Roll-Off Express, based in Finksburg, Maryland provides roll-off containers and rubbish removal services to clean up construction sites across North America. Many similar companies accumulate jobs that come in during the day and hand out tickets the next day to drivers. But for several years Roll-Off Express has used a system to dispatch calls to drivers as they come in over the radio. The advantage to customers is that they can often cleanup the job site and finish their work sooner.
This system was a terrific challenge for dispatchers who had to try and keep track — in their heads or on a scratch pad — of which truck was at which job and when it would be free. Most of the time they had no idea where everyone was and simply worked in a reactive mode, rushing around to find jobs for drivers as they pulled into the transfer station. Too much time was spent on non-revenue generating activities, either waiting or driving unnecessary distances.
To overcome these problems, Roll-Off Express installed Integrated Systems Research (ISR) FleetTrack Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) systems on its 20 trucks (valued at approximately $2-million). These systems — designed for the AT&T Cellular Digital Packet Data (CDPD) network that covers most metropolitan areas — are manufactured by Integrated Systems Research Corporation of Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.
“The performance of the dispatcher is as important to our business as a conductor is to an orchestra,” says Jack Haden, vice-president of Roll-Off Express. “ISR FleetTrack has dramatically improved our efficiency by giving the dispatcher a clear picture of where everyone is.”
All truck locations appear on the screen. The dispatch simply types in the address of a job to see exactly where it is in relation to the trucks. He can determine when a truck will be finished a job by using a feature of the software that tells him how long they have been at their location. An alarm can be set up to notify when a truck is within two miles of the transfer station so that the driver can check to be sure that there’s another job ready. The dispatcher can also send the driver a set of coordinates over the digital messaging system.
Says Haden, “I was a little concerned that our drivers might think we were picking on them but they realized from the start that this was designed as a management tool. By providing on average an additional haul per day per truck, I estimate that the added efficiency provided by the AVL system accounts for $1-million of the firm’s current $8-million in revenues. It has made a big difference in our profitability.”
Murray Singerman is vice-president of marketing with Integrated Systems Research, based in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.