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Buckeye Rural Electric Cooperative Discovers New Ways to Save on Fuel with GPS Fleet Tracking
Company: Buckeye Rural Electric Cooperative
Industry: Electric Cooperative
Fleet Size: 30+
Contact: Jeff Tackett, VP of Engineering and Operations
Background: Since 1938, Buckeye Rural Electric Cooperative (BREC) has provided electricity to over 18,821 consumers in nine counties of southeastern Ohio. They have 32 vehicles in their fleet, all equipped with GPS Insight.
Business Challenge: Buckeye Rural Electric Cooperative realized that there were a number of challenges that could be resolved with the help of GPS fleet tracking, the first of which was the efficiency of their dispatching. Located in a rural area where roads go over hills and wind around rather than North, South, East and West, dispatching proved to be very difficult and they knew this could be significantly improved with the aid of GPS tracking. Another issue they were coming across was the tendency for their linemen to guess how long they’d been on a call, making it virtually impossible to verify timesheets. They also wanted to have the ability to know where all vehicles were at all times, allowing them to improve response times, especially to emergencies. Finally, being able to have visibility into the health of their fleet and schedule maintenance to minimize downtime and prolong the life of their equipment was of real significance to them.
How it was solved: In 2010, Buckeye Rural Electric Cooperative decided to implement the GPS Insight Fleet Tracking Solution and according to Jeff Tackett, there were several reasons for their choice. “A big one was that they could work well with other vendors. They were open to integrations and work well with Partner Software, our outage management software.” The alerting and reporting features offered by GPS Insight played a huge part as well, allowing BREC to analyze job costs after the fact, accurately determine the time it takes to perform different tasks, and also examine and reduce the mileage put on vehicles.
Although they faced some initial resistance to the idea of GPS tracking, by installing units in the entire fleet, they were able to avoid the “picking on me” argument by employees and it was soon viewed as normal operation. They quickly started to address issues which led to an equally quick return on their investment. The first issue they were able to resolve was cutting unnecessary miles driven, down from 432,000 miles to 396,000 miles (8% drop) in the first year. In one instance, says Tackett, “we had a guy going about 30 miles out of his way to go to his favorite hangout to get a cup of coffee.” By asking this employee to find a closer location to get his caffeine fix, making sure others weren’t taking the long way home from outages, and just being able to dispatch calls more efficiently, they saved over $12,000 in fuel alone (over 100% ROI). This also translated to reduced labor costs by curbing “padded” hours. Tackett figured, “The loaded cost of one lineman is over $100 per hour. Based on the cost of GPS Insight, cutting just a half hour, per day, per truck, more than covers that monthly cost.” By having the ability to track their trucks in real-time, they also noticed increased productivity of their crews. The crews have kept on task rather than tagging along on jobs where they weren’t needed and even started asking to take on more work.
Buckeye Rural Electric has also been able to make great improvements with regards to resolving customer disputes. Using GPS Insight, they are able to create a landmark around where the problem exists and then find out what trucks were in the area during the time in question. This makes it possible to narrow down who did something out in the field, especially with jobs like routine maintenance, where there aren’t as many records available.
Since implementing GPS Insight in 2010, Buckeye Rural Electric Cooperative has seen great changes in the way they do business and is always finding new ways to use the information to create more savings.
How Buckeye Rural Electric Cooperative believes GPS Insight can help other companies like yours:
- Significantly reduce your annual mileage
- Cut fuel costs
- Improve timesheet/accounting accuracy
- Extend the life of your fleet
- Improve customer service
- People push the envelope when not watched – can find little ways “take a break or make jobs stretch out longer”
- Employees actually asking for more work since GPS installed
- GPS data improves timesheet/accounting accuracy
- More room for savings – changed how they’ve done business to save more money
- Always new ways to use the information
- Present information found as a positive whenever possible
- Cost savings makes it possible to keep employees – was able to avoid laying off employees due to savings from implementing GPS Insight