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Businesses use GPS devices to cut costs

Posted October 29, 2008

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— To trim fuel costs, some Triangle companies are turning to Global Positioning Systems.

Colony Tire in Raleigh has used GPS tracking systems in its 12 trucks, which include delivery and service units, for about a year. Managers can keep track of vehicles through the Internet.

“Just the thought of ‘big brother’ looking at you helped the guys be more efficient,” General Manager Gray Ballard said.

Ballard said the company wanted to streamline its operations, reduce the time it took to respond to service calls and save on fuel costs and man-hours. Since the devices were installed, fuel costs have gone down 20 percent and productivity has increased 40 percent, he said.

Troy Worrell, owner of Durham-based Carolina Air Conditioning, said his company spends between $80,000 and $100,000 a year in fuel. In an effort to cut costs, GPS trackers were installed in nine company trucks on Wednesday. The devices will track where drivers go, their speed, route and stops.

Worrell said the devices could help employees as well.

“Anywhere we can save money, we can increase their bonuses as well,” Worrell said.

The actual tracking unit is a black box that is hidden in the dashboard. It transmits real-time information. The devices cost about $400 each, and a monthly software fee is between $40 and $60.

“Some employees don’t like it. Like I tell people, if they have something to hide, do you really want them to be their employee?’” said Todd Kretzschmar, of Vehicle Training Solutions, a company that installs GPS devices.

Vehicle Training Solutions opened a franchise in Raleigh about three months ago. Nationally, it began in 2002 in New York.

Over a three-year period, Vehicle Tracking Solutions' sales have increased 260 percent, according to company spokeswoman Margo Sweitzer. The company's gear tracks 11,900 vehicles in 32 states.


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  • Rolling Along Oct 30, 2008

    Company owns the trucks. They decide if they want GPS units. You decide if you want to work for them. They are a useful tool. Yes they can be misused but so can most other tools. No one is forcing you to work for a company that uses GPS.

  • ContinuityMan Oct 30, 2008

    Unfortunately, this tool in incompetent hands will be abused to persecute employees selectively. Seen it far too often when companies monitor employees' computer habits.

  • TechRescue Oct 30, 2008

    It's not just to catch employees misusing company vehicles. If Colony tire has 12 vehicles spread out all over Durham and gets a call, they can check to see which truck is the closest. It saves time and fuel.

  • sorry Oct 29, 2008

    I think its cool

  • Timbo Oct 29, 2008

    "I think an honest employer-employee relationship would benefit an employer and their employee much more than Big Brother putting his big arms around both. .."

    Ideally, yes. But in reality, people steal or are not completely honest when working. Just look at the folks that cruise golo while at work, it's the same thing.

    Besides, this is old news, I know a tow truck company owner that's been doing this for years.

  • Katupatree Oct 29, 2008

    ..."the [Big Brother] devices could help employees as well"?
    I think an honest employer-employee relationship would benefit an employer and their employee much more than Big Brother putting his big arms around both.
    ...and I know Mr. Kretzschmar, of Vehicle Training Solutions has product to sell, but one could just as well pose the question ...why would an employee want to work for a company that assumes he is a cheat?

  • bobdillin123789 Oct 29, 2008

    we have the gps devices in the trucks at where i work. i could care less. its the companies truck, the companies fuel, i dont care if they know where i am or how fast i am driving.

  • bushisaretard Oct 29, 2008

    Fuel costs should have dropped 20% in the past year WITHOUT the GPS units.