C&C Group: Keeping an eye on fleet management
Published on August 17, 2015
The challenge: Keeping an eye on business
As a family-owned business, C&C Group — a construction services company with offices in Kansas and Missouri — realized that the company had little visibility on what was going on with its vehicle fleet.
C&C Group allows employees to take vehicles home at night, but after the owner’s daughter was in a car accident (albeit unrelated to the business) and was saved by the fact that she was wearing a seat belt, they knew that they needed to protect their employees — who are more like extended family since many of them have been around for over 18 years.
Expanding to 75 pickups and vans over the past 40 years, they had heard vehicle telematics could help with this type of information, and even gain visibility on driver seat belt use. Chad Cillessen, Chief Information Officer, explains that safety is top priority at the company, so taking advantage of telematics to improve safety was a good fit. They’ve now used Geotab telematics for two years across the fleet.
Addressing safety concerns and claims
Seat belt use is now monitored, Cillessen says. It was one of the first steps C&C Group took in taking advantage of telematics. Other safety initiatives like monitoring speeding were also crossed off the “to do” list.
But what the company really took advantage of was being able to dispel accident complaints from other drivers on the road. “We get phone calls every once in a while about a driver cutting them off and it always became a ‘that’s what he said, she said’ scenario, but now we can ask them where they were and check and see if that vehicle was actually there or not. So it ends that conversation pretty quickly,” he says.
Cillessen adds that the company was also able to protect themselves from false claims of vehicle damage, in which other drivers are typically trying to get a free door ding repair from the company.
Cillessen also says that the company is more often addressing these types of claims from other drivers than actual safety hazards brought on by their own employees.
More than just numbers
Cillessen says he knew there were other aspects to telematics, but didn’t understand the full spectrum of benefits until he started using it. While safety takes the top spot for why he loves using telematics, fuel consumption tracking, anti-idling and now maintenance tracking are all being put to the test at C&C Group.
“We had no way to tell if our previous fuel consumption reports were accurate — it was just numbers on a piece of paper,” Cillessen says. “Now we can go in and match what the guys are putting in compared to what the system is telling us.” Prior to using telematics, like many small- and medium-sized businesses, the drivers would enter their odometer information when they refueled. This information was compiled into a report at the end of each month. But now the company can check the current status of the fleet’s fuel consumption virtually any day of the month.
Before using telematics, with fuel costs continuing to increase, the company wasn’t certain if it was just the cost of fuel or a change in driver behavior, but telematics has given them a better idea of the trend since they can now monitor both driver behavior and average MPG. “In the energy savings business, we stress to our clients that you don’t know unless you measure, so we had to practice what we preach,” Cillessen says. Cillessen says that in keeping the family mindset, C&C Group shared this information shortly after to all the drivers. They revealed how the change in idling habits was saving the company money, and how management appreciated their willingness to react to emails with such significant action. “And that was another hot month too,” he says, stating that idling dropped even more just in sharing the information with the drivers.
The numbers continue
Cillessen explains that C&C Group picked Geotab for all the “bells and whistles” that come with the product and service. And for C&C Group, the company is not letting any of those features go to waste.
The company is also going to use Geotab technology for maintenance management and to help get vehicles in the shop at the right time for oil changes and other preventive care. Using mileage tracking, as a vehicle gets close to its oil change interval, the company’s dispatchers now send email reminders to drivers, whereas before drivers were essentially responsible to remember on their own. “We did a lot of guessing here and there before but now we’re a lot more accurate in sending out reminders,” Cillessen says.
The company is also using telematics to track carbon emissions. Cillessen says that based on numbers year to date, the company expects to save 23,415 lbs. of carbon dioxide emissions.
With a lot of data being used, Cillessen cautions that it’s easy to fall into the “data overload” trap. But with Geotab as a partner, he says C&C Group has been able to work through those problems and to get the system set up exactly as the company wants to use it.
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From the fleet manager
“It does take a little bit to set up, but it ’s nothing the Geotab team wouldn’t help or walk us through if we ever had questions, they’ve been tremendous.” - Chad Cillessen, Chief Information Officer
Types of vehicles:
Pickups and vans