But in just a few months, the software and GPS units have already far exceeded the dirt contractor’s expectations.
“There are a lot of things we’re starting to notice, and we’re still in the installation period,” Baranko Bros. GPS/IT manager Jordan Kessel said. “A lot of it is speeding. Last month we had three total speeding violations. When we first installed the GPS, we were seeing 12 a day.”
Kessel estimated that the fuel saved in the first two weeks alone paid for at least half of the 220 GPS units purchased.
Some of those fuel savings came from making sure the trucks are not being used outside of company time. Most of Baranko Bros. trucks are used by employees on the job and to drive to and from work and home. He said the company was having a hard time tracking vehicle usage on weekends.
“We knew a lot of them were being used for more than just work,” Kessel said. “They were taking them for personal use. After I put all the units in, we noticed a lot of pickups running on the weekends because the drivers didn’t know the GPS units existed yet. Word spread pretty quickly, and now there’s very limited usage outside of work.”
Baranko Bros., which has job sites spread out over a 100-mile radius, also set up geo-fences in 10 locations. The geo-fences notify Kessel when equipment crosses the geo-fence, like when equipment reaches the jobsite or when a truck is parked somewhere it shouldn’t be.
But the GPS helps out in unexpected ways too, like when an employee accidentally drove off from a gas station without paying for his fuel.
“The gas station called saying they had a drive-off and that it was one of our pickups, but the attendant couldn’t read the unit number on the truck,” Kessel said. “It took me all of five minutes to figure out who it was. The GPS showed he was the only one who had been in that area. The guy was on his cell phone and just forgot.”
The GPS units can also counter theft and aid in the recovery of stolen equipment, or help find lost equipment--even if you don’t know it’s lost. Kessel said they were installing asset tracking devices on dumpsters and realized they had an extra GPS unit.
“The GPS has an asset ID number, and those are all unique,” he said. “We set the units up only to realize that we couldn’t find one of the dumpsters. We had an extra GPS unit with nowhere to put it. Turns out the dumpster was sitting at an oil field, and no one ever reported that it was out there. So even installing the GPS actually helped us find equipment.”
While Baranko’s units are only about 46 percent installed, Kessel said he is already receiving surprising data, which he can integrate into his existing HCSS HeavyJob software to run reports, track job progress, and estimate new projects.
“We got one dozer up and going, and I actually had to call to see if it was correct,” he said. “It recorded 30 minutes of actually working, in 12 hours of run time. It was just idling the rest of that time. That’s something we’d have never known.”