In response to the need to streamline their fleet operations, companies such as Traffic Management Inc. and Monarch Landscape Holdings LLC are increasingly turning to mobile fleet services to make fleet maintenance and fuel management more efficient.
Los Angeles, California-based Monarch Landscape Holdings is a private equity-backed company that operates several landscaping firms specializing in commercial landscape maintenance, landscape construction, and public infrastructure work.
Monarch’s landscape companies employ 3,000 employees and operate more than 1,300 vehicles including pickup trucks, boom trucks, and flatbeds, as well as 800 trailers.
Wrench provides vehicle and trailer preventive maintenance, mandatory compliance inspections (California Highway Patrol Basic Inspection of Terminals and U.S. Department of Transportation), and light- and medium-duty repairs for Monarch’s fleet.
Monarch’s companies use Wrench’s online platform to schedule and track the different stages of the overall maintenance and repair process. Wrench fulfills these needs via an electronic and “single contact” request process.
Rob Tetz, vice president of fleet and facilities for Monarch Landscape Holdings, says he first learned about Wrench after Monarch partnered with Merchants Fleet Management.
“The process and manpower needed to shuttle vehicles to and from brick-and-mortar facilities was inefficient,” Tetz says. “I started to research potential on-site or mobile options that would work within Monarch’s fleet management partnership with Merchants.”
Within his analysis, the average time it took for an employee to drop off a vehicle was 50 minutes. This included prep, windshield time, dealer paperwork and processing, and travel time back to the company’s location. The five-mile return trip to pick up the vehicle once the PM work was completed averaged about 40 minutes, according to Tetz.
Since employees had to shuttle about 800 of the companies’ 1,300 vehicles twice annually, Tetz estimated this cost the company about $55,200 on 2,400 hours in lost productivity.
Before Monarch Landscape contracted with Wrench for its vehicle preventative maintenance needs, mechanics at the company’s own maintenance facilities completed the work. Those mechanics primarily fulfill contracted equipment repairs for other companies.
Tetz says since Wrench technicians now provide the PM work, the company’s mechanics, who bill at $98 an hour, are free to accomplish nearly $235,000 worth of outside equipment repairs.
“The Wrench platform also gives our branch operations visibility and communicates real time data so our operators can affect changes within their daily business asset needs,” Tetz says. Eventually, Monarch will be able to use the historical data Wrench collects for predictive maintenance, which could save the company even more money and offer greater efficiencies.
Meanwhile Booster, a mobile on-demand fuel delivery service, provides Traffic Management Inc. (TMI) a way to simplify its refueling process. When drivers start their day, they no longer need to fuel their vehicles before they leave the company yard.
Instead, around-the-clock trucks loaded with diesel fuel from Booster visit the company’s 32 locations in Northern and Southern California, Seattle, and the Upper Marlboro, Md.-Washington, D.C. area delivering the fuel TMI trucks need. Signal Hill, California-based TMI operates a mixed fleet of about 100 truck-mounted attenuators and 850 ¾-ton pickup trucks.
TMI fleet project manager L.J. Lopez also credits Booster’s mobile capabilities for delivering significant labor savings and efficiencies to his company. Booster has access to TMI’s yards to deliver fuel to our trucks between shifts,” he says.
“Because drivers don’t have to spend time fueling up their vehicles at the start of their shifts, we’ve determined that we saved nearly half a million dollars in labor costs at our 32 locations across the United States in the first year,” Lopez says.
TMI specializes in planning and coordinating traffic management for big infrastructure projects, road repairs or potentially hazardous events such as wildfires. The company’s truck-mounted attenuators (or TMAs) act as a crash shield protecting highway construction workers or emergency personnel should a vehicle leave the roadway or veer into the lanes where they are working.
Company employees also deploy barricades and install temporary lighting to achieve work site and traffic safety. TMI’s customers range from developers and event organizers to public utility companies and government and law enforcement agencies.
TMI generally pays Booster the local going market rate for fuel plus a small fueling surcharge for the delivery. In locations where TMI operates more than 20 vehicles, Booster waives the surcharge and only charges for the fuel.
Lopez says after looking at the costs his company would have paid at the pump, he’s paying 20 to 30 cents less per gallon using Booster.
“Not only are we saving money on labor costs, but we’re also realizing some fuel cost savings,” Lopez added.
Drivers start off the day with a full tank of gas and are ready to go, which leads to improved productivity. The company also has significantly reduced its reliance on the use of company gas cards, which previously led to problems with misuse and difficulties in tracking fuel transactions each month.
Instead, TMI managers receive daily summaries on how each vehicle is performing. If there are maintenance issues, Booster drivers report any observable problems.
Booster also made a recommendation that helped TMI realize greater efficiencies and contributed to even faster fueling service. When TMI drivers end their shifts, they can put up placards that indicate whether their vehicles need fuel, so Booster delivery drivers can focus their attention on those trucks that actually need refueling.
Soon, that task will go digital:
“We’re currently working with our telematics provider and with Booster on being able to remotely monitor fuel levels and know exactly when trucks need to be refueled and how much they need,” Lopez says.