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September 12, 2016

Robert B. Somerville Co. Limited is a pipeline and utility contractor in the construction industry. It wanted to improve its maintenance, compliance and reporting functions, and worked with ARI to create solutions. Lew Davis, Manager, Fleet Safety and Compliance at R.B. Somerville, and Rodger Klarer, Account Executive, ARI, share how the collaboration worked.

CAF: What was the issue that Robert B. Somerville wanted to address regarding its fleet operations?

KLARER: Originally, Somerville was on our card program for fuel purposes and as they had more needs they reached out to us. We had initial meetings with Robert B. Somerville and talked about their fleet needs and from there it was evident we had products we could offer from the garage management system to our telematics solution.

DAVIS: There was an existing relationship with ARI and one of the first pieces we acquired from ARI was the garage management system. We started a pilot project in a small batch of vehicles to see what the system could do and how it could help us. We tested the system to ensure it could track work orders and give us reminders when services were due. It worked great and we added the whole fleet to the garage management system after the pilot project.

CAF: How do the garage management and the telematics systems work?

KLARER: Garage Management allows the technicians to put the information in the system right on the shop floor, cutting down on manual intervention and errors. The system provides comprehensive reporting to track when, where and what gets done to support cost control objectives. On the compliance side, you can generate reports for an audit on the spot, further reducing unnecessary paperwork.

DAVIS: After the garage management system was fully implemented we looked at telematics as another way to help improve compliance. Again, it began as a Pilot project in 30 of our over 500 vehicles across Canada. We saw instant results, especially in fuel savings and driver compliance. We also saw fewer tickets and violations. The pilot project having met or exceeded our expectations, we are installing them across the fleet.

CAF: How have these programs affected your fleet?

DAVIS: The biggest impacts we’ve seen are better compliance scores, safer driving, huge fuel cost savings with reduction in idling, and overall performance. It has just made us a better and safer company.

(From left) Lew Davis, Manager, Fleet Safety and Compliance, R.B. Somerville, and Rodger Klarer, Account Executive, ARI.

CAF: How did you put the program together? What was the process?

KLARER: Understanding what the customer’s needs are is critical and that takes having really good discussions. It’s critical that we are all on the same page and talking about the same thing. Only once that’s done to everyone’s satisfaction, do we look at our programs and tools and present them. Demonstrating the tool to the customer is a very effective way to have them fully understand how it works and more importantly, how it will work for their needs. From there, we recommend a pilot program to test out the program to ensure it is exactly what you want. That is the period where we can tweak the program to suit the customer. Feedback and monitoring during the Pilot project gives the customer the data they need to have the confidence in rolling out the program across the fleet.

CAF: What advice would you give other fleet managers who have similar objectives?

DAVIS: I would recommend that they use a fleet solution company like ARI and use the benefits of having that help and the support behind you to make it easier. It definitely starts with getting the support from senior management. With the amount of detailed data a partner like ARI can provide showing ROI and projected savings based on other customer experience, that becomes easier to do. It is definitely about getting support from your own people.

KLARER: When I was a corporate Fleet Manager, I had to sell internally these sorts of programs, they are typically looked at as an expense, but the data available today shows the hard cost payback as well soft costs including potential liability reduction, employee well being and Corporate Social Responsibility.

DAVIS: That’s important to R.B Somerville, it’s not just about saving the truck from doing too much engine damage or wasting fuel, its reducing our carbon footprint, benefiting our employees and the communities we operate in.

CAF: What are some challenges you face that you want to address.

DAVIS: Driver training can be an issue, working in different provinces away from our head offices. Its currently done online or by sending trainers to different locations. ARI’s driver training solution might be something we’d look at. ARI also offers a full fleet management solution from the purchase and licensing of the vehicle through to resale that could be helpful in the future. The next imminent phase is to look at employing telematics on our motorized mobile heavy equipment that needs to be tracked and serviced.

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