Landscape Contractor / Design Build Maintain

SEP 2017

LC/DBM provides landscape contractors with Educational, Imaginative and Practical information about their business, their employees, their machines and their projects.

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Above All vehicles made after 1996 have an OBD-II port, which stands for On-board Diagnostics. The port is usually located behind the dashboard above the brake pedal or on the steer- ing column. Some fleet management companies, including Fleet Genius and Fleetmatics, offer a device that plugs into the port and can read the odom- eter and other vehicle telematics. The direct connection to the vehicle can alert managers to routine maintenance needs, including oil changes, tire rotations or replacements, and engine cleanings. Depending on the program, you can set up a mileage or time inter- val for the maintenance, and receive an alert before it is due to occur. Above When fleet management software links up with the fuel cards that your drivers use, manag- ers can receive an electronic log of a vehicle's fuel efficiency as well as track how much the company spends on fuel. With GPS technology, users can determine how much time drivers spend with idling engines and work to reduce the practice, saving money. Additionally, having a log of fuel card transactions automatically generated in one place can help identify any fraudulent usage. September 2017 41 Additionally, if you have a system that's run on mobile devices (instead of one connected directly to the truck), watch the fees for cellular data usage. Keep in mind, though, that the cheapest option might not be the best option. One final budget factor to consider is how much money implementing a fleet management program can save your com - pany. Some providers, including GPS In- sight, a company that creates GPS track- ing software, have a savings calculator available on their website. You will likely see the immediate effects in reduced maintenance and fuel costs – getting the entire company on a set, automated maintenance schedule can save money, and planning more efficient routes and enforcing less idle time will use less fuel. Longer-term effects include better driving habits, and having a record of these im - proved driving habits can protect against litigation. Fleet management company Fleetmatics recommends looking at the ROI, or return on investment, after one, three, six, nine and 12 months. Features When narrowing down the choices for which fleet management solution to choose, consider your company's priorities. Looking to cut down on fuel costs? Look for devices with strong GPS track - ing so you can find the most efficient routes for your vehicles. Find out if the software will integrate fuel card data with your fleet information – and if there is an extra cost to do so. This capability may also vary by fuel card provider. If you want to keep your drivers safe, find a program that will alert you to speeding, harsh stops, harsh starts, and harsh turns. By monitoring these events, you can help ensure they happen less. In - centivizing good driver behavior can be more effective than punishing poor driv - ing habits. Some programs can help you stay on top of vehicle maintenance as well. De - vices that plug into the truck's OBD-II port can monitor vehicle diagnostics and alert owners and drivers to potential problems before they happen. Some will let you set up reminders for maintenance

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