Companies in the landscape industry have widely adopted GPS tracking systems. Landscapers understand this technology can help improve their operations and equipment maintenance. The catch is many companies don’t have GPS tracking that integrates into their business management system.
In my experience as a business development representative for Aspire Software, which offers GPS integration powered by FleetSharp, there are three primary benefits of integrating your GPS tracking solution with your landscape management system:
- Easy-to-access data,
- Real-time safety alerts
- Fleet maintenance insights
When using a standalone GPS tracking system, landscape business owners and managers typically don’t use the technology to its full capability. Why not? Doing so requires a lot of effort. It’s one more system to log into, one more report to pull, or one more set of data to analyze, so its use often falls by the wayside.
With an integrated GPS system, however, landscape companies can easily maintain crew accountability by tracking vehicles in real time directly from their business management platform. In Aspire, for example, you can conduct a location search directly from the schedule board to view vehicles’ GPS locations on a map, so you can confirm crews’ locations and ensure they’re on track for the day.
Likewise, you can ensure accurate payroll and billing by generating geofences on properties to monitor crew activity and verify that billed time correlates to the actual time spent on site. If you’re using a standalone GPS platform that’s not integrated with your landscape management software, the verification process would require manually pulling a trip report from your GPS system, calculating how long crews were on-site, and comparing that information with timesheets. With the integrated GPS functionality in Aspire business management software, the data automatically populates for a quick, side-by-side look at total vehicle time on-site compared to crew time entries.
From a management standpoint, you save time not having to manually calculate those comparisons, and you also can save labor with the information you glean about crew behavior. If you discover, for example, that crews are leaving the job site to drive to the gas station for coffee on a daily basis, you can address that concern with the crew to prevent them from wasting man hours in the future.
Real-time safety alerts
Similarly, GPS tracking that integrates with your business management software allows you to monitor your crews’ driving habits, ensure their safety, prevent wear and tear on your vehicles, and mitigate risk in real time. In Aspire, for example, driver safety alerts automatically appear within the platform’s schedule board for issues like harsh braking, high acceleration, speeding, and tampering.
Some landscape companies have concerns about using GPS data to monitor their teams as “big brother,” but it doesn’t have to be about that. The goal shouldn’t be to catch team members doing something wrong. Rather, it should be to use the data as a training tool.
Many GPS systems, FleetSharp included, have a safety report card that tracks how safely your crews drive, providing hard data you can share with them versus making vague statements like, “you need to be a better driver.”
Odds are, if you don’t like the way someone is driving, they’ve been driving that way their whole life and won’t understand what you mean. But if you tell them, “You’ve had five speeding events this week where you were going 10 miles per hour over the speed limit,” that information is key to getting them to improve their habits. The safety data is a tool to improve your crews’ safety on the road and prevent them from putting themselves or others in harm’s way.
Fleet maintenance insights
Landscape companies are starting to become more sophisticated when it comes to vehicle and equipment maintenance, understanding how important it is to stay on top of oil changes, tire rotations, annual safety inspections, and more.
Some companies track fleet maintenance information manually; others use independent fleet maintenance software. Few have a telematics solution integrated with their business management system to sync vital information, like vehicle mileage, vehicle engine hours, or equipment engine hours, though there are many benefits to this approach. In Aspire, this data automatically populates in the equipment module.
Beyond simply collecting the data and giving you the ability to see it at-a-glance, an integrated system notifies you when your assets need maintenance, helping you avoid costly repairs and downtime. Plus, it saves time not having to rely on your operations managers to get the mileage off your trucks on a regular basis or have your crews submit mileage every day.
These are just a few of the benefits of a GPS system that integrates with your landscape management software. Any tool that can provide accurate data that’s easy to access and understand—in real time—is certainly one worth looking into to improve your operations.
At Aspire, we understand that when you’re running a landscape company, it’s important to have the right tools for the job. That’s why we’ve developed an all-in-one, cloud-based solution with the functionality you need to keep your entire business running smoothly—and profitably. If you’re ready to take your company to the next level, contact us today!
Need help finding the right business management software? Download this helpful buyer’s guide to learn everything you need to know before selecting a solution, from initial research to final decision.
For other tips for achieving consistent and sustainable growth, read our article, "5 Simple Strategies to Grow Your Landscaping Business."
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