For ambulance drivers, time is important - but so is safety. And the owner of an ambulance service will be determined to keep those in balance.
According to company owner Marcus Barnett, Com-Care ambulance service covers the largest county in the state of Kentucky. With his 12 vehicles in constant demand, he says, “I really need to know the location of my units and speeds they are traveling.”
The public service aspect notwithstanding, Barnett has to keep an eye on business matters. Idling, for example, can put a sizable drain on a bottom line. “The fuel bill was the largest pain, along with having no clue where everyone was located throughout the day,” says Barnett, put him on the lookout for a fleet tracking solution
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The answer came from his business networking circle. “Joe Pruitt of Nelson County EMS and Terry Fraley of Net Care Inc. are good friends and fellow board members of KYAPA [Kentucky Ambulance Providers Association],” says Barnett. “They highly recommended Fleetmatics.”
Of the features offered in Fleetmatics, Barnett relies heaviest on Real Time Fleet Tracking, Fleet Alerts and Idling Reports. “The compiled data allows us to address our concerns, while real time fleet tracking gives us the ability to route and dispatch more effectively. The drivers know we’re always looking, and it keeps them from reverting back to old habits, like speeding, idling, taking long lunches or side trips.”
Real time fleet provides a view of the exact location of every vehicle in a fleet in real time, to help the user respond to customer needs faster and with greater accuracy. Available 24/7, it uses mapping by Google Maps API Premier to give the most accurate maps available with current traffic information. The “Ride Along” feature in Live Fleet uses Google's Street View to put the user virtually beside the driver seeing everything he or she sees.
Red Flag Alerts let the user know via e-mail whenever a vehicle exceeds a specified speed threshold, while the Idling Report provides such data as idle start and stop times, location and total idle time. This report can help minimize idle times, and thus reduce fuel waste and decrease engine wear and tear.
Barnett has already been able to see the monetary benefits of Fleetmatics for Com-Care. “A specific incident happened about two weeks after having the system installed,” he says. “One specific unit that gets 10 miles to the gallon had only driven 30 miles that day. When the unit fueled up that evening they purchased 10 gallons of fuel. Knowing that one hour of idling equals a gallon of fuel, I checked the system and sure enough, the unit had idled at an ER for seven hours. Since then, we’ve been able to reduce our fuel bill by 12% on a monthly basis per unit.”
Fleetmatics has certainly helped Com-Care improve their customer service. “We always know when vehicles on long distance trips are coming back into the county so we know when we can load the next unit,” says Barnett.
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