your concerns be better communicated in by typing, the second method for getting assistance is through email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Requests will be processed and assigned to a support staff. The individual assigned to your case will contact you directly and keep you updated with the status of your concern’s resolution.
The final improvement that I want so share with you is our Customer Portal. We have been building an extensive knowledge base and these searchable solutions are available to all our customers at any time. This resource, along with direct access to case submissions, is another method to keep you better informed. Be on the lookout for your email invitation to login to the portal. The primary contact for your organization will be sent this login information, but additional members of your staff can be given access as well upon request.
All equipment purchased from Synovia comes with a 1-year warranty on hardware. However, if you’re a Synsurance customer, your warranty lasts the entire length of your agreement, so you never have to worry about your coverage expiring. Should you ever experience a problem with your equipment, it will be replaced at no cost. We provide you with spare devices so in the event a unit fails, you won’t have to wait for your claim to be processed. Regardless if you have an item under warranty or if you have Synsurance, our RMA request form is available on the website or through the Customer Portal. We ask that you verify a few simple product checks and then you will be issued an RMA number and you can ship the item to our office.
If you have any further questions or would just like to chat about how Synovia Solutions can help you better manage your fleet, please do not hesitate to contact me. I look forward to answering any questions you may have.
Director of Customer Service
GPS tracking solutions, such as the ones offered by Synovia, provide you with the gift of information. To maximize benefits, it is important to use fleet telematics as a complete fleet management solution and utilize the information provided to guide your day-to-day actions. Below are five ways Synovia Solutions can help you reduce time and money spent managing your fleet.
1. Decreased Fuel Consumption- Fleet management solutions from Synovia can help save on fuel costs by empowering you to monitor and subsequently manage and influence driver behavior. You can ensure your drivers are adhering to their assigned route, not burning fuel unnecessarily by taking “the long way back.” Synovia’s software can also monitor how much time your vehicles spend idling, so you’ll know if fuel is being wasted while a vehicle is parked. And by tracking driver performance, including excessive speeding, harsh braking, abrupt turning and sudden acceleration, you can make certain that your drivers operate your vehicles safely and efficiently.
2. Improved Operational Efficiency- GPS applications generate more efficient route planning and scheduling, helping you achieve noticeable cost savings. You’ll be able to consolidate routes, allowing your fleet to operate with the appropriate number of vehicles. And while most schools and commercial operations have a route planning system in place, there is no way to tell what is actually taking place out on the road without a tracking solution. For example, If one of your drivers were to stray from their assigned route, you would never know unless you actually witnessed it happening. Synovia software eliminates this uncertainty.
3. Reduced Vehicle Mileage and Wear- Every minute on the road is costly. By managing excessive braking, hard turns, speeding and acceleration, those costs can be greatly reduced. With Synovia, you can tell if a 20 mile route is taking longer than planned so you can put a stop to side trips, courtesy stops and other inappropriate use of your asset. Synovia Solutions also lets you monitor engine diagnostics. If a fault code appears, our software can inform you of the problem in real-time, helping you avoid costly repairs. What’s more, Synovia telematics gives your dispatchers the ability to see which vehicles are closest to a specific location, so they can send the nearest driver in the event of an emergency. This can be especially valuable if you are looking to better response times or avoid additional wear on high mileage vehicles.
4. More Control Over Your Payroll System- If your drivers are paid hourly and you don’t have a foolproof way of tracking their time, your payroll costs are likely higher than they should be. With Time and Attendance from Synovia, you can rest easy knowing the hours your employees log is correct. A web-based solution, Time and Attendance allows drivers to clock in and out from their vehicles rather than a central location or a paper timesheet, so you no longer have to wonder if time logged is accurate. Time and Attendance can also help you manage the number of hours employees work each week. If an employee’s hours are close to the full-time threshold, assignments can be shifted, allowing your department to avoid benefit-related expenses associated with the Affordable Care Act. In addition, Time and Attendance helps manage overtime costs, saving your department even more. And since Time and Attendance ties in directly to your payroll system, reports can be sent directly to your payroll department, drastically reducing time spent on manual data entry or re-keying information.
5. Increased Time Savings- Think about it – how much time do you spend dealing with day-to-day issues, like parents or customers calling wondering where one of your vehicles is located? All of those calls rob you of your time, forcing you to stop what you’re doing and investigate. Without GPS, you will always be in the dark. With Synovia, the light switch goes one and you’ll always know the exact location of every vehicle in your fleet, so you can take care of any issues quickly and stay focused on your daily responsibilities.
When it comes to fleet management systems, Synovia Solutions delivers a complete package that’s tough to beat. To start, our incredibly capable and intuitive platform is paired with a knowledgeable and experienced sales and support team you can count on. Then there’s Synsurance, a way to pay for your system over time that is unlike anything our competition can offer. In fact, many of our current customers have switched from another GPS solutions provider to Synovia because it’s simple, easy to use and doesn’t require any upfront investment. To help make your choice even more clear, we’ve assembled seven reasons to get started with Synovia.
With Synsurance, there are no upfront costs.- Synsurance means you pay nothing to get started with Synovia, and includes everything you need to get going right away, including all training, hardware and support. What’s more, we guarantee there will never be a price increase for the life of your agreement, so you can your plan your budget knowing your costs won’t increase.
We provide you with essential information in a simple, easy to understand way- Synovia software identifies things you should look out for, be it alerts or key performance indicators – all of which can be fully customized. With Synovia, you never have to dig deep to find the right data. We provide you with clear, high level information tailored to your specific needs. And if there is something that requires your immediate attention, our applications will alert you and provide the details you need to address any issue you may encounter.
Synovia provides an intuitive platform that can be learned quickly- Our software was designed to be incredibly user-friendly from day one, so the amount of training required is minimal. In fact, all of our training videos are embedded in our online help section. We also host a monthly online training webinar at no cost to our clients. Should you ever need a refresher or are looking to get a new hire up to speed, you have the ability to choose when and where you want to learn.
Our platform is designed to do more- In addition to the numerous core benefits our software delivers, Synovia software is engineered to be easy to connect to other third party applications so that you can adopt new capabilities quickly and easily.
Synovia has your back. Always.- At Synovia, our expert support team is full of industry veterans who know every aspect of our software and fully understand fleet management. Their commitment to our customers and years of experience means you’ll never have to search for the right answers to your questions.
We stand behind our products- With Synsurance, your warranty never expires. We provide spare hardware for you to keep on-site. If any piece of your hardware ever malfunctions, we’ll send you a replacement part immediately and at no cost to you, so you don’t have to worry about dealing with extended downtime. We back this up with a 99% uptime guarantee, or we pay.
Software that’s always up-to-date- Synovia provides important software updates three to four times a year. Each update can be accessed quickly and easily and integrates with your existing technology seamlessly. The best part? Every update provides a clear benefit and will never complicate your existing setup.
As school systems nationwide continue to face cuts in state educational funding, district officials are looking to technology as a way to increase operational efficiencies. One of these officials is Steve Zickefoose, Assistant Superintendent for the Lincoln County, North Carolina school district. Steve and the Lincoln County schools have been using Synovia Solutions for the past two years. We spoke with Steve, who shared how Synovia has helped his district improve operations and reduce costs.
As Assistant Superintendent, what keeps you up at night?
Just one thing. A continual decrease in state funding.
Is that what led you to seek outside help?
Primarily. For one, we were looking for a better way to capture employee time for payroll purposes. Drivers were clocking in when they arrived at our transportation building, not when they boarded their buses. This was costing us. We wanted to examine our bus routes and scheduling procedures to see if there were ways we could make either more efficient. We were also concerned about student safety, and needed a way to determine the location of our buses at all times.
What were your reasons for choosing to work with Synovia?
We had been looking for a partner for the better part of two years, and considered a wide range of options. But no one else seemed to offer what Synovia offered us. There were a lot of monthly data costs with other vendors, and many didn’t have a product that was able to communicate with our current software. With Synovia, neither was an issue.
And Synovia was the only group we spoke with that didn’t require full payment up front. With Synsurance(SM), we were able to lease our equipment rather than having to buy it outright. Having a pay-as-you-go structure was huge for us. Not having to present capital up front is what allowed us to afford a solution like Synovia at all. Plus, we knew Synovia had helped several other districts. We knew they were industry pioneers with a proven track record.
What was it like to get started?
Synovia was in constant contact with us throughout the entire implementation phase. They exceeded our expectations by leaps and bounds by meeting all of our immediate needs. What’s more, Synovia met with us in-person and demonstrated their software using live data from our own fleet. And once it’s setup, there is no need for additional support. The system is so simple to operate.
How would describe your overall experience?
Our experience has been excellent. We use Synovia to track just about all of our vehicles. There hasn’t been much need to interact with the Synovia team as far as troubleshooting is concerned, but they touch base with us every couple of weeks to see how things are going. We’ve served as a reference for Synovia to other districts on several occasions. When they ask why we recommend Synovia, we tell them it’s because their product is functional, reliable and it just works. Period.
With Parent Portal from Synovia Solutions, you can drastically reduce the amount of calls you receive from parents while helping to protect students from hazards such as inclement weather. Parent Portal allows parents to view the location of their child’s bus in real-time using a digital map viewable on a smartphone, tablet or computer.
With the information provided by Parent Portal, parents can send their children to the bus stop at just the right time, reducing their exposure to weather conditions, traffic and other dangers. They can even see if a bus has visited their specific stop, before or after school. So, the children are no longer waiting at the bus stop if they were running behind and already missed the bus.
Parents simply log in to a secure website using a private student ID number, granting them access to their child’s bus only. If a household has students that attend different schools on separate buses, parents can setup an account for each child.
We know several factors can lead to increased phone traffic, especially at the beginning of the school year – new drivers, new routes, new homes and new traffic patterns, to name a few. Before school resumes this fall, an updated version of Parent Portal will be released. This new version will enable parents to receive a text message or email notification as early as five minutes before a bus arrives at their child’s stop. If Student Ridership is enabled, parents will also be able to view when their child steps on the bus and when they step off. At just $1 per bus, per month, Parent Portal is smart, affordable technology that saves time and increases student safety.
The Affordable Care Act can cost you thousands per driver each year. So it comes as no surprise that we’ve received several calls in recent weeks asking how Synovia Solutions can help. Our answer? Time and Attendance – one of the smartest ways your transportation department can save on healthcare-related expenditures.
Time and Attendance pays for itself and typically begins producing a return-on-investment within 90 days. What’s more, Time and Attendance can assist in decreasing the total number of unwanted hours worked by transportation employees. In fact, one of our current clients expects to see a 14% decrease in labor costs this year.
It works like this: Drivers clock in and out using a keypad inside of each bus, so their day begins when they are at the wheel. Office personnel use an existing computer to track their hours to the same system. This way, every employee’s time ends up in the same place.
Time and Attendance can help you manage the number of hours employees work each week. If an employee’s hours are close to the full-time threshold of 30 hours, assignments can be shifted, allowing your department to avoid benefit-related expenses associated with the Affordable Care Act. In addition, Time and Attendance helps manage overtime costs, saving your department even more.
And since Time and Attendance ties in to your payroll system, reports can be sent directly to your payroll department, drastically reducing time spent on manual data entry. At an additional cost of just $2* per person, per month, for current Synovia software users, it might be the most cost-effective implementation you make in 2014.
* Additional hardware may be required.