When Crime Strikes, Fleet Management Tech Comes to the Rescue

Dec. 15, 2021
The potential loss of these vehicles could have devastated the company as they waited for insurance to help them recover and resume operations.

By Kevin Aries, Global Product Success, Verizon Connect

The organized ring of thieves struck when they thought nobody was watching: in the middle of the night on a weekend. One by one, they drove off with ten trucks and trailers from the lot of Diamond Landscapes, a commercial landscape company serving central Kentucky.

The potential loss of these vehicles, valued at over $500,000, could have devastated the company as they waited for insurance to help them recover and resume operations. Just one catch – Diamond Landscapes saw the whole crime unfold in near-real time.

The thieves didn’t know about the fleet management technology within the vehicles. Using an app, it was easy for company officials to watch their trucks moving as they were being stolen. They called the police. A high-speed chase quickly ended when owner of Diamond Landscapes, Chris Trower, was able to share location data with law enforcement.

Every stolen truck and trailer was recovered. Instead of waiting weeks or months to resume operations, Diamond got back to its full-service landscaping and snow removal business right away.

Although this is a significant case for integrating technology into a business, an emergency situation like this isn’t the only reason it’s important for fleet owners to consider fleet management technology.

Benefits of Technology

As companies look to new technology solutions to protect, maintain and monitor their vehicle fleets, the Diamond Landscapes incident is a clear example of how fleet management technology provides the comprehensive solution businesses can rely on.

At Diamond Landscapes, fleet tech is installed on most of the company’s 60 vehicles. They’re used to track employee hours, prioritize safety, increase efficiencies, and help prevent vehicle theft. Using data provided, the company also protects drivers in the event they are wrongly accused of violating safe driving regulations.

A particular benefit for Diamond Landscapes has been with vehicle monitoring and maintenance. The company can see its fleet on a high-resolution map to help conserve fuel, provide accurate ETAs, monitor vehicle diagnostics and maintenance needs, and prevent unauthorized out of area use with geofencing.

The monitoring capabilities are especially critical during major, time-sensitive impacts like a winter snowstorm, when Diamond Landscapes crews are extremely busy clearing parking lots and other paved surfaces, because they can track how long individual jobs are taking so they can allocate resources as efficiently as possible.

With consumers expecting same-day delivery and updates en route, the new normal in transportation is over-communication, transparency and complete visibility to build better customer relationships and experiences.

Fleet management technology gives businesses near real-time access to the location and status of vehicles on a live map. Fleet platforms can help businesses interpret the data and it automatically updates vehicle tracking information to provide complete visibility into a fleet, leaving no questions on job status throughout the day.  

Using fleet management tech can help office employees pull up a map and engage with the location of every single crew member throughout the day. They can also look at their schedule board on one screen and see where the truck is at any given moment, helping the company understand if crews are on track with their work performance throughout the day.

Additionally, fleet management technology benefits small business owners like Chris Trower, with its ability to help manage maintenance of all vehicles within a fleet, which can quickly become a full-time job. As a solution that can organize and track maintenance schedules, fleet management technology benefits fleet managers and business owners by informing a preventative maintenance strategy and gives them the tools to help prevent, detect, and repair small problems early.

Lastly, as companies approach the end of 2021 and budget for the next year, they can take advantage of the trend analysis reports provided such as average miles driven per crew and other stats such as fuel usage, vehicle activity, distance traveled and number of stops, to help them with negotiating contracts, staffing and allocating resources accurately and efficiently.

Moving Forward

Right now, fleet management technology is checking all the right boxes for Diamond Landscapes. Eventually, the company is considering installing dashboard cameras to help protect drivers and the company in the event of an accident or other mishap.

First, the company is working on bringing employees up to speed on the concept since it is often met with varying degrees of comfort. While younger generations entering the workforce show less concern for being monitored or recorded, given their upbringing around photo and video-centric social media where they’re accustomed to sharing their locations and activities, more experienced drivers may feel less comfortable.

Yet for many businesses, dashcams are a natural extension of fleet management technology solutions, allowing owners to view video clips of harsh driving events within minutes of them happening. The fact is, fleet managers and business owners needing to determine the facts if an accident occurs, protect themselves against false claims, and coach drivers to improve their behavior quickly puts concerns about privacy into perspective.

Fleet management technology ultimately gives companies like Diamond Landscapes a leaner, more cost-efficient business model with technology that helps save money now and sets the stage for unexpected market disruptions such as COVID-19. The company is now in a better position to deal with economic setbacks through significant operational cost savings.

Kevin Aries is the head of Global Product Success for Verizon Connect, helping build software solutions that enhance the way people, vehicles and things move through the world. Working with transportation, field service and other fleet-based businesses, Kevin spends his time understanding the problems and solutions of the service industry improving customer experiences,productivity, efficiency and safety.

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