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Monitor equipment use, location with GPS technology

December 20, 2019 -  By
<b>TRACK IT</b> GPS systems can monitor where equipment is an how long it is used. Photo: GPS Insight

TRACK IT GPS systems can monitor where equipment is an how long it is used. (Photo: GPS Insight)

Global positioning system (GPS) technology has come a long way from simply providing directions from here to there. Lawn care and landscape firms are now using advancements in GPS systems to help organize and streamline their day-to-day operations.

“GPS technology has expanded into business management as a whole, helping landscape contractors make important decisions that affect their people, their customers and their bottom line,” says Ryan Driscoll, vice president of marketing at GPS Insight in Scottsdale, Ariz. “If contractors face challenges around accountability, safety or efficiency, the addition of a strategically aligned GPS tracking system will reduce and ideally eliminate those challenges so they can focus on making money and providing exceptional service to their customers.”

How it works

GPS technology can identify the location of a vehicle or asset at a given time. The main functionality of a GPS tracking system comes from the use of the Global Navigation Satellite System network. This network of satellites emits microwave signals which are sent to a variety of GPS devices to provide location information, as well as factors like speed and direction through a consumer-facing platform like a software interface or mobile device.

Ryan Driscoll

Ryan Driscoll

The GPS tracking device is installed into a vehicle, a piece of equipment or other asset to gather and store information. Data is then transmitted through a wireless or cellular network back to servers. The server acts as the “cloud” that allows access to the information through a computer, tablet or smartphone.

“All the complexity of gathering the data is done in the background, so all contractors need to worry about is logging in to set up automated reports and alerts of the information that is important and relevant to them,” Driscoll says.

GPS in the field

While Joshua Rivera, senior sales executive for Quartix, a GPS provider based in Chicago, says the landscape industry has been slower than others to adopt GPS technology, landscape firms are beginning to embrace all of its capabilities.

“They are starting to get on board with the overall workforce efficiency and productivity GPS can provide,” he says.

For example, more landscape companies are outfitting not only their trucks but also their equipment with GPS technology. Andrew Ewig, marketing manager for Infohub, a division of Briggs and Stratton based in Milwaukee, Wis., says this allows landscape professionals to see how a piece of machinery operates throughout a property, even monitoring mowing patterns and keeping track of maintenance schedules.

Andrew Ewig

Andrew Ewig

“We’re seeing an increase in landscape organizations that want to outfit their entire fleets with GPS tracking technology, not just their trucks,” Ewig says. “Vehicle tracking is helpful, but it only provides part of the story pertaining to a crew’s activity.”

Driscoll says a primary benefit of GPS technology is the ability to hold employees accountable throughout the day. From how much time they spend at each job site to how long each piece of equipment is used, business owners get an inside look at what goes on in the field.

“Using GPS technology, managers and supervisors get unprecedented visibility into what is happening all day,” he says. “They can easily verify timecards for payroll and provide proof of service to customers.”

GPS technology also offers increased efficiency by helping to optimize routes between jobs, monitor driver behavior to reduce fuel costs, and understand vehicle utilization to extend vehicle life cycles.

“What excites me about GPS technology is the various ways it can help a business,” Ewig says. “There are so many scenarios, regardless of a business’ maturity, where GPS technology can help.”

This article is tagged with , and posted in 1119, Featured, Mowing+Maintenance

About the Author:

Emily Schappacher is a freelance writer based in Cleveland.

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