Project casebook: Fleet management

Quadron’s in-vehicle tracking system allows it to monitor its 380-strong fleet much more accurately. Reduced costs, more efficient job scheduling and increased productivity are the result

Project casebook: Fleet management

Quadron keeping track of profits through Fleet Link

Quadron’s in-vehicle tracking system allows it to monitor its 380-strong fleet much more accurately. Reduced costs, more efficient job scheduling and increased productivity are the result

Any organisation employing some 1,000 staff at 17 bases around the country is always going to have a few problems when it comes to maintaining efficiency and keeping in contact with a dispersed workforce. Quadron, a company specialising in property and grounds maintenance with a particular penchant for retail and conservation work, is no different.

With many remote workers both out in the field and on-site, it was felt the company needed to completely overhaul the way it managed its remote workers so it was able to both track them in real-time and make contact as and when required.

Of course, this was about much more than the firm just wanting to keep an eye on its staff in the ‘Big Brother’ sense. Quadron was also seeking to drive profits and improve upon its £40m turnover from the work it carries out within social housing, the environment, property services and capital projects. To do so, it needed to change several things around automation.

Focus on the job

Primarily, the tracking aspect aside, this meant trying to reduce the amount of downtime engineers spent on paperwork and admin as they transferred information back and forth from hard to soft copy. By eliminating the paper trail and automating delivery of services for things like time-sheets and mileage, the firm knew it could keep its engineers focused on the job in hand and help them concentrate on core competencies.

To cater for all this, Quadron decided it needed an in-vehicle end-to-end solution to track its fleet of 380 vehicles, opting for Orange Fleet Link, a telemetry-based solution from Orange Business Services. In doing so, the firm is now able to collect and monitor data on every aspect of its fleet movements.

So, when a van slows down, makes a turn or goes to fill-up, the team back in the office are with them every step of the way.

Fleet Link uses GPS navigation, street level mapping and a handsfree unit within vehicles for its up-to-the-minute communications while also reducing costs by switching much of the two-way activity to SMS instead of voice.

As a result of being smarter in the deployment of its assets and more efficient in its supply chain, Quadron has been able to schedule more jobs in a day and keep a much closer eye on things like mileage. Fleet Link has also meant that the company is able to monitor repairs as and when they happen and keep track of all aspects of downtime.

As Andy Meaden, ICT services director at Quadron Services explains, the implementation of Fleet Link enabled the company to re-evaluate every aspect of its fleet while at the same time increasing productivity and positively affecting its customer experience.

‘We had initially rolled out the solution to 21 of our vehicles but we were so impressed that just two years later 80% of our vehicles now use the technology,’ says Meaden.

Innovative network remains the key to 24/7 uptime and individual asset management for Scania

With more than 500,000 vehicles transporting goods around the world, Scania has quite a job on its hands when it comes to fleet and network management. And as you would expect, wireless plays a key role in linking vehicles to a global network in which it must keep an eye on location, fuel efficiency, mileage and other such statistics.

With vehicles sold and supported in over 100 countries around the world and some 47,000 produced last year by 32,000 employees, Scania’s global IT network covers everything from IP-enabled vehicles on the road to state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities. Yet such is the remarkable level of detail required, its system must be able to monitor things like individual vehicle tyre pressures from afar.

Knock-on effect

When you need that kind of information available at the drop of a hat, any network jitters or failure within the business has a knock-on effect across the whole fleet. For Scania, the manufacturing side of the business could quickly become compromised and grind to a halt.

As such, network management was key and so the company decided it needed something that would support its complex system of monitoring services 24/7 both wirelessly in the vehicle and back in the office, giving it that all important 100% uptime.

With production units in seven countries around the world and a constantly moving fleet, any network failure is considered a disaster in which the company could quite feasibly lose a hundred thousand dollars in one hit.

To guard against this, Scania went for a grid platform from Infoblox, using 31 of its units all ranging in size from the smaller Infoblox-550 appliances designed for branch offices and smaller enterprises, to its larger capacity 1550.

For seamless connectivity with the fleet, manufacturing and back office, Infoblox spokesperson Thomas Hedstrommer says the solution uses a wireless technique based on 3G mobile networks.

Smooth management

‘The mobile carrier has a bridge towards Scania’s network and the Infoblox solution is providing both IPAM, DHCP and DNS for the truck fleet, which is set to grow to approximately 700,000 vehicles equipped with this technique,’ he says.

While helping it in the smooth management of its mobile assets, the Infoblox system also makes it easy to delegate management to local teams when appropriate and distribute the workload without losing central control.

This ability to delegate, together with a greater ease of use via a simple graphical user interface, has allowed Scania to go about the task of extending its network reach without having to worry about the small print.

Scania’s head of research and development Lars Gustaffson says the system has put the company on the front foot and proved to be the perfect choice for the business.

‘It fitted like a glove and since deploying Infoblox products, we have enjoyed 100% uptime for three years now,’ he says.

Written by Wireless magazine
Wireless magazine


  1. Guest
    Guest12th Oct 2011

    Aritlces like these put the consumer in the driver seatvery important

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