Tracking the Fleet

By Stephanie Blanchard, Assistant Editor — May 18, 2013

Based in Texas, McCoy's Corp. is a building supply store and distribution provider in the southwest. With 350 vehicles in its fleet, mobility is an integral part of the business, used at both the store and corporate level to manage deliveries, communication and productivity.

McCoy’s did not have a way of measuring truck activity that was not dependent upon manual data entry by employees. The company sought a solution and chose SageQuest, from the Fleetmatics Group, for its fleet tracking software for small and medium-sized businesses. Delivered as software-as-a-service (SaaS), the web-based solution provides GPS intelligence for businesses to track and visibly manage their mobile fleets.

“Our biggest concern was how long it would be to get the stores bought in to using the software,” said Art Johnson, VP Store Development, in an interview with Mobile Enterprise. “This was our third GPS vendor rollout but our first that went company wide.”

An easy-to-use software solution was required to reduce the amount of training needed. Because McCoy’s previously had a less than favorable experience with an undersized vendor, the company also wanted to make sure that the new provider could handle the account along with adequate customer service.

Deployment
Most devices are corporate liable, with GPS hardware and software furnished by Sagequest. Some drivers may have their own Garmin devices in trucks where the company does not provide them but those units are not connected to the GPS hardware. In rural areas, where cell service is poor, part of the fleet can use the Garmin device for communication through messages via satellite.

GPS data reporting now keeps track of drivers’ average distance per day, average starting/ending times and distance traveled, among other criteria. “We were a little surprised at some of the GPS measurements,” Johnson said. Trucks were starting deliveries later and finishing earlier than what they thought previously, for example. With accurate data, however, McCoy’s can now manage accordingly.  

Were there any challenges associated with the company-wide deployment?

“The Sagequest software is easy to use and that helped,” Johnson said. “Regardless, it is tough changing a behavior or creating a new one that is not required to do the business. We’ve been in this rollout for about 18 months and I don’t think anyone in operations would give up their GPS system today.”  

A Bigger Return
While final ROI is still being determined, Johnson is optimistic about the intangible benefits. “What I know is that driver behavior has changed over time,” he said. “Knowing where trucks are and the driver knowing that you know is priceless.”

In addition, McCoy’s is able to provide customers with accurate delivery information and schedule future deliveries with more confidence. “Our whole delivery program and driver management has improved. If you asked me to prove it I would go to the store manager and our loss prevention team for testimony,” said Johnson.  

Going forward, McCoy’s is looking into options for integration of GPS tracking into its business software to get more detail on the delivery expense by load by customer, proof of delivery, and vehicle inspections.

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