How GPS technology can provide the answer for fleet management

June 15, 2022 -  By
GPS tech allows landscapers to know exactly where their fleets and equipment are at any given time. (Illustration: reklamlar/DigitalVision Vectors/Getty Images)

GPS tech allows landscapers to know exactly where their fleets and equipment are at any given time. (Illustration: reklamlar/DigitalVision Vectors/Getty Images)

How accurate is your equipment use tracking? Can you cut time spent on regular administrative tasks?

Evolving fleet management and GPS technology is carving new paths to those answers for landscape management companies.

Texas-based FieldRoutes software is the product of a 2021 rebrand that combined PestRoutes and Lobster Marketing. That move included expansion into the lawn care industry and enhancements to routing capabilities.

Avani Aggarwal, FieldRoutes associate product manager, says users have drastically cut administrative times.

“One of our customers said they’ve reduced their admin time from three to five hours daily to now just 30
minutes,” she says. “Most of the companies have also reduced the amount of time their technicians spend on day-to-day activities.”

FieldRoutes helps City Green Environmental of Fort Myers, Fla., provide services including landscape maintenance and fertilization to a mostly residential customer base.

Operations manager Ricky Turrubiartez envisions further tech growth.

“As we continue to move forward with FieldRoutes, I see it eventually letting our technicians get so familiar with it that they can create their own routes,” he says. “I think that would be a huge plus versus having someone in-house create that for them. They can input customers’ calls and emails into their schedules and get to them even more quickly. I want them to be able to create schedules, routes, estimates, upsells, you name it.”

Better info for customers

CrewTracker Software allows for digital filing of route sheets, contracts, dispatch records, photos, field data and billing information for real-time business analysis and reporting.

The company’s mobile app lets users start and stop services, enter crew notes and attach photos of work sites.

“Fleet tracking can monitor your gas mileage, your acceleration, whether you’re making sharp turns or stopping,” says CrewTracker CEO John Paganini. “Using the GPS capabilities of the mobile phone, CrewTracker knows where the crews are in real-time.”

CrewTracker users can also turn on “breadcrumbs” to see the status of workers’ trip to a job site.

“This is similar technology used to track an Uber driver as they approach the pickup point,” says Paganini. “The breadcrumbs can be very precise and refresh every five seconds or 30 seconds, depending on your preference.”

Moving tech forward

American Honda Motor Co.’s Fleet Management App provides a use rate for vehicles and other large equipment as well as handhelds such as trimmers, edgers and blowers. The app gives suggestions on appropriate fleet size, maintenance schedules and replacement. The tech remains in a pilot marketing phase.

“Our priority is visualizing the utilization rate, the utilization hours,” says Yuko Furuichi, marketing manager at Honda. “Our device has a shock sensor feature, so if a mower were to hit something like a wall, it will detect that there was a big shock on this day, at this time, at this location. That provides a hint for the future.”

Colin Bemus, a Honda user and president of California-based Bemus Landscaping, says the tech has proven its benefit.

“It will help track seasonality and what needs to be done when to help schedule appropriately,” he says. “It’s really the only tech I’ve seen that tracks the usage like this. Currently, most units are designed where you have no idea how long it’s been running. It’s like not having an odometer in your car or truck and still expecting someone to know how long it’s been used for.”

This article is tagged with , , and posted in From the Magazine, June 2022, Turf+Ornamental Care

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