The Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD) needed to shrink operating costs while still carrying out mandated projects. Networkfleet's wireless fleet management solution helped reach those goals—and has already paid for itself. Located in drought-stricken Riverside County, California, EMWD provides fresh and recycled water and wastewater services to a 555-square-mile area. Forced to establish mandatory water usage restrictions, EMWD needed to reduce operating and labor costs to make up for shrinking revenues from lower customer consumption.
According to Mark Iverson, EMWD Maintenance Director, one of the agency's initial goals was to make more efficient use of its 350-vehicle fleet. After evaluating 25 fleet management products, EMWD installed Networkfleet® on all 1996 or newer vehicles. In addition to the potential savings in operating costs, EMWD can now remotely monitor engine diagnostics, fault codes and emissions control system status. For example, EMWD staff receives an immediate alert when there is an engine problem, allowing them to proactively repair the vehicle before the problem worsens.
Return on investment
EMWD initially focused on drivers' habits such as speed and idle time that have a huge impact on fuel usage. For example, supervisors receive alerts from Networkfleet if drivers exceed a certain speed limit. This simple measure has improved miles per gallon while reducing the risk of speed-related accidents.
Since supervisors can view a GPS-based map of vehicle locations, they can dispatch the vehicle closest to an emergency or other work not scheduled in advance. With more efficient vehicle usage, EMWD has lowered the average number of miles driven per vehicle. In fact, within the first six months of operation, employees drove about 165,000 fewer miles, and fuel costs declined by about $79,000 as compared to the previous year's data for the same period.
Improved routing has also resulted in less time behind the wheel, giving EMWD employees more time to focus on work-related tasks. The payoff has been a significant reduction in the backlog of work. "We've already recouped our one-time equipment and startup costs in three months," Iverson says.
Controlling costs—and emissions
In addition to lower fuel costs and improved labor productivity, reducing the fleet's total miles driven and idle time has resulted in a measurable reduction in greenhouse gases. The 300+ vehicles that are equipped with Networkfleet have shown a significant reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. In addition to CO2, EMWD has reduced vehicle emissions for carbon monoxide, nitrous oxides, PM10 (particulate matter) and methane.
Networkfleet's diagnostic information, alerting and reporting capabilities have also been used to mitigate issues arising from warranties not being honored due to improper maintenance. Iverson explained, "Employees had a tendency to continue to drive vehicles even after the check engine light went on. Now, we are notified of all Diagnostic Trouble Codes that activate the check engine light and can make sure all of our vehicles are maintained properly. We are also notified of any manufacturer recalls for the entire fleet."
Improvements on driving habits—and insurance premiums
Savings on insurance is another benefit that adds up. "Before we purchased Networkfleet, our insurance premiums were scheduled to go up due to a rise in speed-related accidents. Now that we can monitor and help control driving habits, we expect our premiums to decrease," says Iverson.
"Many organizations have this misplaced idea that a GPS system is only useful in situations where employees are suspected of misusing vehicles," Iverson says. "Or they think that shaving a few miles off the total number of miles driven in one day is inconsequential. They don't realize how incremental savings add up to a significant amount of money."