In early 2017, MPHG was using a system that owner John McGregor describes as ‘inflexible’. ‘You couldn’t customize things like certificates, and you couldn’t edit reports,’ he recalls. ‘Sometimes you’d make a typo in a report and you couldn’t just clean it up before you sent it to the client. It was cheap, but you get what you pay for.’
An electrician friend tipped John off about Commusoft, saying it was so much more agile than John’s current system that he should give it a try. John signed on in May 2017, and quickly boosted his business’s efficiency and customer relations with Commusoft’s Service reminders, Custom forms and other features.
A year later, John was one of the first to try out Commusoft’s Real-Time Vehicle Tracking system, a comprehensive solution that links technician tracking data with the business’s calendar, scheduling tools and job information.
At first, John had a trial account to help Commusoft perfect the feature. When asked why he agreed to do the trial knowing he wouldn’t receive any of the GPS data, he replies, ‘I like Commusoft—they’re quite a dynamic bunch, and I like forward-thinking people.’
The GPS device is a simple plug-and-play module, meaning it was easy to install and set up: John spent half an hour on the phone with a Commusoft rep and was ready to go. Once the trial was over and the Real-Time Vehicle Tracking system was released, John had a tracker installed in his second van and started using it for real, benefiting from the safe driving data, driver leaderboard, and calendar overlay.
Of course, one can buy stand-alone trackers that compile driving data. ‘My brother-in-law, who’s also a plumber, has trackers on his vehicles but they don’t link into the field service management software,’ says John. Being able to overlay the Commusoft tracker with the calendar view is very effective, because then we can see exactly what’s happening, where and when.’ For example, John can see the entire timeline of a project, from when he’s accepting and creating a job through the actual journey to the job location.
Commusoft’s Real-time vehicle tracking system integrates a leaderboard that shows how safely technicians are driving—the lower the number, the better the score. John once saw the driving indicators ‘go into the red’, and after talking with his plumber, they’ve both been working to improve their scores. ‘It makes you more conscious,’ he explains. ‘It makes you think, “Am I doing the speed limit? Am I cornering too quick? Am I braking too hard?” We’re now in the low 30s in our other vehicle, which is good, and got a 12 last week on mine.’
When asked what he likes best about the leaderboard, John laughs, ‘That I’m at the top of it.’ He adds, ‘We’ll probably end up emailing the whole leaderboard to the operatives on a weekly basis. It could breed a good competitive spirit within the company.’
Only 30 days in, MPHG is already seeing a significant reduction in driving habits that might contribute to maintenance issues. John says, ‘The knock-on of that will be that we will greatly reduce our maintenance costs on the vehicle due to wear and tear.’ It’s not only maintenance costs that will be reduced—the risk of canceled jobs due to broken-down service vans will also decrease.
John also expects to save on insurance. ‘I’ve already spoken to our insurance broker and told them that we have this in place, and asked if we can get a discount on our vehicle insurance because we have third-party evidence of our driving habits,’ he says. ‘If we can then go to our insurers after a year of data and say, “Here’s our vehicle, there’s the driver, there’s the score”—and then reduce the premiums accordingly—that would significantly reduce our insurance costs.’
Tracking the Future
John is planning to add another two or three technicians in the next couple of years. The Real-Time Vehicle Tracking system will help him keep tabs on his growing workforce, and John also credits Commusoft with helping him provide the professional customer service that’s making this growth possible.
‘Commusoft is scalable, so we can add technicians on at any time and we’re up and running fairly quickly,’ John says. ‘It’s a nice system and it will work nicely with how we’re growing.’