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D.H. Griffin: From Basic GPS Tracking To Full-Fledged Fleet Management

 

As a leading demolition company in the United States, D. H. Griffin Wrecking CDH Griffin Companieso., Inc. owns around 500 vehicles, including heavy trucks, that it sends to demolition and job sites daily to pick up and deliver an assortment of materials, such as recyclables, plastics, metal and construction debris. Trucks regularly cross state lines, requiring drivers to keep accurate mileage logs for regulatory purposes.

 Challenge

For years, drivers kept track of mileage with handwritten logs, a time-consuming process that is prone to error. And as the company discovered the hard way, it was a risky practice. After being fined for inaccurate recordkeeping, Greensboro, NC-based D.H. Griffin decided to get help in the form of a fleet management solution. Introduced by a telecommunications partner to Trimble, D.H. Griffin selected the Trimble cloud-based Fleet Management, which provides visibility into daily field service operations to help businesses identify, manage and improve operational areas such as driver safety, customer service, back office administration, fuel use and vehicle efficiency. D.H. Griffin especially liked the Driver Logs integrated tool, which keeps track of each driver’s miles on the road to comply with regulations, such as Department of Transportation Hours of Service requirements. “Trimble reduced the time it takes to generate the driver logs required for DOT compliance, improved the accuracy of our logs, and increased our driver productivity,” says Rick Swartz, D.H. Griffin’s Corporate Fleet Manager.

Mileage Accuracy

In business for more than 50 years, D. H. Griffin has vast experience providing demolition, dismantling, recycling, asset recovery, materials reclamation and emergency demolition services for government and private sector clients. It managed the deconstruction of the New York World Trade Center towers.

Even though it had a computerized reporting system in place, drivers were using handwritten logs before implementing Fleet Management. “That system was a nightmare,” says Swartz. “The drivers would enter the miles manually. The quality was poor and unreliable, and we lost productivity because drivers spent too much time maintaining the logs instead of driving.” With Fleet Management in place, improvements were immediate. Productivity increased by one hour a week per driver since they no longer had to grapple with logbooks. That’s 52 hours a year and with 200 drivers, that adds up to 10,400 hours of added productivity per year. Driver Logs records mileage automatically by capturing and organizing relevant data.

Automatic recordkeeping also helps comply with trucking regulations. This was key because an audit by the International Federal Transportation Association (IFTA) had turned up some discrepancies between odometer readings and drivers’ handwritten logs, a common problem when drivers manually record this information. “The agency fined the company, and that was the key incentive for getting the miles logged accurately once and for all,” says Swartz. States rely on mileage logs for taxation. “Each state has its own fuel tax, which is measured by miles, and this mileage must be tracked accurately so that quarterly payments by vehicle are correct,” he says. In addition, Driver Logs helps comply with new Hours of Service regulations that went into effect in July 2013 by automating duty status changes. This enhances accuracy and reduces time consuming administrative work for drivers and office employees.

Significant Savings

Aside from regulation compliance, Fleet Management and Driver Logs benefits D.H. Griffin in multiple ways, primarily by lowering operational costs. Swartz says the company has saved the equivalent of one staff member’s annual salary. In addition to eliminating handwritten logs, the company saves by using built-in driver alert capabilities to avoid traffic violations, especially speeding. Speeding creates safety risks and can incur costs such as fines, higher insurance rates, and added wear and tear on vehicles. When drivers reach 72 MPH, they get a warning to slow down. If drivers fail to comply, they receive an internal fine, much as they would if stopped by highway patrol. “Speeding was a big issue, so we had to find a way to enforce speed control. It’s not as much of a problem in heavy vehicles that are electronically restricted, but we also have pickups and lighter service trucks. Now, we are able to reduce our liability and discourage reckless driving,” Swartz says.

Unauthorized use of vehicles also is down, since Fleet Management sends alerts about truck activity during off hours. “We rarely work on Sunday so if that’s on the log, we look at the GPS reports to find out why,” Swartz says. In addition, D.H. Griffin has saved thousands of dollars on broken windshield claims. Other drivers often blame our trucks for kicking up rocks that smash their windshields. “Now we can say, ‘I’m sorry, but our records show that none of our trucks were in your area,’” Swartz says. “I can send them a GPS-based report to prove it.” Driver Logs also helps with payroll. “Sometimes we rent our equipment to sister divisions within the company and we can verify start and finish times to ensure accurate billing,” Swartz says. Overall, Swartz reports that operations run more smoothly and efficiently with Trimble Fleet Management. Having real-time visibility into daily activities allows the company to rectify problems and make improvements that otherwise may not have happened. “We have saved money, and our proficiency and efficiency have increased by over 70 percent,” he says.