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On Target Utility Services

Utility Contractor Powers Up Fleet Management Solution for Higher Performance and Savings

Xora InVehicle meets the growth challenge for On Target Utility Services.

As a provider of locating, metering, smart grid, telecommunications, power line and construction services to customers throughout the Northeast United States, On Target Utility Services knows that an efficient and productive fleet is essential to its success. That’s what motivated the Gardiner, Maine-based company to purchase a fleet management solution in the first place.

Before long, however, the solution ran out of gas. Says Tracy Vines, Fleet Specialist for On Target, “When we first started to work with our former vendors, the solution fit our needs. But as we expanded, we outgrew what they could deliver. We could only access data weekly and the system was unreliable. Location data on our vehicles would be missing and weeks of information lost without any way to retrieve it.”

So On Target made the difficult decision to replace its existing fleet management product and Vines was charged with finding a new one that could meet three challenging criteria:

  • Not just meet but exceed the performance and capabilities of the solution being replaced
  • Leverage an existing partnership between On Target; Enterprise Fleet Management, the supplier of its leased vehicle fleet; and wireless carrier
  • Save money

According to Vines, the solution was easier to find than she imagined, coming in the form of Enterprise Mobile Resource Manager (EMRM) from existing partner Enterprise Fleet Management.

The EMRM solution consists of three elements that work together to deliver a complete solution: a GPS hard-mounted tracking device; a Garmin Nuvi 265W portable GPS navigator; and a secure web management application from Xora, Inc.

The tracking device continuously transmits the GPS locations of On Target’s vehicles. The Garmin navigator provides drivers with turn-by-turn directions and also is connected to the web-based Xora web management application to serve as a communications device between dispatchers and drivers for job dispatching and status. The Xora web management application processes near-real time information about vehicle locations, displays it using Google Maps, and sends instant alerts on vehicle conditions that require immediate attention. Configurable historical reports generated by Xora give On Target insight that helps the company make decisions that increase efficiency and performance.

Better Functionality and Customer Support

Vines’ experience with Enterprise Fleet Management and Xora has been a welcome contrast to her work with the previous vendors, she says. Data now is updated immediately and reports are both more detailed and more accurate. For example, the solution provides GPS locations for each vehicle, a new capability for On Target that enables safety officers to quickly and accurately pinpoint the location of work crews.

“The options that EMRM offers are perfect for our company, “ says Vines. “With help from Xora, we also integrated EMRM data into our fleet database, which helps us respond to customer requests for information,” says Vines. “When a request for additional location information comes in, we are able to take the integrated GPS detail and combine it with our vehicle detail to provide any number of reports with varying degrees of data, from complex to simple and straightforward.”

Better customer service from the new vendors also has been another positive aspect of the new solution. “Xora makes us feel that we’re their only customer, consistently giving us reliable accessibility and fast response,” says Vines.

Even paying the bill is simpler now. Previously, On Target received separate invoices from the two providers of its previous solution, resulting in double work as the company had to verify charges every month and apply costs to the right departments in the business. The single invoice that consolidates charges now cuts that administrative time in half.

$40,000 and Counting

The EMRM solution also has proven to be a significant money saver for On Target. When the installation is complete, the company projects a savings of $40,000 on equipment costs and installation fees for its 210 vehicles, or about 25% less than what they were with the previous solution. That’s because EMRM tracking devices are $75 less than they were with the previous solution and installation is included. Having completed two-thirds of its installs, On Target is already saving $6,600 a month.

According to Vines, the savings won’t stop with equipment purchases and installation, but will continue to grow as On Target takes advantage of more capabilities that are included with the Xora web management application at no additional charge. And because Xora is cloud-based, the new features are available immediately, whenever On Target is ready to take advantage of them. “Every new feature our previous providers incorporated into their web portal cost extra,” says Vines. “It just didn’t make sense for us to have to keep paying for our own data and we couldn’t justify adding new capabilities.”

There have also been some unexpected savings. After the theft of two of On Target’s vehicles, the company was able to recover them using the GPS tracking unit in the vehicles and pinpointing their locations on a map generated by the Xora web management application. Says Vines, “The combined cost of the vehicles was more than $30,000 – not to mention the equipment that was in the vehicles such as our underground locating equipment. That alone adds an additional $1,000 per vehicle.”

Adds Vines, “We didn’t buy EMRM for security. But it’s nice to have it when you need it.”

Value in Productivity Gains

Once the initial deployment of EMRM is complete, On Target plans to expand its use of the EMRM solution to automate job scheduling, dispatching and messaging. Today On Target crews receive work orders from the office via email or fax or by downloading them from a database. Automating these processes by sending work orders directly to the drivers through the Garmin navigator will save time both at the office and in the field, increasing driver and dispatch manager productivity.

Vines also sees a future in which On Target will save money in other areas as well. “It is too early to have numbers that show our reduced fuel and maintenance costs,” she says, “ but I can see those coming.”

“When a request for additional location information comes in, we are able to take the integrated GPS detail and combine it with our vehicle detail to provide any number of reports with varying degrees of data, from complex to simple and straightforward.”

Tracy Vines, Fleet Specialist, On Target Utility Services