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October 18, 2011

Embedded M2M Solutions - Trimble Embedded M2M GeoManager Work Management Keeps PTS on the Roll


From headquarters in Walnut Creek, Calif., PTS (Pacific Telemanagement Services) services a base of 40,000 payphones, 75,000 self-service air, water and vacuum machines, and is expanding into the Internet kiosk, portable movie rental machine and amusement vending businesses. Optimizing the performance of its fleet of 100 service vehicles and the work flow of its staff of technicians to ensure its customers get superior customer service is key to its success.


When seeking a solution that could provide them the capabilities required to keep the trucks on the move in the most efficient and effective way possible, PTS officials turned to fleet management and workflow management specialists Trimble and its partner embedded M2M solutions provider Sprint for a state-of-the-art solution work management solution that could meet both today’s demanding environment and could expand along with the company.

TMCnet had the opportunity to review the successful PTS implementation with Joyce Tam, Trimble’s (News - Alert) director of product marketing for Fleet Solutions to find out what it was, how it works, and the benefits it supplies. 

Tam first reviewed what goes into the complete suite ofTrimble Fleet Solutions which are hosted on the GeoManager cloud-computing platform — which integrates advanced in-vehicle hardware, GPS, vehicle diagnostics and wireless communication technologies for exceptional performance and simplicity of use. She cited the following capabilities:

  1. Fleet Management:  Provides real-time field status information, including current location and diagnostics alerts to help manage fleet performance.
  2. Work Management: Gives dispatchers and managers visibility into work schedules and mobile worker activities.
  3. Driver Safety: Allows fleet managers to monitor and manage driving behaviors.
  4. Driver Log Hours of Service: Helps motor carriers comply with federal regulatory standards.

“With Fleet Management, the key benefits include increased productivity, decreased fuel costs, reduced vehicle wear and tear, and improved vehicle up-time with performance alerts and vehicle diagnostics,” Tam said. “Work Management helps companies assign day-to-day jobs based on real-time schedule status, thus reducing overtime, improving customer satisfaction and increasing jobs completed per day and greatly improving productivity. Driver Safety increases fuel savings by eliminating quick starts and improves productivity as well due to less vehicle downtime and a reduction in operational costs. And, the logs are critical in regards to Department of Transportation (DOT) compliance.” 

All in all, she believes it is the most comprehensive set of solutions on the market that meet today’s and emerging customer needs in terms of work force and vehicle optimization.

The proof is in the Results

The justification for going with a solution that was focused on the implementation of Work Management can be seen in the speed and ease of installation and the results aleady achieved by PTS.  

“For PTS and other companies, it takes about a day for installation of the solution itself if they’re a current GeoManager customer, plus two days of training for dispatchers and drivers,” Tam said. “If the company is new to GeoManager then the setup is about two weeks (implement GeoManager first, then get everyone in the system, then training, etc.). PTS took roughly a month from start to finish of its nationwide rollout based on the size of the geographic dispersion of its work force.”

“Work Management work with almost any browser-based end device including smart phones which were used by PTS, and also works with tablets and laptops,” she added.

The results from the implementation have been measurable and are impressive. Tam says that what PTS has already seen is that: “There was a timesaving of nine hours each week per dispatcher and an additional 10 percent completion of jobs. In addition, they were able to optimize the 90 PTS technician schedules, cut three hours of routing per dispatcher per day to about 45 minutes a day— for a productivity savings of 75 percent or about 9 hours per week.” 

As a result, technicians no longer had to plan their own routes creating an additional 90 hours per week available to complete jobs. And, workers had an approximately 85 percent job completion rate prior to using Trimble Work Management.

“Now, the completion rate is about 95 percent resulting in 10 percent efficiency or work productivity,” Tam said.

Tools you can Use

This led to a question regarding not just what the service people use, see and experience, but also how Work Management empowers supervisors and dispatchers to more easily manage this new environment? Once again, the list of functionality and the value it provides is extensive. 

For instance, Tam cited the tools being used by PTS. “They are using Work Advisor and In-day Planner to enable rapid response for at-risk tasks, as well as the re-optimization of routes and workload. Our Work Management Mobile is being used to improve communication between drivers and dispatchers on the most browser-based smart phones, tablets and PDAs.” And, she added that the Performance Manager feature is, “helping the company keep customer commitments by providing real-time analysis of the mobile work status.”

Tam was quick to point out that the use of Fleet Management capabilities are assisting in managing overall mobile worker productivity, and the solution is future ready not just from the perspective of Trimble and Sprint (News - Alert) innovations but also through the use of Web services that enable integration with third party systems.

Finally, when asked to the degree to which this was a custom job, Tam responded that it was absolutely not and that the beauty of the solution set was not just in the power of its functionality but also in its flexibility and extensibility. Tam said, “Work Management is out of the box solution and simple to use. It’s designed for most businesses. or instance, a few industry segments that can benefit from Work Management include HVAC, Plumbing, Electrical, Paving, Roofing, Contracting, Field Service and Telecommunications.”

The reality is that for any fleet management solution, there literally are a lot of moving parts to keep track of and whose use must be optimized — vehicles, people, communications devices and going forward even the various tools of the trade that can be specific to the sector being serviced and the requirements of the customer and their applications. As Tam notes, because of the complexity involved and the need for a highly reliable partner with deep expertise in providing embedded M2M solutions, Trimble relies on Sprint’s Emerging Solutions Group as its partner and chose Sprint’s mobile broadband network as the first to offer the Trimble GeoManager Work Management solution.

The bottom line for PTS has been the positive impact on the bottom line. More efficient and effective workers, greater productivity and satisfied customers — an equation every company with a need to optimize the use of it valuable mobile resources can appreciate.


Peter Bernstein is a technology industry veteran, having worked in multiple capacities with several of the industry's biggest brands, including Avaya, Alcatel-Lucent, Telcordia, HP, Siemens, Nortel (News - Alert), France Telecom, and others, and having served on the Advisory Boards of 15 technology startups. To read more of Peter's work, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Carrie Schmelkin


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