GPS units prove their worth for dirt contractor

Sept. 23, 2015

Baranko Bros. Inc. purchased HCSS GPS for its truck and trailer fleet in early October 2014, expecting to be able to cut down on fuel costs and speeding issues. 

Just four months later, the tracking 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,” said Baranko Bros. GPS/IT Manager Jordan Kessel. “A lot of it is speeding. Last month we had three total speed violations. Initially we had 12 in a day.” 

Kessel estimated that the fuel saved in the first two weeks alone paid for at least half of the more than 220 GPS units purchased. 

Some of those fuel savings came from making sure the trucks are not being used outside of company time. Employees on the job and driving to and from work use most of Baranko Bros. trucks. Kessel said the company was having a hard time tracking the vehicles. 

“We knew that a lot of them were being used for work,” said Kessel. “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. But word spread pretty quickly, and now there’s very limited usage.” 

Baranko Bros., which has job sites spread out over a 100-mile radius, also set up geo-fences in ten locations. Kessel can see when equipment reaches the jobsite or when a company vehicle is parked somewhere it should not 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,” said Kessel. “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 nobody knows it is lost. Kessel said the company was installing asset-tracking devices on dumpsters and realized it had an extra GPS unit. 

“The GPS has an asset ID number, and those are all unique,” he said. “We set those up only to realize that we couldn’t find one of the dumpsters. It was sitting at an oil field location, and no one ever reported that it was out there. So even installing the GPS actually helped us find equipment.” 

While only about 46% of Baranko’s units are 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. And the recording was correct—something we’d have never known.”

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