Primarily short-haul lumber, some appliances and wood pellets Josh Zimmet, exec. administrator
BLS Trucking hauls lumber out of approximately 60 lumber yards with a fleet of 190 trucks, including Chevy and Dodge pickups, Internationals, Freightliners and two Hino trucks with 24-ft. boxes. “We run a wide variety of equipment,” says Josh Zimmet, exec. administrator for BLS with responsibility for implementing and overseeing compliance with the policies and procedures.
“We were looking for a way to reduce costs related to unauthorized usage of the trucks and excessive idling,” Zimmet notes. “Our trucks are actually based at our customers' lumber yards and they handle the dispatching themselves, so both the customers and our drivers have access to the keys,” he says. “We wondered if the trucks were perhaps being used on the weekends, for instance, but we did not know for sure and we had no way of knowing.''
In January 2007, BLS began implementing Networkfleet from San Diego-based Networkcar, a provider of wireless fleet management solutions. “We rolled the system out market-to-market, twenty to thirty units at a time,” says Zimmet. “We did our own installations after Networkcar trained one of our fleet managers, who trained all the others.”
Zimmet says the system began delivering fuel savings almost immediately. “We hit the number we were hoping for in fuel cost savings,” he says. “By eliminating unauthorized usage and unnecessary idle time, we saved $188,539 in fuel consumption alone in the first year. That is more than $900 per vehicle.”
There have been other benefits as well, Zimmet notes. “Everything else past the fuel savings has really been a bonus,” he says. “For instance, we can get real-time, email alerts if a truck is operating outside the set limits for idle time or speeding. If I get an alert, I can call a regional manager and find out what is going on with our truck right away. The system has also helped to deter theft. Since installing Networkfleet, we've had one truck stolen, but it was returned undamaged within 24 hours.
“We had another situation where a driver was in an accident,” Zimmet adds. “The driver was not ticketed, though, because we could prove that he had not been speeding at the time. In fact, the system showed that he had not been speeding at any time during the day. Additionally, we've had many false claims that one of our trucks caused damage at a particular location. By having the GPS data with time stamps, we have been able to prove that we were nowhere near the location at the time.”
According to Zimmet, the system has been a success with customers, too. “Customers liked the system when they saw that it enabled them to know where their loads were,” he says. “Everybody always wants to know that, and now they can see for themselves exactly where their load is at any time.”