Synovia Solutions Blog

ARE YOUR DRIVERS RUNNING THE RIGHT ROUTES?

Posted by Christina Dieckmeyer on Wed, May 17, 2017 @ 08:00 AM

Gaining insights you need for better route management.

5.16.17_gps_tracking_route_management.pngAre your drivers taking the routes you want them to? You have spent countless hours planning to ensure they are given the best and most efficient routes. But without the proper tools in place, you have no way of knowing whether your drivers are following the routes you’ve specified.

To combat this problem, consider integrating your routing system with a fleet tracking solution. Why? Because it means you’ll know when each vehicle should be at each stop, and whether they arrived as planned. Essentially, you can compare your planned and actual stops while also receiving informative summaries of the overall activity of your fleet.

Better Service & Satisfaction 

One of the major advantages to this kind of visibility into your fleet is improved customer satisfaction. It can be frustrating for your customers when there are unexpected delays or changes in the normal routine. Instead, imagine a scenario where you would be able to quickly alert your customers if a planned stop changes, or if the driver has deviated from the expected route. This would make your customers happier, and lead to fewer complaints to your transportation department.

Better Route Management

Ultimately, combining your route planning and GPS tracking allows you to effectively manage your routes. You can better ensure on-time departures and track route compliance. You can manage time performance and keep key people informed at all times. So the real question becomes: why wouldn’t you implement this solution?

Better visibility and understanding is key to planning and running the most efficient routes. School districts and businesses with fleet tracking tools have all the information they need to make the right decisions – and more.

To learn more about this, and other Synovia solutions, download your free copy of our magazine, Ridealong with Synovia Solutions. We'll help you stay on top of the latest fleet management trends, and decide what's right for you.

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Tags: route efficiency, GPS

WINTER CONSTRUCTION DEMANDS VIGILANCE FOR SAFETY AND QUALITY

Posted by Bill Westerman on Tue, Nov 24, 2015 @ 09:01 AM

SYN Winter Construction Demands 290x226It’s nearly wintertime in the United States, and across much of the country that means a seasonal shift in approach for construction companies. Cold weather sets in as the seasons change, and plummeting temperatures change the game for everyone who works outdoors. As you might expect – and U.S. Census Bureau data backs up this statement – business tends to drop for construction companies. However, with changes in the economy and construction technology in the past couple decades, there is no off-season.

Your business is expected to remain active even after the first snow. Here’s how you can accomplish that, maintain quality standards – and keep your crews safe. 

EVERY DETAIL IS CRITICAL 

You’re always careful about making sure every part of every job is done right, but in cold winter weather the margins are slimmer. Any minor mistake can snowball into a major problem, and the normal ways of doing things may not cut it when the temperature dips below freezing. Because of that, it’s critical to get all the details right when you’re building in winter.

Cold weather causes many typical construction materials to act differently than they do when it’s warm out. Water in concrete will freeze, resulting in crystals forming in the mix and the dried concrete failing to reach its full strength. Masonry has the same issues, as water expands while freezing which can cause strength issues in a finished masonry project. Digging foundations is made more difficult by frost in the ground – once the frost level goes below 8-12 inches, special machinery may be needed to penetrate it. When snow or freezing rain covers building frames, it becomes impossible to apply sealants. These are just a few of the problems that winter construction can bring, and any one of them can deal a heavy blow to your efforts. 

Winter is especially taxing for vehicles and equipment, making maintenance more an issue than ever. First of all, you must prepare your own equipment for cold weather. Preventative maintenance and checks of heat and defrosting systems are a good start. It’s also important to continually monitor your equipment all season long – don’t just give each vehicle a once-over and assume it’s good to go. This is one place where Synovia can help. Our Silverlining™ suite includes real-time engine diagnostics that give fleet managers the ability to know when repairs are needed before a breakdown. Unexpected repairs are a thing of the past, and the maintenance that’s done is far cheaper.

Fuel economy also becomes a bigger issue than normal during winter. Cold weather affects efficiency in a number of ways – cold engine oil increases friction, icy roads decrease grip and waste energy, even heaters waste energy. Synovia engine diagnostics allow fleet managers to monitor efficiency and take necessary steps to save fuel. Location tracking also helps, by giving insight into whether drivers are operating vehicles efficiently and whether they’re driving optimal routes.

Additional equipment is required past your usual arsenal as well. Heavy-duty equipment may be needed to properly dig through the frost layer to lay a foundation. If inclement weather strikes at the wrong time, the frame needs to be covered for sealant application. Masonry and concrete must be kept warm throughout the whole process, and anything from heating the components to simply heating the whole work site could be called for. If wind chill is a factor, wind breaks may need to be built as well. 

PROTECTING YOUR TEAM 

Job site safety is top of mind for every project, but again, the unique conditions of winter mean extra effort must be exerted to make your team safe. Ice, snow, and cold all make the job site a bit more dangerous than it would be in the pleasant weather of spring or fall, or even the heat of summer.

Driving in winter is an issue, whether it’s a truck going from site to site or a piece of equipment moving around on an individual site. Ensuring drivers are properly trained and licensed to operate the vehicles they drive in winter weather is critical. Simply reminding workers of the dangers of icy roads and frozen job sites is important as well. 

Workers being struck by vehicles on site is a major concern, since it’s far easier to skid or lose control of a vehicle in the ice or snow. Because of this, traffic controls are just as important on a work site as they are on the road. Signs, cones, barrels, and barriers can all be used to protect drivers and pedestrian workers alike. It’s also advisable to have workers wear reflective vests when on a site with active vehicles and other equipment. Every little bit you can do to keep workers visible and protected from the equipment they work around will help

Getting stranded in a vehicle is not only more likely in icy and snowy conditions, but the cold makes it more dangerous than it would be in more pleasant weather. It’s important to train your drivers to know what to do in such situations. It’s instinct to want to seek out help, but that’s one of the worst things you can do. Drivers need to know how to stay warm, signal for help, and prevent maladies like frostbite and carbon monoxide poisoning. This way a stranded vehicle will be a temporary inconvenience, rather than something much more frightening. 

It’s also a good idea to track vehicles as closely as possible, so you know where vehicles are and can direct help to the right location without delay. A Synovia GPS tracking system gives fleet managers constant visibility into vehicle locations in real time, 24/7. Not only does this allow a manager to locate vehicles, but alerts and reports monitoring driver behavior can also help crack down on unsafe driving. This data is useful for route-building and other reporting year-round, but in winter when safety is at a premium it’s absolutely critical. 

Slick surfaces are dangerous for workers on foot as well as ones operating vehicles. Whether on the ground or on the framework of a building or on a scaffold, slips and falls are an issue in the cold. Again, training for your workers is important. Walking more carefully and wearing the proper footwear will protect against a lot of issues. Make it clear to your team that rushing will do more harm than good, and that safety is a priority over speed. It’s also important to clear snow and ice from walkways as much as possible.

PREPARATION WILL MAKE WINTER WONDERFUL

No matter what, careful planning is important before any winter construction job starts. You can’t get caught off-guard by a blizzard, with no contingencies in place. Your needs will differ based on the unique project you’re working on, but the principle – preparation – is universal.

Your business can’t afford to take the winter off. You also can’t afford to sacrifice safety or quality. With this advice and a telematics partner like Synovia, your construction company will thrive in the cold.

 

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Tags: safety, fleet maintenance, route efficiency, construction, fleet managers, GPS, fuel efficiency

Don't Wait Until Winter to Prepare for the First Snow

Posted by Bill Westerman on Mon, Oct 19, 2015 @ 01:59 PM

It’s October, which means fall is here. In much of the country there’s a chill in the air, the leavesconstruction snow plow are starting to turn, and football season is getting into gear. But for fleet managers, the beginning of fall means more than anything else that it’s time to start preparing for what’s next – winter. There’s a lot to do. Vehicles used year-round have to be prepared for the change in weather. Equipment that’s only used in winter need to be retrieved from storage and prepared for a return to action.

You can’t wait until roads are already covered in ice and snow to change over. The process has to start now.

VEHICLE UPKEEP MEANS EVERYTHING

Winter means dangerous road conditions, which means that your fleet – no matter whether you’re managing for public works, sanitation, landscaping, or any other purpose – needs to be prepared for a struggle. Ice and snow mean more wear and tear on equipment inside and out, and without the proper care, that can lead to breakdowns. A vehicle out of commission takes an even greater importance when it means a neighborhood doesn’t get plowed, or a driver is stranded in freezing conditions.

When the weather turns, that means vehicles that haven’t been used in months are making a return to service. Snow plows, salt trucks, and other equipment all come out of storage, and it all needs to function perfectly. Proper pre-storage maintenance is critical, as is the proper storage procedure, but in October, it’s too late for that if you didn’t do it right last spring. So the work has to be done now.

The most obvious things are ensuring good traction and reliable use. Check the tread depth and wear on tires that have seen some use. Cold weather deflates a tire, so check tire pressure and make sure they’re properly inflated. Make sure the four-wheel drive is functioning, if applicable. And if necessary, change to snow tires or put on chains. Do a full engine check, and replace fluids like oil and antifreeze if needed. Check the charge on all batteries, and make sure fuel tanks remain at least half-full as it helps prevent residue from freezing in fuel lines.

The exterior is also critical to maintain. Check the windshield for any minor chips or cracks, as temperature changes can turn them into major problems. Visibility is an issue in bad weather, and slushy and salty conditions wreak havoc on a windshield – so check and replace windshield wipers if necessary, and always keep washer fluid well-stocked. Also, make sure front and rear defrosters are functioning, as well as mirror defrosters if you have them. A coat of wax will help prevent damage to the vehicle’s body from snow and salt, as will regular cleanings – especially of the undercarriage, where much of the contact between the elements and equipment happens.

This can’t be a one-time thing, either. It’s critical to keep track of how your fleet is handling harsh winter conditions on a regular basis, with frequent and detailed maintenance. Fault code monitoring and engine diagnostic tools give you a constant view into what is and isn’t working, and will help prevent your drivers from ending up stranded in the ice and snow.

PUT SAFETY FIRST

Even the best planning can go awry, though. Smart maintenance and the information you get from engine diagnostics will minimize problems, but a battery can fail at any time, and even a good driver can hit a patch of dark ice and end up on an accidental off-road adventure. And that’s not to mention what the other drivers on the road can do. In winter, anything can happen, and that can leave a driver or a team stranded and in need of help. Preparation is key.

Have a plan in place in case a vehicle is wrecked or otherwise stranded. Your fleet should have towing capacity, or if that’s not feasible, build a relationship with a towing company that you know is reliable, able to handle the types of equipment you use, and able to handle the elements. Additionally, it’s important to have a way to locate your vehicles. Detailed route information is one way – knowing where your individual vehicles might be is a great start to finding them. An even better way, though, is precise and granular GPS tracking of each and every piece of equipment in your fleet. With GPS, as soon as you get a call about an incident, it’s easy to know exactly where your people are, and what’s the fastest way to get there.

It’s cold, it’s icy, it’s dangerous. Don’t leave your drivers stranded through lack of planning.

KNOW YOUR ROUTES DOWN TO THE INCH

No matter what your vehicles are doing once they get to the site, fleets of all kinds benefit from having better routes to follow. That’s true in all weather, but particularly when ice and snow enter the equation. With the elements already making every mile a little more taxing on engines and transmissions and more. Because of that, efficiency is key. The less your vehicles are on the road, the less likely it is that they’ll be damaged. Additionally, for plowing speed matters. The longer it takes, the more time citizens and community residents have to drive on dangerous roads, and the greater the chances that an accident can happen.

It’s also important to conserve resources as much as possible. Fuel and time are always at a premium, and that’s amplified when the weather gets rough. But when you’re salting roads as well, you also have to make sure that you’re not wasting an expensive – and very limited – resource. Ensure that vehicles are taking the most efficient routes, and that you don’t have roads getting salted more than once unnecessarily due to route mixups. GPS tracking tools give you the ability to make sure the routes you plan are the most efficient ones possible, and that your drivers are actually following them.

It’s especially important to assess planned routes if there have been major changes to local roads since last winter. Perhaps a new neighborhood means increased traffic in a previously-empty area, or road expansion and construction means getting from one place to another takes a totally different approach. Planning now means not only that the first snow can be dealt with, but also that if more and larger roads require more vehicles and more supplies, they can be acquired now rather than rushed into service at the last minute.

Where possible, all routes should also be inspected ahead of time, and whatever steps are available to prepare the route for plowing and salting should be made. This will likely be easier for corporate campuses and neighborhoods and other private areas where government money doesn’t need to be obtained, as it can be done more quickly. Fix potholes. Level raised manhole covers. Make note of any obstructions like speed bumps that need to be avoided. Find and mark all utilities and emergency equipment and anything else that has to be reachable. Look at where plowed snow is going to end up, and plan routes that prevent blockages in crucial places.

PUBLIC AND PRIVATE

All of this applies to any fleet that operates in winter weather, no matter what the circumstance. Many are municipal fleets, but private fleets also have winter work to do. If you’re a landscaping company, for example, you may need to be able to get out to neighborhoods and businesses to help clear trees felled by ice, or to do plowing on streets that aren’t under governmental purview. No matter who’s paying the bills, things like route efficiency, safety, and maintenance are critical when the weather turns. Take steps now to prepare, and don’t get left out in the cold.

 

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Sources: 

http://trucks.about.com/cs/winterizing/a/winterize_truck.htm

http://www.truckinginfo.com/article/story/2012/11/getting-your-work-truck-ready-for-winter.aspx

https://www.meyerproducts.com/header-nav/news-blog/october-2013/how-to-prepare-your-snow-plow-crew-and-have-the-be

http://landscapesolutionsllc.com/blog/winter-is-coming/

http://www.tyrepress.com/2014/10/ats-gears-up-for-winter-switchover-for-fleets/



Tags: fleet maintenance, equipment repairs, fleet managers, GPS

LEADING THE WAY: Jon King takes Synovia Solutions forward

Posted by Bill Westerman on Wed, Oct 07, 2015 @ 11:25 AM

Jon King doesn’t stop. You wouldn’t know it to talk to him – the CEO of Synovia Solutions is aSYN Leading The Way 290x226 calm and considered man, speaking only after taking a beat to think and choose just the right thing to say. But in his work, King is constantly moving, and that’s just the way he likes it.

“If I’m going to work, I want to do something where you can impact change quickly,” King said. “I’m an action-oriented person, I like to look at things and analyze things, make a decision and get on with it.” 

That active style is something that he’s brought to Synovia since his arrival in 2011. He’s the kind of executive who’s not only participating in the actual business of his company, but who you’re excited to see involved in new projects. That’s not just because of his years of experience. It’s because the things Jon King gets involved in tend to be successful. 

ACTIVE LEADERSHIP, INSIDE AND OUT

King’s somewhat of an expert in management, both of a business as a whole and of people who work there. Part of that comes from a career that’s spanned a number of industries, businesses from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, and a tour of military service. He’s experienced all kinds of different styles, and he’s worked in management at all levels since early in his career with Xerox. 

“The first management job I had, I was no more ready to lead ten people than I was to land a man on the moon,” King said. “I learned lessons that have stayed with me throughout my whole career, and I’m thankful every day for the time I spent there.” It’s easy to see why. Today in addition to his work at Synovia, King is a guest lecturer at Butler University, IUPUI, and the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.

King also learned about the importance of direct involvement in a team or a company you run, and along with his natural tendency toward action, it leads not only to an active internal role, but also to hands-on interactions with customers. “If you buy a piece of software and you don’t know how to use it, it’s worthless, a waste of money,” King says. And that’s why training users is a critical part of Synovia’s sales and service process. “It’s pretty obvious, but it’s not as widespread in its application as you might think. At the end of the day, if we don’t make it happen, they won’t get all the value that they’re paying for.” 

That training isn’t something that gets handed off to an outside firm, or an online walkthrough. Synovia senior management – including Jon King himself – meet with top clients face-to-face twice yearly to review in-house training, software usage, and any other training and functionality issues a client may have. Clients know that Synovia buys into their success because the executive team buys into them. 

GROWTH THROUGH INNOVATION

That emphasis on openness means that Synovia has an ability to change and a flexibility that you just don’t often see in a corporate setting. King has the experience to know what works, know what doesn’t work, and build on that. In just a few years under King’s guidance, the pricing model Synovia Solutions – and now the industry as a whole – offers to school districts has been totally revolutionized. King has also helped to build partnerships with companies to get software to market faster, and he shepherded the debut of the game-changing Here Comes the BusTM website and app for parents, students, and schools. All major changes, and all have fueled the growth that Synovia has seen in recent years. 

The major source of that growth has been in school bus fleet management, in large part because of those innovative changes. The now-abandoned previous pricing model put a significant burden on the client, with large up-front charges that increased with the size of the fleet. Schools simply couldn’t afford it. Business wasn’t growing. So a change, spearheaded by King, was made. “You’re buying a service from us,” King said. “At the end of the day you’re buying information from us. We’re not a hardware provider, we’re an information provider.” So having clients pay for hardware didn’t really make sense.

Now rather than a large up-front fee, there’s no up-front costs at all. Schools pay only a monthly subscription per vehicle. Synovia changed how the product went to market, and also added partnerships with Verizon for data transmission and Blue Bird Corporation, who wanted to associate their new GPS accessory with a trusted brand. “It was a perfect marriage,” King said. “That model was embraced by the market, and it changed the whole paradigm.” 

Synovia’s growth in the K-12 market has been powered not only by those changes, but also by purely new innovation. The Here Comes the Bus app is part of the crest of that wave. “It’s another differentiator for us in that space,” King said.

Here Comes the Bus is a totally different thing from what other competitors are offering to schools, and that makes it a massive difference-maker for Synovia. But it’s not just the app itself that is making a difference – it’s the app’s audience.

NEW MARKETS, NEW CUSTOMERS

Until Here Comes the Bus, all of Synovia’s services have been aimed at businesses, not at individual consumers. But since Here Comes the Bus is an app for parents, rather than for school administrators, it’s a new audience for Synovia’s products. “It’s educational, we’re learning, but at end of the day we think it’s going to be a game changer on several fronts,” King said. It’s just another reason for schools to want to work with Synovia, and for the schools that work with us to continue to do so for years and years. “In the world we live in today, where security and safety are even more important to parents, it’s big,” King says, as it acts as part of a holistic set of tools for schools and parents to make sure kids get to and from school safely every day. 

That new experience for Synovia is part of what Jon thinks will help the company as it expands its role in other fleet management verticals. “The biggest opportunity [for Synovia] is in the private sector, in the specific verticals that don’t require changes to our technology,” King said.

King envisions identifying the private fleets that can use GPS technology and software to the greatest level of effectiveness and developing game-changing products and services for them to mirror the success of Synovia’s K-12 vertical. 

Sectors like construction fleet management are the next big targets for Synovia Solutions, and specifically King thinks that concrete and cement transportation are specific disciplines where Synovia can do a lot of good. It’s critical for vehicles to be able to make it from the mixing site to the construction site before the material sets, and GPS tracking allows fleet managers to plot the most efficient routes to guarantee that material isn’t lost needlessly. “That’s a big opportunity and we’d like to think we can provide a solution,” King said.

New growth has to be managed intelligently, though. When pushing Synovia forward, scalability was top of mind for King. That’s part of what prompted his search for partnerships in the K-12 sphere. “We were never going to have a sales organization big enough to get to the market quick enough,” King said.

Balancing growth against smart investments in infrastructure, and building partnerships to cover gaps rather than spending big to fill them, all fit together as part of an intentional strategy. “To [manage growth carefully] with a small business is extremely critical because you don’t have an unlimited checkbook,” said King.

When a company enters into a partnership with Synovia, whether as a client or as a service provider, you’re working with a company that reflects its chief. Expect action, expect innovation, and expect success. Expect that, like Jon King, Synovia Solutions will not stop.

 

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Tags: here comes the bus, construction, fleet managers, GPS

The 2015 State of the Beverage Industry Report. One sip at a time.

Posted by Bill Westerman on Mon, Oct 05, 2015 @ 11:36 AM


SYN State Beverage Industry 290x226From alcoholic beverages to energy drinks and even water, the beverage industry is doing quite well these days. Consumer trends such as healthier living, increased taste expectations, and a growing distrust of artificial ingredients are forcing greater innovation in product development across the board, which also blurs category lines.

Non-alcoholic drinks see big spikes 

Water According to the 2015 State of the Beverage Industry Report, national water consumption has increased by over 68 million 8-ounce servings in just a year, due in part to healthier lifestyle trends. Still, bottled waters account for the majority of sales, but sparkling water is fastest-growing segment and will continue to be so.

Juice Again, healthy lifestyles are driving this trend. The refrigerated juice and juice drink smoothies segment grew to more than $842 million, with Naked brand as a top performer. Coconut water is another healthy bright spot, doubling its sales every year since 2004.  Finally, Capri Sun showed a 26% increase in sales over the previous year.

Sports drinks Not just for hard-core athletes any more. In fact, this category’s traditional market is steadily declining, while more casual sports drink consumers is increasing. Nearly 50% of surveyed consumers aged 18-24 choose sports drinks when they are not working out. 

Protein drinks Another category that is seeing the positive impact of changing consumer attitudes, the ready-to-drink protein drinks market grew by newly 24 percent in 2014.

Energy drinks Yes, the overall energy drinks category was up 6.9 percent last year, but that pales in comparison to the double-digit increases experienced in years past. To appeal to health and taste conscious consumers, this category needs to innovate, and it knows it.  One example is developing energy drinks that are made with USDA-certified organic ingredients

Soda Still a leader, carbonated soft drinks face several challenges and decreasing sales show it. To appeal to the health and taste-oriented markets, this category is innovating with smaller portion sizes, using natural sweeteners, and through craft sodas. Much like craft beers, craft sodas give consumers something trendy, with greater variety, including flavors, kosher, gluten free, organic, vegan and variety packs.

Tea Consumer desire for convenient, better-for-you beverage options will continue to drive double-digit growth, especially as canned and bottled teas increase their presence in convenience stores and vending machines.

Dairy alternatives The U.S. drinking milk market is expected to decrease 2% annually, while dairy alternatives are expected to grow 52 percent over the next four years. When you consider the growth of almond milk and coconut milk, and the interest in fiber-based milk, this expectation seems highly realistic.

Alcoholic beverages. Changing of the guards.

Spirits “Brown is back; it’s the whiskey renaissance” declared Danny Brager, senior vice president of alcoholic beverages at New York-based Nielsen. “Over the past four years or so, whiskey has now replaced vodka as the No. 1 sub-category…”

Wine The market preference is changing here as well. While wine sales are up, champagne shows the most significant change. Nearly half of those surveyed, age 25 to 34, reported drinking sparkling wine or champagne at home.

Beer Gone are the days of the cheap 6-pack, as more consumers buy imports and craft beers. Domestic beers are capitalizing on this movement, adding super-premium sub-brands.

Distribution technology trends. GPS helps competitors gain ground.

Throughout the course of a day, a delivery driver will make a multitude of stops while racking up the mileage quickly. So when trying to increase service while cutting costs, wouldn’t having the most information possible make the most sense?

Tracking Delivery Routes

By utilizing GPS tracking services such as Synovia Solutions, delivery routes can be mapped and tracked, then fine-tuned to the smallest details. This offers all sorts of benefits:

  • Pinpoint the safest routes for your drivers

  • Decrease the chances of accidents

  • Limit lost or damaged goods

  • Greater accuracy for delivery time

  • Increase customer satisfaction

  • Increase cost efficiency

Safeguarding Your Fleet—and Time

GPS solutions do more than tracking. Engine diagnostics can lead to greater fuel efficiency, less vehicle downtime, and longer vehicular life. Time and Attendance can eliminate time-consuming, inaccurate paper time sheets and click in devices. 

See For Yourself

We offer a free, no obligation trial. If you decide we’re exactly what your company needs, we’ll get you started with no upfront costs. 

To learn more about Synovia Solutions, visit www.synoviasolutions.com or call 1-877-796-6842.

 

 

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Sources: http://www.bevindustry.com/articles/88556-state-of-the-beverage-industry-report

Tags: Time and Attendance, beverage distribution, GPS

5% Guarantee: You save 5%. Or we pay 25%.

Posted by Bill Westerman on Thu, Aug 13, 2015 @ 09:24 AM

Managing a fleet of 75 or more vehicles can be a cumbersome and costly task. Synovia SolutSYN 5 Percent Guarantee 290x226ions can make your job more time and cost efficient, and we have the guarantee to prove it.

Here’s how our 5% Guarantee works:

To get started, customers are asked to record up to a 60-day baseline for fuel consumption and payroll inefficiencies.

Then, you’ll start using GPS tracking from Synovia Solutions. When you do, we fully expect you’ll see some meaningful improvements such as:

  • Reduced fuel consumption by limiting engine idle time
  • Improved driver behavior
  • Reduced excess mileage
  • Reduced vehicle wear and tear
  • Improved customer service
  • Increased number of calls in a day (depending on industry)
  • Reduced payroll inefficiencies
  • Smoother processes

In addition, our seasoned sales professionals have lots of savings tips and ideas.

If monthly audits from Synovia Solutions don’t show a 5% savings on fuel consumption or payroll over the first 12 months of use, you get 25% off your invoice for the balance of the term.

Get started with Synovia Solutions

To experience how Synovia Solution can make a difference in your business, we offer a free, no obligation trial. If you decide we’re exactly what your fleet needs, we’ll get you started with no upfront costs.

To learn more about Synovia Solutions, visit www.synoviasolutions.com or call 1-877-796-6842.

 

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Tags: transportation directors, fleet maintenance, fleet managers, GPS, fuel efficiency

4 Ways to Manage Risk in Your Vehicle Fleet

Posted by Bill Westerman on Tue, May 05, 2015 @ 11:27 AM

manage fleet riskEvery time you get in a motor vehicle, you’re taking a risk. Even for the most skilled of drivers, operating a car, truck, or other automobile is inherently dangerous. Being safe isn’t about eliminating the risk of injury to yourself and others, because that’s simply not possible. It’s about limiting that risk, managing it to drive as safely as possible.

That applies just as much to those who drive professionally as to those who do it recreationally or simply for transportation. That’s why risk management throughout your business’ fleet of vehicles is one of the most important responsibilities a transportation or fleet manager has – because lives depend on it.

Here are some steps you can take to make sure your drivers and vehicles are as safe as possible.

Comprehensive driver training

Most of the people who are operating your vehicles and equipment are likely to be very capable and skilled drivers. Training can help keep those skills sharp, and help refresh knowledge of rules of the road and job site. But there’s more to it than just that.

No driver operates in a vacuum. A good training program will allow you to assess, critique, and improve how your drivers interact with other drivers on the road, and how they interact with their colleagues and surroundings on a job site. Being able to ace a closed-course test, after all, doesn’t mean a lot if aggression or recklessness take over in the real world.

Observe safety on the roads

And training doesn’t mean a lot if it doesn’t translate to actual driving. Aggressive and unsafe driving practices don’t just put your drivers and others at risk of injury, it can also cost you money.

Speeding is a fairly common offense, but it can do a lot of damage. It’s dangerous in and of itself. It can lead to other dangerous behaviors, like swerving through traffic and cutting off other drivers, and if an accident happens, it increases the severity by magnitudes. It also reduces fuel mileage and causes undue wear and tear on vehicles, which can mean breakdowns that shouldn’t be happening.

Monitoring fleet driving practices reduces the risk of collisions and injury, and reduces the risk of damage to vehicles and property. Knowing what your team is doing on the road and in the field is critical.

Limit unnecessary driving

The more drivers drive, the greater the risk. That’s just common sense, and beyond simply saving miles and money, it’s why limiting the amount of driving your drivers are doing is a smart move. That doesn’t mean turning down jobs or cutting service. It means helping your crew to drive more efficiently.

Information is key here. If you know the routes your drivers are using – meaning they’re planned, and there’s accountability for drivers who leave the route without a good reason – you can constantly analyze them, look for alternatives, and seek out the most efficient route. You can also look at vehicle use during off-hours, and set limits on what employees can and can’t do when they’re not on the clock to prevent further risk to them, your vehicles, and your business.

Regular maintenance

Breakdowns are inconvenient. They take vehicles off the road, and make it harder for your business to function and your jobs to get done. But when you look at your fleet through the lens of risk management, a breakdown can be a disaster. Poorly maintained vehicles can become unsafe to drive and use, and if a driver or manager doesn’t know maintenance is needed, a small problem can snowball into something big. A belt can snap, or an axle can break, or an engine can blow out. If that happens on the road, it could end in injuries – or worse.

Proactive maintenance helps prevent that from happening. Regular diagnostics on the engine, brakes, and other vital systems help catch trouble miles before it arrives. Monitoring vehicle emissions can also help locate engine trouble that might not be caught otherwise, and regular tune-ups and oil changes keep vehicles running longer and safer.

Protect your drivers, protect your business

As manager of a fleet, part of your duty is to manage risk and make your drivers as safe as possible. It protects them, it protects your investment in your vehicles, and it keeps you from ending up in insurance or lawsuit limbo. You need tools to be successful, though – and Synovia Solutions™ fleet management technology can do the job. It provides detailed location and diagnostic data that allows you to monitor routes, prevent breakdowns, and minimize risk as much as possible.

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Tags: safety, fleet managers, GPS

5 Ways to Boost Fleet Efficiency

Posted by Bill Westerman on Thu, Apr 09, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

fleet efficiencyA good business owner or fleet manager is always on the lookout for ways to save money while improving service to their customers or constituents. Increasing the efficiency of your vehicle fleet is a great way to achieve both simultaneously. Here are a few methods that can help you make it happen for your business:

Cut fuel costs

Fuel is expensive, and it’s one of the biggest concerns for any fleet manager. Finding ways to reduce fuel usage is a major priority, but with a whole fleet of vehicles and a team of drivers to manage, it’s not an easy task. Fuel card reporting is a solution that allows you to monitor expenses and usage of fuel across single vehicles and fleets. 

Two crucial weapons are data and communication. Knowing how often and for how long your vehicles are in use can help you to better manage your fleet and reduce fuel usage. You can use GPS data to communicate with drivers about wasteful driving habits while educating them on how to change for the better.

Reduce time and money spent on repair issues

A broken-down vehicle creates a long-list of problems for your fleet. Routes get diverted or missed, you can’t cover your whole territory and you might even be paying drivers to sit by while repairs are being made. At worst, a vehicle’s lifespan could be shortened dramatically. The best way to keep any of that from happening is to prevent major mechanical issues before they happen, while they’re still minor problems that can be addressed with minimal downtime and expense.

Knowing what’s going on inside your vehicles means that you can see what’s coming. Long periods of downtime are avoided. Your vehicles remain in the field, your drivers keep busy and your clients stay happy.

Increase driver safety

Reckless driving is deadly. It can also hurt your business even if your drivers never end up in an accident. If a motorist is cut off by someone driving a truck with your business’ name on it, that motorist goes from potential customer to outspoken critic.

Speeding and reckless driving can also cause unnecessary wear and tear on vehicles, and increase the time and money you have to spend on wear and tear items and vehicle replacement. It can even raise your fuel costs. Training your drivers to operate their vehicles safely and efficiently can save a lot of money. It can also save lives.

Monitor vehicle and equipment locations

As your fleet grows, it gets harder and harder to manage. Things fall through the cracks. Sometimes equipment can end up lost or stolen from a worksite. Having to replace equipment that’s disappeared without a trace gets expensive quickly. Making an effort to track your equipment closely, with detailed reporting, will help you save thousands on replacement spending. Asset tracking can help you always know where your equipment is - and easily locate it if it goes missing. 

Find the best routes

The shortest path to fleet efficiency is just that – finding the shortest and simplest routes for your drivers to use. Don’t just guess when drawing up routes – gather data to make informed decisions, and then make sure your drivers are following the proper routes.

Of course, all of these tactics are much easier when you have comprehensive data at your disposal – the kind of data Synovia GPS-powered tools provide. Vehicle monitoring allows you to track fuel consumption and maintenance needs as they arise. Location tracking means you’ll always know where your equipment is. Request a demo or begin your free trial today. You’ll love what Synovia Solutions GPS tracking technology can do for you.

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Tags: safety, route efficiency, equipment repairs, GPS, fuel efficiency

How GPS Can Help You Make the Most of Growth in the Construction Industry

Posted by Bill Westerman on Thu, Apr 02, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

GPS for construction crewThe economic downturn that began in 2008 affected practically every industry, but the related problems in the housing market were an especially big blow to the construction sector. But this is 2015. Things are improving, especially when it comes to the housing market. And that’s good news for construction companies.

According to USA Today, contractors added 290,000 jobs in 2014, a nine-year high. Construction spending rose 9%, 6%, and 5.7% respectively in each of the last three years. Being able to hire is always a positive thing. But how can you take full advantage of the opportunities that an industry upswing presents? GPS fleet tracking is one important way to make sure you get the most out today’s economic recovery.

Reduce unnecessary fuel consumption and large equipment repairs

Saving money is a really good way to make money – the less you’re wasting, the better. But with a large fleet of vehicles and equipment, many construction companies see costs start to spiral out of control.

The data you obtain via GPS tracking will help you monitor and optimize equipment usage, leading to significant cost savings. You’ll lower costs by managing vehicle misuse and excessive idling. You’ll know when drivers aren’t operating vehicles safely and whether they’re risking costly damage. And when maintenance is needed, engine diagnostics will tell you before a minor problem turns into a major issue.

Manage larger teams with ease

A growing client list means more jobs for your team, and more jobs in different locations make growing your fleet a necessity. The logistics of managing a fleet are difficult no matter what, but as your fleet grows, the list of issues you must face increases exponentially. Managing fuel costs, regular maintenance and the location of your vehicles and equipment all become a massive chore.

The solution is data – the kind of data you get from a GPS tracking system. You’ll always know where every vehicle and every piece of equipment is located, no matter how large and ungainly your fleet may seem. A built-in battery means Synovia Solutions GPS tracking can be used on all equipment – even if that equipment isn’t powered by an engine.

The ability to manage your team and your fleet with ease, especially as it grows, will put you in great position to make the most of today’s massive construction boom. Fortunately, Synovia Solutions can help you increase cost savings, worker safety and customer service – all at the same time.

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Tags: safety, fleet maintenance, construction, GPS, fuel efficiency

5 Top Technologies for Public Safety Agencies

Posted by Bill Westerman on Wed, Mar 11, 2015 @ 10:34 AM

technology for public safety Recent years have seen public safety agencies worldwide adopt several new technologies in an effort to stay ahead of threats that exist in today’s ever-changing digital world. At the same time, departments are utilizing existing technology in new ways in order to better communicate with and inform the public. This proactive approach is leading to partnerships that both agencies and community members find mutually beneficial.

To help you examine the many ways your agency can more effectively use technology to further the creation of safer, more cohesive communities, we’ve compiled a list of tools – some proven and available, some untested and on the way – with the potential to serve as valuable assets for public safety agencies.

MOBILE APPLICATIONS

Today’s mobile apps aren’t just for entertainment anymore. In fact, public safety agencies across the country are using mobile applications to enhance communication between law enforcement, emergency responders and the general public. For example:

CrimePad enables law enforcement officers to record, track, maintain, collaborate and report on all data within a criminal investigation or crime scene.

USPDHub is a community outreach app designed to facilitate current and critical two-way communication between public safety officials and community members.

PulsePoint Respond immediately alerts CPR-trained bystanders in the event of a nearby cardiac emergency so that CPR may be performed as quickly as possible.

EMERGENCY DATA MAPPING

In the age of “big data,” public safety departments are working to utilize the massive amount of information collected on a daily basis to create crime and disaster maps. These maps present officials with a high-level view of variables such as where and when certain crimes are occurring. What’s more, mapping makes it easier for law enforcement agencies to deliver community members with easy-to-understand information so that citizens are not only more aware, but have the ability to be more proactive in preventing future incidents.

Cities such as Camden, New Jersey and Oakland, California have implemented interactive crime mapping programs like CopLogic that allow for web-based citizen incident reporting. Some mapping technologies even allow victims of non-violent or non-emergency crimes to submit reports online, freeing up officers to respond to life-threatening situations.

WEARABLE VIDEO RECORDING SYSTEMS

The subject of multiple headlines in recent months, wearable video recording devices are being implemented by police departments both large and small to provide an extra level of protection to both officers and civilians. Also known as “body cameras,” wearable video recording devices are a way for law enforcement agencies to increase accountability in an age where full transparency is an ever-present demand.

With the New York Police Department working to outfit almost every officer with a body camera, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio echoed the sentiments of many when he endorsed the initiative, saying, “When something happens, to have a video record of it, from the police officers’ perspective, is going to help in many, many ways.”

TABLETS AND SMARTPHONES

What are now staples of the modern American home are increasingly being seen as valuable tools by public safety officials nationwide. These mobile devices, which often appear in a more rugged form than versions used by everyday consumers, are designed to house several applications and allow access to information once inaccessible to officers out on patrol.

Not only do these smart devices make everyday tasks much more efficient, many are capable of being used for video surveillance, dispatch and license plate recognition.

GPS TRACKING

GPS tracking technology is quickly gaining traction among public safety organizations for its ability to enhance the safety of officers and emergency crews, lower operating costs and shorten response times.

GPS tracking technology can perform a multitude of tasks, from instantly locating personnel to sending an alert whenever a vehicle emits an engine fault code, helping to avoid costly repairs. GPS tracking can even monitor driver behavior and verify whether or not a specific area or route is being covered, helping to support a department’s utilization of crime mapping data.

 

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Sources: National League of Cities – Municipal Action Guide, Motorola Solutions Communities, The New York Times

Tags: Public Safety, GPS