Mobile technology puts companies at an advantage, easing workloads

January 28, 2015 By and    

I once took a middle school math final without a calculator because I mistakenly thought the teacher didn’t want us to use one for the test.

The allotted time for the exam was two hours. I used every last second, while all of my classmates had finished with 30 minutes to spare. I also made some avoidable mistakes with long division on the exam. I ended up with a 75 percent, which dragged my grade down to a B- for the semester.

Today, fleets that don’t use mobile technology are at a similar disadvantage. By not using a calculator, I created more stress, worked much harder, took longer than I should have and received a lower grade than I had before in my middle school math class. All of the obvious parallels to your operation apply here, but with one large caveat – my incident was a one-time occurrence.

Marketers are bombarded by many variables that affect their bottom line, most of which they have little control over. During one recent road trip to visit some customers and prospects, one marketer shared that there have always been the usual, formidable list of worries beyond his grasp; however, he said the past few years have thrown a few curveballs beyond that list. These curveballs compelled him to create systems in his operation that provided redundancy and flexibility – otherwise known as deploying a mobile platform. The marketer said he calls it his “wealth preservation plan.”

In sports, you hear coaches tell their teams not to worry about things they can’t control, keep their blinders on and focus on the task at hand. That scenario would be considered a luxury for most marketers reading this. Most days are so fragmented that it’s similar to pushing water uphill with a rake. That’s why mobile has gained so much traction the past three years. I can write all day about ROI, EBITDA and net worth – no one gets upset when profits soar and personal net worth rises dramatically. However, it’s the ability to simultaneously increase managerial vision, reduce internal stress, provide better customer service and create a deeper, more restful night’s sleep that have mobile fans equally ecstatic.

There are still a good number of fleets that continue to deliver off of route books and who’d desperately like to change that paradigm. An aging driver population oftentimes contributes to this scenario. It may seem counterintuitive for these fleets to jump into the mobile fray, but in reality, mobile provides the bridge by which they can cross that chasm at their pace. For these fleets, there’s no rule that says you need to move off those route books in one season. The first step may be to automate those routes for the first year, get comfortable with your system and then work with your vendor to take that leap the following year. In these situations, it’s important to remember that it took years to cement the workflow process, and going to virtual zones in one season may be biting off too much. It could be the reason why decision makers avoid going mobile altogether.

Fleets that use route books and degree days will see amazing results in reduced miles and overtime, along with more gallons per hour and stops per hour. Regardless of where your operation currently stands, everyone can use help dealing with “urgency vs. geography” at ground level.

As 2015 begins, I encourage you to consider a mobile strategy if you’ve not already done so. In the words of the brilliant Dr. Seuss, “You’ve got brains in your head, you’ve got feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” As long as you’re moving in a direction, it might as well be toward creating the most efficient fleet your operation can possibly become. Your best reality is attainable. The technology is fully proven and there are a multitude of vendors to choose from.

Albert Einstein once said, “You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.” I’m fairly certain Mr. Einstein would’ve nailed the long division on my exam without the aid of a calculator and been done in time to play kickball with my friends. Yet, there’s nothing in my research to suggest that he had the leg to be considered a high draft pick when choosing up sides.

John Rosen is the vice president of sales for Vertrax Inc. You can contact him at jrosen@vertrax.com or 203-401-6071.

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