by Chip Hiebler, IT Senior Project Manager
Baltimore County Office of Information Technology
In fleet management, just like real estate, it’s all about “location, location, location.” Recently, the Baltimore County Office of Information Technology installed a fleet tracking system on all County owned vehicles. With its extensive tracking and mapping capabilities, this system pinpoints the exact locations of County vehicles, allowing work crews and managers to be more efficient in responding to calls for service and to identify the most expeditious routing of job locations. This improved management of agency operations also cuts fuel costs and emissions, helping to reduce environmental impact.
The system provides a Garmin GPS unit in each vehicle, allowing dispatchers to send service calls and messages directly to drivers. The driver can directly respond to service calls, reporting back when they have accepted and completed assigned jobs. The system’s turn by turn directions reduce fuel costs by helping drivers take the most direct route and avoid getting lost.
By using NexTraq’s mapping capability, dispatchers can see their entire fleet’s location and assign jobs to the nearest mobile employee. The system also provides route planning that will automatically optimize a list of locations or jobs into the shortest and most expeditious route, resulting in a savings of both time and money. As you can imagine, this is a huge time-saver whether the employee is an animal control officer, a code enforcement inspector, a Highways crew chief, a CountyRide driver, a fire marshal, a public health nurse, an emergency medical technician, a computer specialist or a solid waste collection supervisor. The list and the benefits go on. But let’s take a quick look at some of the key savings for taxpayers:
October 2011 (Pre GPS) – County vehicles drove 613,737 miles
October 2012 (Post GPS) – County vehicles drove 493,463 miles
Savings – 120, 273 fewer miles/ month
$8,300 saved in monthly fuel cost
$100,000 annual fuel savings
Yes indeed, that’s a lot of money, but the system is about more than saving money in fuel costs. For example, agencies can see a direct benefit by using the system to streamline their existing business processes for employees in the field, better utilizing existing resources. Agencies can also use GPS to keep track of mobile assets, track vehicle locations and create detailed reports that can help reduce costs.
The system alerts County managers if a particular vehicle is idling for too long, is speeding or is inactive for an excessive period of time. Monitoring these alerts allows agencies to manage and address any such driver issues and to easily monitor unauthorized vehicle use.
This GPS fleet tracking system is just one more example of County Executive Kevin Kamenetz’s mandate that County agencies use technology to improve customer service and save taxpayer dollars by working more efficiently. Now, ladies and gentlemen start your engines.