Integration: A Smart Strategy for Towers

By Dan Smith & Matt Gunzenhaeuser

Tow operators need greater levels of visibility and control over their business to increase efficiency and profitability. And they need it to be delivered via a simple and fast solution designed especially for their tow operation. Today, this means realtime visibility into what your drivers are doing – and the ability to access the information whether you’re in the office, or in the field.

Controlling Costs: Fuel, Maintenance, Repair and Insurance
Fuel costs are among your biggest line items. What if you could save up to 15 percent on fuel every month? By integrating your towing management system with an in-vehicle telematics solution, you can greatly increase visibility into what your drivers are doing – and give them the tools to do their job more efficiently.

If you know where your drivers are, and what they are doing, you are better able to guard against unauthorized mileage and excessive idling. And if you’re able to integrate GPS and traffic avoidance solutions, you’ll cut down on these costs even more. Over the course of a year, fuel savings can really add up considering towers are spending on average $2,500 per vehicle each month.

Technology can also help reduce maintenance costs – and liability. The right solution can in effect, put you in the passenger seat of every one of your trucks, allowing you to see if drivers are speeding, driving erratically or engaging in other unsafe habits. With real-time visibility into drivers’ habits, you can train them in better habits, resulting in increased safety and decreased maintenance costs.

Tracking Mileage
From providing an accurate billing record for auto clubs to understanding where your drivers have been, tow operators can also benefit from the accurate mileage counts delivered by an integrated tow management and telematics approach. With the ability to track exact mileage, you have an accurate record for billing and can track whether drivers have put unauthorized miles on a vehicle. You can even define boundaries for a vehicle and get instant alerts if drivers go outside those areas. All of these capabilities result in cost savings and smoother operations.

Smarter Dispatching
The right technology can help you choose the closest truck for a job in terms of time to a job, instead of distance. The ability to dispatch the driver that can reach the customer the quickest depends on a number of factors. The best solutions use the best and freshest maps, historical traffic patterns at any time of day, and real-time data on live events such as accidents, weather delays, lane closures and trafficslowing construction.

Making it All Work
So what does an integrated solution look like? For our joint customers, Towbook uses TomTom WEBFLEET to make dispatching communication easier, safer and more efficient. View all of your jobs and trucks on a map and make the best decisions. Calls can be directly dispatched to the TomTom PRO device in the truck,
which provides turn-by-turn navigation to both the call location and destination. Drivers update job status with TomTom, reducing time communicating with dispatch.

As technology continues to evolve, the cost of ownership versus the return on investment for combined dispatch and in-vehicle navigation and fleet management solutions is impossible to ignore. The ability to see your whole fleet from the dashboard in your office or your mobile device when you’re on-the-go, understand exactly what your drivers are doing and where they are, and assign jobs based on a mix of factors can make a huge difference in your business. We have customers who are realizing 20+ percent savings and similar increases in efficiency today – the possibilities can only grow from here.

Matt Gunzenhaeuser is Sales Director, TomTom Telematics, Dan Smith is Founder and CEO , TowBook.
The companies have integrated their solutions to provide tow owners with a comprehensive technology solution.

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Tow Professional is a comprehensive publication for the Towing and Recovery market. It is mailed to a national audience of more than 22,000 decision-makers, including Owners, Presidents, CEOs, and Principals.