Welcome!

Interview

Maximizing Efficiences in Field Service

How Lane Valente used technology to streamline operations

Lane Valente is one of the largest retail maintenance service providers in the United States. Founded in 1989, it caters to high-volume remodels, for which the company provides retail project management and energy services, sending a skilled mobile workforce to service everything from plumbing and electrical to retail lighting and refrigeration. Its clients include well-known brands such as Wal-Mart and Chevron.

Recently I sat down with Michael Moran, field quality control officer and fleet manager for Lane Valente, to talk about how fleet management helped them streamline operations by maximizing efficiencies, improving scheduling and driver safety, and how these improvements allow the company to exceed customer expectations.  Here is what we discussed:

Before deploying Fleet Management, what challenges did Lane Valente face?
As our business continued to grow, so did our fleet of cargo vans and bucket trucks. With this expansion, we wanted to monitor the productivity of our fleet, including the time it took techs to arrive on the job and how long it took for job completion. In addition, we wanted to monitor unauthorized use of vehicles and ensure the accurate billing of hours and payroll.

We turned to a cloud-based fleet management solution that gave us visibility into day-to-day field operations so we could identify, manage and improve areas such as driver safety, customer service, back-office administration, fuel use and fleet efficiency.

Why Fleet Management?
We started using fleet management to keep track of our vehicles and to ensure that we met our estimated time of arrivals. We can also easily look up who is in an area to service emergency calls. Since implementing fleet management, we have improved safety by monitoring mobile worker status and reducing risky driving behavior. We’ve also expanded business intelligence by enabling data-driven decisions. Fleet Management has increased our workflow productivity, reduced fuel costs and improved asset utilization. One unexpected way that fleet management has helped us is its ability to help in tracking stolen vehicles. Four trucks were taken, but with fleet management the vehicles were located within minutes or hours of when they were reported missing.

What did the company use before fleet management?
When I started with the company, we were using two different tracking devices. I determined that Fleet Management was not only more accurate but also had many other features that would enable us to be more cost effective, and be able to better meet our clients’ expectations.
We now use fleet management to monitor drivers’ locations so they know immediately who to send for emergency calls, as well as ensure that techs are servicing customers fully. Our new units are much more accurate in managing vehicles’ positions. Using fleet management, we can evaluate the effectiveness of our work by analyzing fuel usage, number of hours on the job, scheduling and dispatch time, and other metrics.

We use fleet management to monitor unauthorized use as well. Each morning, I receive an exception report via e-mail showing all vehicles that were used during off hours. I check this report against the dispatch report to confirm the use was warranted.

How did drivers initially react to implementing fleet management?
At first, drivers thought the GPS system was a way for us to check up on them, but after some time they saw how it could help them. No more questions about what time they got to the job and how it could take so long to get to the site. We monitor this information daily to ensure an accurate payroll and client service logs.

Has fleet management helped you to optimize efficiency?
Fleet Management has allowed us to better understand the effectiveness of our fleet, which helps us reduce costs. The solution is very scalable so there’s no big initial investment, which means we quickly reaped a number of benefits. For instance, we improved driver safety by monitoring speed and harsh maneuvers, which helps to decrease accident rates and, ultimately, mitigate liability.

I will continue to streamline operations so I have the most efficient fleet possible and continue to provide excellent service delivery. I’d recommend fleet management anytime to anyone.

For more information about Trimble field service solutions, visit www.trimble.com/fsm.

More Stories By Joyce Tam

Joyce Tam is an expert in field service technology at Trimble Field Service Management. Her areas of specialty include mobile enterprise, cloud, M2M and fleet driver safety. Her articles have appeared in numerous industry publications, both national and international.

Latest Stories
"Storpool does only block-level storage so we do one thing extremely well. The growth in data is what drives the move to software-defined technologies in general and software-defined storage," explained Boyan Ivanov, CEO and co-founder at StorPool, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 16th Cloud Expo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
You know you need the cloud, but you’re hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You’re looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you’re concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies.
Is advanced scheduling in Kubernetes achievable?Yes, however, how do you properly accommodate every real-life scenario that a Kubernetes user might encounter? How do you leverage advanced scheduling techniques to shape and describe each scenario in easy-to-use rules and configurations? In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Oleg Chunikhin, CTO at Kublr, answered these questions and demonstrated techniques for implementing advanced scheduling. For example, using spot instances and co...
As Marc Andreessen says software is eating the world. Everything is rapidly moving toward being software-defined – from our phones and cars through our washing machines to the datacenter. However, there are larger challenges when implementing software defined on a larger scale - when building software defined infrastructure. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Boyan Ivanov, CEO of StorPool, provided some practical insights on what, how and why when implementing "software-defined" in the datacent...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
The use of containers by developers -- and now increasingly IT operators -- has grown from infatuation to deep and abiding love. But as with any long-term affair, the honeymoon soon leads to needing to live well together ... and maybe even getting some relationship help along the way. And so it goes with container orchestration and automation solutions, which are rapidly emerging as the means to maintain the bliss between rapid container adoption and broad container use among multiple cloud host...
The cloud era has reached the stage where it is no longer a question of whether a company should migrate, but when. Enterprises have embraced the outsourcing of where their various applications are stored and who manages them, saving significant investment along the way. Plus, the cloud has become a defining competitive edge. Companies that fail to successfully adapt risk failure. The media, of course, continues to extol the virtues of the cloud, including how easy it is to get there. Migrating...
Blockchain is a shared, secure record of exchange that establishes trust, accountability and transparency across business networks. Supported by the Linux Foundation's open source, open-standards based Hyperledger Project, Blockchain has the potential to improve regulatory compliance, reduce cost as well as advance trade. Are you curious about how Blockchain is built for business? In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, discussed the b...
Imagine if you will, a retail floor so densely packed with sensors that they can pick up the movements of insects scurrying across a store aisle. Or a component of a piece of factory equipment so well-instrumented that its digital twin provides resolution down to the micrometer.
The need for greater agility and scalability necessitated the digital transformation in the form of following equation: monolithic to microservices to serverless architecture (FaaS). To keep up with the cut-throat competition, the organisations need to update their technology stack to make software development their differentiating factor. Thus microservices architecture emerged as a potential method to provide development teams with greater flexibility and other advantages, such as the abili...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settle...
Blockchain. A day doesn’t seem to go by without seeing articles and discussions about the technology. According to PwC executive Seamus Cushley, approximately $1.4B has been invested in blockchain just last year. In Gartner’s recent hype cycle for emerging technologies, blockchain is approaching the peak. It is considered by Gartner as one of the ‘Key platform-enabling technologies to track.’ While there is a lot of ‘hype vs reality’ discussions going on, there is no arguing that blockchain is b...
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
ChatOps is an emerging topic that has led to the wide availability of integrations between group chat and various other tools/platforms. Currently, HipChat is an extremely powerful collaboration platform due to the various ChatOps integrations that are available. However, DevOps automation can involve orchestration and complex workflows. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Himanshu Chhetri, CTO at Addteq, will cover practical examples and use cases such as self-provisioning infra...
As DevOps methodologies expand their reach across the enterprise, organizations face the daunting challenge of adapting related cloud strategies to ensure optimal alignment, from managing complexity to ensuring proper governance. How can culture, automation, legacy apps and even budget be reexamined to enable this ongoing shift within the modern software factory? In her Day 2 Keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Aruna Ravichandran, VP, DevOps Solutions Marketing, CA Technologies, was jo...