Tracking the Trucks

Routing and tracking software streamlined this PRO’s service schedule
Tracking the Trucks
Tim Godbee, office manager of Portable Services, working on paperwork for a job that includes latitude and longitude coordinates and a map of the location.

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When Jan Bentley was hired in 2007 by Fred Stitt, the owner of Portable Services Inc., in Augusta, Georgia, one of her jobs was to bring the portable sanitation company into the 21st century. “Nothing was automated,” she says. Besides setting up a website and QuickBooks for accounting, she looked into software that could help manage the company’s fleet of service vehicles.

Today Jan is the owner of the business along with her husband, Jeff, having bought out Stitt when he retired in 2012. By that time she had purchased routing software and in 2015 supplemented it with a tracking program.

RouteOptix helps them plan daily routes. But it is just to help, Jan stresses. It has to be used in conjunction with drivers’ knowledge of their routes. For example, a driver will know areas they can’t service early in the morning because it would be disruptive. On the other hand, a construction site might require early morning service to avoid maneuvering around workers and moving equipment. The company’s database is incorporated into the RouteOptix program, which is also used to bill customers.

Fleetmatics is a GPS-based tracking system the company uses to keep tabs on seven vacuum trucks and two pickup and delivery vehicles. The program monitors vehicle location, fuel consumption and driver behavior as far as speeding and hard driving, breaking and accelerating.

“I’m not as concerned about all that as I am that it also monitors when a truck stops and the PTO pump comes on and for how long it comes on,” Jeff says. “That way I can prove a driver was there, if need be.”

The program also comes with an app the Bentleys have on their phones. “If I get a call and somebody needs something – if they’ve got a tipover or something – I can go to that app and find out what truck is the closest to that location at that time and theoretically I could have somebody there in minutes,” Jeff says.                 

The Bentleys believe these software programs help keep the business running smoothly and efficiently. But while these tools provide a wealth of information, they emphasize they do not use them to micromanage their employees. “They’re all grown men,” Jeff says. “I give them a lot of leeway how they run their routes.” 

Read more about how Jan and Jeff Bentley grew their business in the full profile in the December issue of PRO magazine. 



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