The challenges faced by fleet managers are multifaceted.
They play a crucial role in ensuring the seamless operation of work truck fleets while upholding safety standards and maximizing efficiency.
Work Truck had the privilege to speak with Garland Spivey, the Fleet and Safety Manager at J&M Contracting, a company based in Huntsville, Texas.
Spivey sheds light on the company's operations, challenges, and strategies for success in the work truck industry.
Navigating the Fleet Landscape
Founded in 1985, J&M Contracting specializes in diverse tasks, including drainage box extensions, safety end treatments, and curbs and gutters.
As a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise, J&M Contracting has established itself as a reliable partner in highway infrastructure projects.
With a fleet of 23 vehicles, including 33 Backhoes and 5 Utility Trailers equipped with GPS devices, J&M Contracting's operations span a range of tasks.
The entire fleet consists of Ford Super Duty trucks, a choice aligned with the company's high-demand, high-mileage requirements.
“We need the Super Duty style trucks for our operation, as they are on the road M-F, sometimes traveling up to 200 miles (one way). Since we have these vehicles on the road, traveling so many miles per day, safety is very important for our drivers,” said Spivey.
Overcoming Challenges Through Innovation
Spivey identifies three significant challenges: theft and unauthorized use of vehicles, driver safety, and workforce management.
To combat these hurdles, the company turned to technology. Verizon Connect's asset tracking software emerged as a game-changer, enabling J&M Contracting to monitor vehicle locations in real time.
Alerts on driver behavior are sent directly to Spivey's phone, allowing timely interventions for speeding or unsafe driving practices.
Geofencing alerts further enhance security, notifying about after-hours equipment usage and potential thefts.
“We can monitor driver behavior using alerts that go straight to my phone. I get alerts when drivers are speeding, allowing me to notify the drivers so they can correct their actions. I also benefit from geofencing alerts, which can notify me when equipment is being used after hours so I can contact the foreman to check if they are working after hours or if I need to contact law enforcement about a potentially stolen asset,” added Spivey.
Improvements for Savings, Safety & Security
J&M Contracting has made changes to three operations to help improve savings, safety, and security.
No. 1 — Fleet Training Safety.
One of J&M Contracting's ongoing projects focuses on reinforcing fleet safety training.
By instilling a sense of awareness and improving driving habits, the company ensures that safety remains at the forefront of its operations.
No. 2 — Asset Tracking Solutions.
“In January 2019, when a backhoe went missing in Conroe, Texas, I realized we needed a way to track the location and use of our equipment in the field. Dealing with law enforcement and complex insurance claims convinced me the company needed an asset monitoring solution to deter and prevent theft and loss,” Spivey explained.
Collaborating with Verizon Connect, J&M Contracting adopted asset tracking software. The implementation proved invaluable in deterring theft and expediting asset recovery.
Spivey's recommendation to fellow fleet managers is to adopt asset-tracking technology to ensure real-time awareness of asset locations, preventing losses and disruptions.
A Journey into Fleet Management
Spivey's journey into fleet management was by taking the initiative and rising the ranks.
“I was placed into the fleet management position by my boss. I instituted our Fleet Safety Program, started annual and semiannual fleet safety awareness training, and (with the help of Verizon Connect Fleet Management Technology), I can monitor each driver's driving behavior and habits,” Spivey said.
Spivey's advice for fellow fleet managers resonates in times of adversity: invest in technology.
“The time and money we have saved from implementing Verizon Connect Reveal has been a huge benefit when an asset has been stolen. It makes it easy to locate the stolen asset, notify the local sheriff’s department with coordinates, and retrieve our assets. This saves us the time we would have to file a claim to our insurance and keeps that asset from having to spend time off the job site that we can’t get back,” Spivey added.
By embracing technology, prioritizing safety, and staying adaptable, companies can overcome challenges and thrive in their endeavors.
J&M Contracting's commitment to safety, efficiency, and innovation serves as an inspiration, highlighting the transformative potential of strategic fleet management in the modern era.