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“I reviewed just about every telematics system out there. We were going to save money with Quartix and were able to confirm its system was exactly the right fit.”
One of the largest housing maintenance and construction companies in the Northwest, M&Y has been shaping communities for over 40 years. Named ‘SME of the Year 2022’ at the National Constructing Excellence Awards, M&Y supports over 13,000 homes as a division of the Regenda Group Housing Association. It supplies electricians, decorators, plumbers, brick layers, and ground workers to service those homes, and has its own construction team working on new builds.
Justin Toole, Fleet Manager at M&Y, started his career fitting vehicles and progressed to managing workshops, and then overseeing a fleet. He aims to keep the service and maintenance records of M&Y’s 190-vehicle fleet at the standards appropriate for larger vehicles, although the largest that M&Y operates is 3.5 tonnes.
Reviewing existing suppliers and processes
When Justin joined M&Y in 2018, he reviewed how the fleet was managed, and found several ways to create efficiencies and economise. “Our insurance used to run through a broker with lengthy processes, but working directly with our insurance company is much more efficient,” he says. “I also split our fuel card premiums across two cards with a reduced rate on the fuel. It’s allowed us to save thousands of pounds a year.”
Evaluating M&Y’s use of telematics made it clear that the business wasn’t getting all it needed from its previous supplier, so Justin went out to market. “I reviewed just about every telematics system out there. I had a good understanding of all the key players and what we were looking for, and I narrowed it down by price and usability.”
Justin had several key objectives that a telematics system needed to support:
- Advanced fleet reporting to assist board-level monthly operations meetings
- Integration with FleetCheck fuel card and fleet management software
- Geofences to monitor fleet journeys via the Mersey tunnel and congestion zones
- A user-friendly interface that would save the business time
- Fleet activity logs to prove the amount of time vehicles had been at client sites, and when
- Validating staff hours to ensure duty of care and effective staff management
A telematics partner that supported the goal
Quartix soon became the obvious choice for M&Y. “We were going to save money with Quartix and were able to confirm its system was exactly the right fit for us. Andy, the sales representative, gave us detailed demonstrations and was happy to walk through a proposal with our Heads of Service, explaining how Quartix would support the fleet transformation that we hoped for.”
M&Y also uses FleetCheck to manage its vehicle service data, driving license checks and fuel cards. For Justin, a huge benefit of Quartix was the FleetCheck integration, “Quartix could show me everything in one place; it worked with the systems we already used.”
When it came to choosing the tracking devices, Justin had a clear criterion for what was needed. “I was planning to bring in 128 new vans soon, so I didn’t want to hardwire the tracking devices. The OBD plug-in tracker was perfect for us. As the new vans came in, we could easily remove the kit and prepare the old vehicles to go back.”
A universal tool that helps all departments
The use of the Quartix system stretches across a wide range of roles at M&Y. Planners regularly log in to co-ordinate the volume of work and check drivers’ locations, using Quartix to aid their daily decisions. Supervisors rely on Quartix to certify that staff are completing their shifts at the correct times, and, if there is ever an issue, the system provides a fast and reliable audit of who attended each job and when.
Justin uses the Quartix insights to supply updates to the M&Y Heads of Service and Directors at their board-level monthly operations meetings, including some key reports. “I present the Quartix driver league table at our operations meeting every month. We’ve been able to improve our minimum standard driver score through educating the drivers and training them.”
“The Quartix system has so many uses across our organisation – the planners are using it, it helps the supervisors do their job, and we use it to inform regular board-level decisions.”
High-level insights to assess driver performance
On the first day of every month, Justin is emailed a selection of Quartix reports using the scheduled reports feature. “Quartix makes it easy to gather data. The beauty of the scheduled report function is that I only need to log in to search for extra information, everything else comes straight to me. I would rather spend time studying the data than producing it, so it’s an efficient way of working.”
Insights pulled from four key reports (the driver league table, the speed analysis report, the fleet utilisation report and the monthly mileage report) allow Justin to update his colleagues each month on the following:
- The five drivers with the highest mileage and whether their routes could be planned more efficiently or reallocated
- The driver with the best driving score who will receive that month’s cash incentive
- The driver with the worst driving score, any history that person has in the bottom of league table, and what action is being taken to improve this situation
“Highlighting inefficient vehicle use and excessive mileage is important because it costs the business money. When staff are driving, they A. aren’t working, and B. are using fuel. We want them to spend as little time on the road as possible, but to do so safely. A driver with ~3000 miles a month can only be 50% productive in their role, so we can address that and redistribute the jobs,” explains Justin.
Justin describes how he can tailor the reports to his business needs. “Even though I know the system well, there is still another 30-40% more I could be doing with it if I were to spend more time getting to know the reports. The integrations are helping us automate so much and saving us time, so we are using that time to learn. We get more than what we need out the system already – anything extra is a bonus.”
Rewarding safe driving behaviour
M&Y awards the driver at the top of the Quartix driver league table each month a cash prize in their wages. “It’s often the same drivers sitting in the top ten but there is real competition amongst staff to get to the top. When new recruits join, they sometimes go straight to the top because they might have previously learnt how to get the good driving scores”, explains Justin.
While celebrating the positives, Justin also values the full spectrum of information the league table provides. “I love how the system enables me to address those at the bottom of the table and find ways to help them. Not in a disciplinary way, just by pinpointing where the drivers are going wrong – whether that’s harsh braking or accelerating – and asking them to think about what’s causing that. If it’s speeding, quite often they just hadn’t realised the speed limit and it’s a helpful conversation. In general, we get through to the drivers before there’s any need to act and it’s a proactive way of managing behaviour.”
The use of dashboard cameras is often a sticking point for conversations with staff, but Justin explains these are for the drivers benefit. “I reassure our drivers that the cameras are there for their protection. They’re solid gold for us and have more than paid their worth already. We aren’t using them to listen in – I wouldn’t have that done to me so I wouldn’t do that to them.”
“I love how the system enables me to address those at the bottom of the table and find ways to help them. Not in a disciplinary way, just by pinpointing where the drivers are going wrong – whether that’s harsh braking or accelerating – and asking them to think about what’s causing that.”
Supporting drivers with proof of activity
If a driver is involved in an incident, their telematics data can be used to support their case. Justin recalls a time when the Quartix data saved one of his team. The driver had not long passed his driving test when he was involved in an accident that went to court. “I went along to court with him and took 3 months’ worth of his Quartix telematics data to prove that he was a good driver, and it was just a one-off incident. He was able to keep his licence, so it really helped.”
This drives home the idea that telematics is as much of a tool to support drivers as it is a tool to ensure drivers are supporting the business in return. “It’s a safety tool. If a driver’s had an accident, or we haven’t heard from them, they are thankful for the tracking that’s in place,” says Justin.
M&Y’s gardeners regularly visit thousands of homes in the region and sometimes a customer will claim they haven’t been visited. “Our telematics data can guarantee that we’ve been to a site, or if it shows that we haven’t, then we ask the staff member why. The proof is there either way,” explains Justin. Similarly, telematics aids drivers in other ways. “If someone calls up claiming our drivers have been speeding or have cut another driver up on the motorway, I can consult the system and know whether there may have been an issue. I take everything very seriously as a fleet manager – telematics can either prove your drivers weren’t at fault or conversely, highlight where you need to have conversations with them.”
Several teams at M&Y share the use of vehicles, such as the cleaning team, therefore driver ID fobs are being installed in these vans. Justin will see driver behaviour reports for each staff member, regardless of which vehicle they drive, and be able to reference who was in the driving seat at any time.
Insights that enable further savings
The M&Y fleet is not authorised for personal use, although employees park vehicles at their homes overnight. Geofencing alerts allow Justin to govern the personal use of the vehicles and ensure they stay parked after hours. But Justin uses this to create more efficiencies, “The reports can help us spot things such as vans parked at an employee’s home for a long period of time, if they are on long-term absence, we can put their van to use.”
By creating geofences for the local waste disposal sites on the Quartix system and reporting on when the vehicles enter these, Justin has been able to find discrepancies between the waste disposal charges M&Y incurred and the number of visits that were showing. He also matches waste disposal trips with the associated jobs to make sure all charges are accounted for.
Driving down fleet emissions
Justin has been keeping a close eye on his fleets’ CO2 emissions using the Quartix reports to support the Environmental & Social Governance Strategy, and with 11 electric vehicles on the fleet already, M&Y is procuring more. “We carry a lot of equipment in the vans and some operatives do 250 miles in a day. So, we’re starting small, but I’m hoping that by the time we get around to replacing the bigger vans, the technology and infrastructure will have progressed,” says Justin, who is lucky to have in-house electricians installing the vehicle chargers. “We charge the EVs when the workers are on-site. For us, that’s the most efficient and practical option”.
Justin has already recommended Quartix to other businesses that are looking for a telematics supplier. “One of our contacts in the social sector knew the process we’d been through and how I’d reviewed all the options, so he trusted my judgement. They are now happily using Quartix too. I can vouch for the great service level that Quartix demonstrates as well as the capabilities of its telematics system.”
Justin concludes, “I feel happy that the M&Y fleet can now run itself. Everything is in check. The changes we’ve been able to make with the help of telematics have transformed the way the fleet operates.”