Fleet-management Technology Fuels Midwestern Roofer’s Growth

I established Roberts Roofing Co. Inc. in 1985 in a garage in St. Joseph, Mo. with a single truck and one lone employee. Since then, the company has rapidly grown into a premier roofing business in Northwest Missouri, operating a 30-truck fleet with 60 employees.

Roberts Roofing is a full-service roofing contracting firm, focusing on residential, commercial and industrial projects, including educational and government buildings and churches. It is a member of the National Roofing Contractors Association and Midwest Roofing Contractors Association and certified by GAF as a Master Elite Roofing Contractor.

Roberts Roofing’s fleet-tracking system monitors 30 trucks and has improved the business’ bottom line.

Roberts Roofing’s fleet- tracking system monitors 30 trucks and has improved the business’ bottom line.

The business is operated on the principles of quality work, expert craftsmanship, employee safety, honesty and professionalism. To better deliver on these promises for customers, my team and I knew it was important to improve efficiency and response time of crews in the field. We also knew a fleet-management system could help us achieve these goals, and, in looking for the best solution, we sought input from a few customers. After testing units recommended by our customers in a few of our vehicles, it became a no-brainer to equip the whole fleet.

A fleet-management solution was rolled out to our entire fleet in August 2012. What started as a useful vehicle- tracking tool quickly became something of much greater business value.

Having a sizable team of professional roofers, estimators and project managers on staff required knowing where they were at all times and how jobs were progressing. The fleet-management system has not only made progress and location of employees in the field more transparent, it also allowed us to better match payroll with actual time worked—a pitfall of payroll accounting for many construction companies. Additionally, we began to see a marked difference in fuel use, a decrease in the wear and tear of vehicles, better driving habits by staff and increased productivity.

SLASHING FUEL COSTS

To date, Roberts Roofing has decreased fuel spend by 30 percent, saving the business $2,000 to $3,000 monthly. An additional $24,000 to $36,000 annually pays off in a big way. Management also found there were less miles being put on trucks; the solution enabled smarter, more efficient routing and dispatching. Fewer miles driven means less need for unexpected maintenance and fewer trips to the tire store. In total, the business has saved about 100,000 miles, several sets of tires and countless oil changes.

CORRECTING BEHAVIOR IN REAL TIME

In the hot summer months, idling can lead to skyrocketing fuel costs, and we noticed many drivers leaving the engines on for long periods of time. The fleet-management system offers alerts to notify us if one of our vehicles has been idling for a long period of time. When we receive an alert, someone in the office contacts the driver directly to bring it to his or her attention and ensure the engine is turned off in a timely manner.

REWARDING EMPLOYEES

Because the fleet-management solution monitors driver behavior, such as excessive and harsh braking and acceleration and speeding, which can cause accidents, my team and I have launched a safety rewards program that compensates employees with an end-of-year bonus for responsible driving. Employees are evaluated based on their work attendance; efficiency at the job site; and a clean driving record free of violations, accidents and speeding tickets. Typically, 95 percent of employees meet these standards. There also is a corrective action program in place to address the occasional mistakes. Not only does this ensure that we as a company are being represented in the most professional manner to customers and the public, but it rewards staff for good behavior, increasing employee satisfaction and loyalty.

INCREASING SERVICE CALLS PER DAY

Another core benefit of our fleet-management solution is its ability to enable the staff to make more service calls per day. Between employees completing jobs in a timely and efficient manner and smarter routing to and from sites, Roberts Roofing has been able to add at least two additional projects per day. Depending on the type of job, this can mean an additional $200 for a repair or the sale of a more expensive replacement. This means increased revenue and more satisfied customers.

We have recommended this technology to a lot of other contractors the past two years and wonder how we did business without it before. It’s easy to use, dependable and accurate.

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Roberts Roofing utilizes Fleetmatics GPS fleet tracking and management solution.

About Steve Roberts

Steve Roberts is president of Roberts Roofing, St. Joseph, Mo.

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