Local News

Businesses use GPS devices to cut costs

Posted October 29, 2008 5:32 p.m. EDT
Updated October 29, 2008 6:57 p.m. EDT

— 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.