Green Fleet of the Month: Cleaning up

Nov. 8, 2016
Routing software cuts miles, fuel use and improves customer service

Time and money are two critical components of any successful business plan. When a business can cut time and save money, all in one step, that is a plan worth exploring. If there is a customer service improvement as well, then that is a plan worth doing. And that’s what Michigan-based Hagopian Cleaning Services did by installing routing software from Paragon Software Systems.

With offices around the world, including Dallas, Paragon offered up a solution to help Hagopian cut the miles its drivers were traveling and save fuel in the process. “We had all our orders on little dispatch cards, and it would take one person all day to route the [trucks],” Tim DeTavernier, assistant manager of on-location cleaning, says. “It eliminated the need to have a third person in dispatching.”

Hagopian traces its roots back to 1938 when founder Haroutun “Harry” Hagopian answered a call from a customer of his LaSalle Chemical Products Co. (which manufactured industrial cleaning compounds) asking if Harry could remove a stain from a carpet. During World War II, with new carpet production ceasing, the need for someone to clean older carpets grew and the Carpet Dyeing Service Co. was founded. Hagopian developed the first procedure in America for topical dyeing of wall-to-wall carpeting.

The company name was changed later in the 1940s to Hagopian & Sons.   Over the years, however, family members came and went, so the business now consists of Hagopian World of Rugs and Hagopian Cleaning Services.

Today, in addition to retail outlets, Hagopian focuses on meeting customer needs with a fleet of 27 GMC Savana extended vans. Drivers typically make six to nine service calls a day, traveling anywhere from 20 to 150 mi., based on customer locations, cleaning carpet, furniture and tile.

The routing software has saved the fleet “tens of thousands” of dollars over the years, DeTavernier says, but it also has provided much more flexibility in scheduling.

“We have certain crews that only do certain types of work, such as one crew that doesn’t do tile, or some customers that request certain crews,” he notes. “We are able to put parameters in” to accommodate those exceptions.

“If we have a call that is canceled, we are able to reroute that crew with a few simple clicks,” DeTavernier adds.

And all this has meant more efficient routing leading to fewer miles driven, which saves on wear and tear, a reduction in fuel use, and potentially more time for crews to service customers.

DeTavernier says another benefit is the ability to test routes. “The program gives us a couple of different options based on routing style, such as duty cycle and fuel consumption.  So, we are able to do mock routes to see [which parameter is most important] in meeting our deadlines.”

Additionally, because it ties directly into the fleet’s customer database, it means fewer, if almost zero, customers falling through the cracks.

“It catches every call into our database, even if we don’t have a physical ticket,” he says. “We’re very happy with the program, and we’re looking at expanding it some with new features that are now available,” such as real-time cancellations, which are currently handled manually.

About the Author

Brian Straight | Managing Editor

Brian joined Fleet Owner in May 2008 after spending nearly 14 years as sports editor and then managing editor of several daily newspapers.  He and his staff  won more than two dozen major writing and editing awards. Responsible for editing, editorial production functions and deadlines.

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