The pitch: Boost productivity, improve safety and get real-time insights with Azuga fleet management software.
- Reduce fuel consumption by cutting idle time and correcting driver behavior while increasing productivity with asset tracking and hours of service reporting
- Increase safety with driver behavior monitoring, inspection logging and maintenance scheduling
- Reduce downtime with preventative maintenance scheduling and vehicle diagnostics monitoring
For more info: Azuga.com
GPS Insight- Field Service Management
The pitch: GPS Insight field service management software supports your business’s daily workflow while eliminating paper, automating processes, connecting your crews to the office and ensuring a smooth customer journey.
- Dispatchers and team managers can see their crew’s schedules at a glance with a customizable calendar view and dynamic dispatching
- Work order management allows you to create, view and manage what needs to be done at each job
- Combine field service management and GPS tracking for complete visibility into your daily operations
For more info: gpsinsight.com
Juniper Systems Geode GNS2 Sub-meter
The pitch: This new release of the Geode now features connectivity with a range of iPhone and iPad devices providing users with an even more versatile and powerful tool. This is made possible by the Geode’s new MFi certification. MFi stands for Made For iPhone, iPad.
- The Geode GNS2 retains all the features and connectivity of the original Geode while adding this support for iPhone and iPad
- The Geode is an all-in-one sub-meter receiver that provides users with real-time, precision GNSS data
- Designed with versatility in mind, it features one-button simplicity and can be used with any of Juniper Systems’ handhelds, as well as a wide range of Windows, Windows Mobile, Android and now iPhone and iPad devices – a feature used particularly for bring-your-own-device workplaces
For more info: Junipersys.com
Lytx Fleet Tracking
The pitch: Optimize fleet productivity and respond quickly to meet customer needs with Lytx Fleet Tracking Service, enhanced with video.
- Manage and track assets in the field with integrated video
- Get full visibility by reviewing full trip replays and access vehicle location to help route, dispatch and improve customer response time
- Locate, track and manage your vehicles with the context of video to confirm service delivery, understand unauthorized use of vehicles and equipment, evaluate fuel economy and keep on top of vehicle maintenance
For more info: Lytx.com
RouteSavvy GPS Fleet Tracker
The pitch: RouteSavvy GPS Fleet Tracker is innovative, affordable GPS tracking by using a smartphone.
- Compare planned routes vs actual and you can turn GPS tracking on or off for user privacy
- GPS optimizations for reduced battery consumption and ability to filter GPS activity by type: driving, walking, biking
- Costs around $4 per driver/month and has Android and iOS native apps for GPS tracking
For more info: Routesavvy.com
WorkWave Route Manager
The pitch: WorkWave Route Manager’s new user interface that combines the power of route planning and GPS tracking all into one screen.
- Gain real-time insight on-demand with Navigo: Navigo is WorkWave Route Manager’s new menu tool that holds all information in one place, on one screen, and allows users to replan as they see fit
- Users can extract the map and drag to a second screen to make better use of the interface while working across multiple screens
- Users can also create a personal view to manage daily deliveries – including the ability to show, hide and reduce orders or routes from view, as well as color-code specific regions
For more info: Workwave.com
Professional snow and ice managers can use any downtime to engage in ongoing professional development, and workforce training is an effective means of strengthening and improving an operation. Zack Kelley, director of operations at Sauers Snow & Ice Management, a snow-only firm based in Philadelphia, suggests organizing training into three specific buckets – operations, including day-to-day tasks; risk management, which encompasses not only legal issues, but first-aid training; and culture building, which includes team building and improvement, as well as leadership.
“During any sort of downtime, polishing up on each of these three areas is a good use of a contractor’s time,” Kelley says.
This is Sauers’ biggest training bucket and includes a number of different subcategories, Kelley explains. “And the biggest thing we’re focusing on is client communication,” he says. “And that goes for the guys shoveling the sidewalks all the way to the guys managing clients’ sites.”
For example, if a client approaches a Sauers’ employee with a question, to request additional service or has an issue that needs to be addressed, then they need to be educated on not only the appropriate response, but what the next step in the process is, Kelley says.
Every employee must have a working and thorough knowledge of not only how to communicate with clients about snow and ice management questions, but then how to communicate theses concerns and requests internally with Sauers’ management team.
Kelley adds communication can be a very deep training topic. For example, how many managers know how to write a well-thought-out email, he asks.
“You want to be professional and you want to be concise,” Kelley says. “Your team must communicate the right details. And professionalism is a big point we’re trying to drive home this year. Phone calls and texts … our snow managers run into all of those scenarios throughout a snowstorm, whereas some clients prefer an email, some prefer text, and others want a phone call. So, we try to train for all of those (scenarios).”
In addition, Sauers trains its employees on the ANSI Industry Standards for Snow and Ice Management, available through their affiliation with the Accredited Snow Contractors Association.
“We’ll literally go through the Industry Standards with our people line by line,” he says. “The way we do training with our snow managers is weekly, so we’ll cover a few ANSI standards every week as a refresher, and we’ll incorporate photos and videos as examples to reinforce the ANSI standards.”
And if there’s additional downtime, Kelley says Sauers ensures its snow managers complete ASCA-C training. “We won’t typically do this in the fall because it’s a crazy time for us getting ready for winter,” he says. “But when it doesn’t snow, we typically have our guys engaged in the ASCA-C training during that time. We feel it’s very beneficial. And frankly, it’s already premade so we don’t have to remake it if it’s already out there.”
As the industry gets more litigious, snow contractors must seek out ways to protect themselves. Sauers addresses this issue at both a high level and at the operational level so even the guys on the frontlines shoveling know how to mitigate slip-and-fall conditions, Kelley says
“We talk about the importance of documentation and making sure they have the correct weather conditions down and they’re prepared for anything,” he says.
“We must limit risk, and we feel this starts with the guys in the field. And over the last couple of years we’ve caught more things this way because our ground crews have any eye out for these details.”
Risk mitigation also includes first-aid training, Kelley says, and they stress the importance of being well prepared.
“We teach CPR and basic first-aid skills,” he adds.
The team at Sauers Snow & Ice has focused on building a productive corporate culture over the last two or three years.
“It’s made a huge difference in how we work and how people view us,” Kelley says.
“And it’s certainly something that can be worked on and implemented during season downtimes.”
Part of building a strong culture involves gaining an understanding of what they can do better as a team and as individuals. To achieve this, Sauers reviews every single employee and service provider.
“We want them to know the chain of command and who their managers are because if they have an issue it can be addressed immediately,” Kelley says. In addition to individual assessments, the Sauers team seeks to gain a clear understanding of how their clients view their performance.
“Since last year was a down year for us for snow, we beefed up our surveying process to gain better client feedback,” Kelley says.
“So, we survey all of our clients and all of our service providers and all of our employees after every single snow event … regardless if it’s just a salting event or a 6-8 inch storm.
Everyone receives a survey on their phone the next day that asks them to grade their manager, their response time, etc.”
The survey has proven an effective way to highlight service issues.
“For example, all of our subs at the end of the year are graded on a scale from 0 to 100 on how they did,” Kelley says. “That grade is based on their communication, the documentation and app usage, their operational skills, were they on time and followed through on the scope of work … this all goes to computing a grade at the end of the year.”
With clients, the Sauers’ team recognizes property managers don’t have the time to fill out extensive survey questionnaires. So, instead, they field a single question to clients: Rate us on a scale of 1-10.
“If they respond with a seven or below, it automatically triggers a follow-up question that asks: We realize we could have done a better job with the storm, what areas specifically did you have an issue? These responses go to me and to the regional manager for that property and our goal is to address these issues within 24 hours,” he says.
The author is editor of Snow Magazine.