Beyond GPS: 3 Ways to Boost Service Operations with Advanced Telematics

March 14, 2022

Ryan Chen

Content Marketing Manager

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Hiring and retaining skilled labor continues to be an operational challenge for home and commercial service providers—such as plumbing, HVAC, landscaping, and more. These challenges are due to both the fluidity in the labor market as demand for experienced professionals falls short of supply, and by an aging workforce in service industries. In fact, research suggests that 70% of service organizations are worried that a retiring workforce will lead to knowledge loss that will greatly impact their business in the next 5 to 10 years.

Savvy field service managers are looking to combat the labor shortage from two sides:

  • Increasing the efficiency of the workforce they already have: 53% of leaders rank workforce efficiency as their number one concern. 

  • Improving the day-to-day experience of their technicians, which is proven to increase retention: Engaged employees result in 21% higher profitability and 59% less turnover.

When we take a closer look at the technology used to solve these challenges, home and commercial service providers often leave efficiency gains on the table. There are service management platforms and routing systems that help to support some service processes, but technicians are still burdened with manual administrative tasks and vehicle reliability issues that take time away from the core service duties that keep clients happy. There are also basic GPS solutions that help to track technicians and plan their trips for the day, but lack the advanced functionality required to maximize your technicians’ efficiency. 

Today’s most innovative companies are going beyond GPS with advanced telematics technology to streamline manual tasks, unlock time savings, and combat labor challenges. Read on to learn how to boost your service operations with advanced telematics and digital tools powered by Samsara’s Connected Operations Cloud.

Minimize vehicle and technician downtime with data-driven maintenance and insights

Technicians spend hours on the roads driving vehicles from one client to the next making fleet reliability a crucial factor in their ability to perform service. In fact, research suggests that the average cost of vehicle downtime is as much as $488 to $760 per vehicle per day. 

An advanced telematics solution optimizes your service fleets to remove the barrier between your technicians and service with remote visibility into each vehicle’s health and key diagnostics, such as engine hours, fuel usage, odometer readings, fault codes, and more. You can also set up real-time alerts and automate preventative maintenance schedules, reducing manual work and ensuring you never miss another vehicle check-up. With a telematics solution that goes beyond GPS, you can ensure that your vehicles are always in tip-top shape to minimize service downtime and drive more revenue. 

Bob's HVAC

Bob’s Heating and Air Conditioning, a leading residential HVAC company, uses Samsara’s Connected Operations Cloud to stay connected with their technicians and keep them on the road serving clients. In emergencies related to service vehicles on the road, Samsara's telematics solution enables Bob’s HVAC to save anywhere between 4 hours to a couple of days of their technician's time. For example, Bob’s HVAC used Samsara to quickly address an emergency vehicle situation where a technician was stranded on the side of the road. “I was able to direct the tow truck right to his location. I could see the fuel level, the tire pressure and that his check engine light was on. So, I could rule out that he hadn’t run out of gas, and I knew it was something more than just a flat tire even without being able to communicate with the driver. Being able to check all of those in real time, even though I couldn't communicate with the driver, was huge,” said Adam Barhan, Business Solutions Manager at Bob's Heating and Air Conditioning.

Alleviate the burden of manual paperwork by digitizing documents 

Your technicians are meant to attend to customers—not be bogged down by administrative tasks. Labor shortages mean that home and commercial service companies are often forced to task technicians with additional responsibilities that pull them away from their core duties. As part of their routine, technicians may need to manually fill out time-consuming paperwork such as vehicle inspection reports, safety reports, equipment inspection reports, proof of service forms, and more. These tasks can quickly add up to significant time that your technicians could be spending serving customers instead.

With Documents in the Samsara Driver App, you can go paperless and streamline your file management. Technicians can use a mobile device to instantly capture and share high-quality scans of paperwork with your back office. You can also build custom templates for technicians to complete any variety of reports directly on the Driver App. As a result, your back office can improve efficiency and reduce manual paper handling by retrieving, centralizing, and managing documents digitally. Now, your frontline technicians can reallocate their resources towards serving clients instead of handling manual paperwork.

UFP Industries, a national leader in lumber manufacturing, expedites over 200,000 work orders annually by using Documents in the Driver App to digitize business-critical paperwork. Before, UFP relied on using cameras, memory cards, and printers to manually keep track of documents. Now with the Documents feature, technicians are able to streamline their workflows and achieve massive efficiency and cost savings. “The Documents feature [translates to] probably $600,000 in savings for us in terms of administrative workload. Samsara’s real-time visibility has helped us take track and trace to the next level,” said Larry Ogg, UFP’s Director of Logistics.

Unify and simplify technician experience with technology integrations

App Marketplace

When technicians are out in the field, their entire focus should be dedicated to service. Home and commercial service providers require a number of different technologies to support their service operations, which means technicians may find themselves hopping between different applications to find important data.

For example, technicians may need to jump onto a service management app on their phones or in some cases, a separate device, to automate their work orders and schedules. Next, they may need a separate app for routing between clients. Still more, they may need to manually enter vehicle data entries into a fleet maintenance app to ensure reliability. In order to simplify the technician experience and provide holistic operational insights to back office teams, your applications need to be able to seamlessly talk to each other in a single platform.

Using Samsara’s open API and comprehensive suite of over 150 integrations (and growing), you can deeply connect our telematics solution and existing third-party technologies, such as service management solutions, routing software, maintenance platforms, and more. Now, you can break down data silos across your organization, making it easier and faster for your back office and field technicians to perform critical duties.

For example, telecommunications company Uniti Fiber improved technician collaboration and accelerated outage response times by leveraging our open API to integrate Samsara ​​with systems such as Esri, ArcGIS, and Salesforce, enabling real-time fleet visibility across their entire software ecosystem. “It was the coolest thing when I saw the screen with the APIs running between ESRI and Samsara,” said Eric Daniels, SVP of Operations at Uniti Fiber. “It was a glorious moment for us because suddenly I could not only see where everybody was, but I could see where everybody was relative to our network.”

Transform your physical operations with Samsara

While the labor shortage is a challenge that home and commercial service providers will likely face for years to come, advanced telematics solutions can help innovative companies go beyond GPS to streamline service operations, ensure vehicle uptime, enable technicians in the field, and do more with less. Today, Samsara’s Connected Operations Cloud is helping thousands of companies across the country increase efficiency, protect their bottom line, and deliver world-class service.

Looking for more ways to empower your technicians and increase operational efficiency? Check out our resources about going paperless and keeping drivers productive. If you’d like to learn more about the Samsara platform, reach out for a free trial.

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