Use GPS Systems to Manage Sweeping Employees and Customer Complaints

Atlanta Sweeping Services, Atlanta, is a parking lot sweeping company with 46 employees and 27 Nite-Hawk sweeping trucks. The company's size pretty much necessitated a means to monitor sweeping and employee driving, says General Manager Jimmy Wettlaufer. As a solution, in 2006 the company integrated a GPS system into all 27 Nite-Hawk trucks.

The two main reasons influencing the use of GPS were controlling employees' speed and monitoring sweeping in case of customer complaints, Wettlaufer says.

"We limit our drivers to a certain fuel mileage requirement every night," Wettlaufer says. The GPS is reviewed every day by Operations Manager Nathan Walton to monitor drivers' speed and fuel consumption. Any driver not following the fuel mileage rule can then be quickly reprimanded, says Walton. Another benefit: GPS can help cut fuel costs through monitoring drivers and allowing management to stop drivers from bad driving habits that waste fuel.

GPS also allows management to verify if customer complaints are legitimate. "Before GPS, if an employee got a complaint, by the time we could get out to verify the complaint sometimes it would be 8 hours old. You can't justify that complaint. The GPS eliminated that problem," Wettlaufer says.

"Now we can overlay the GPS with Google Earth, and it pulls up the properties we sweep on each route," he adds. "It shows on the parking lots exactly where drivers went, how long they were there, and where they swept. We're not out there auditing routes, but the GPS is."

"It basically replaces some supervisors," Wettlaufer says. "You don't have to have a supervisor following every driver making sure they do their job. The GPS does that for you."

GPS has also helped when planning routes, Wettlaufer says. Atlanta Sweeping Services can put in a customer's location and the GPS, along with Google Earth, locates the property so Wettlaufer and Walton know exactly where to fit it into the sweeping route.

"I think every sweeping company should have a GPS unit of some sort in the vehicles," Wettlaufer says. But he understands why some contractors may be hesitant to integrate GPS into their businesses. "It's complicated, but it can work for you," he says.

Wettlaufer's suggests finding someone, preferably an IT person, who can explain and show how to make a GPS system work for your company's needs. "We brought an outside source in to help modify our GPS and Google Earth. It was designed for and taught to us in a way that is very user friendly," he adds.

"GPS removes all the doubt, drivers can't get around it, and each company just needs to build it in a way that is useful for them," Wettlaufer says. "For us, it has been 100% successful."

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