Since its introduction to the commercial market, GPS-based navigation technology has become firmly established as a method for tracking service vehicles (even among fears of a Big Brother-like invasion of privacy). Yet, a recent poll of 200 service companies reveals many firms are not using the technology to its full potential, which, when put to use as a comprehensive plan, could result in as much as a 21% decrease in operating costs. According to the survey report, “Service Workforce and Fleet Management: Driving Utilization with Location Intelligence,” published by Boston-based research firm Aberdeen Group, GPS systems aren't just for fleet management anymore. An integrated leveraging of the technology also includes routing, scheduling, navigation, planning, and asset security.

(Click here to see Chart)

Almost half of the respondents reported using GPS systems to track vehicles in 2009, according to the report, while 44% use the technology to monitor their mobile field workforce. Only 20% of those polled claim to use the technology to track parts. Nevertheless, the companies with the most integrated GPS systems (20%) reported experiencing multiple benefits over the last 12 months:

  • 16% decrease in mean-time-to-respond (MTTR)

  • 19% rise in workforce productivity (daily work orders completed)

  • 29% increase in service profitability.

“We primarily monitor speed, onsite job performance, and stop reports,” says Jonny Barr, service supervisor, Ellsworth Electric, Washington, D.C. “If we see that our drivers need to continuously stop at the warehouse after every single job, then we need to change the way we stock our trucks. It helps drive a great deal of efficiency into our operations.”

To read the full report, including additional survey questions such as challenges to GPS adoption, visit the Web site of the report's sponsor, GPS Insight, Scottsdale, Ariz., at http://gpsinsight.com/aberdeen.php.