How it works
Each truck that’s equipped with the EVIR system has a hand-held scanner that the driver holds over RFID tags placed at up to 12 critical inspection zones. Zonar’s telematics device, typically installed under the dashboard near the driver’s pedals, automatically transmits the inspection results when the driver returns the scanner to a charging cradle mounted on the dashboard or floorboard.
When the driver finds a defect that requires maintenance, and inputs that information into the scanner, a prioritized work order automatically opens in FleetFocus. Once the job is completed, FleetFocus automatically updates Zonar’s web-based Ground Traffic Control software, which clears the defect and indicates the vehicle is in full compliance for operation. The same process occurs for routine maintenance and unscheduled repairs.
The 22 dispatchers who handle non-emergency city services have access to Ground Traffic Control, so they know which vehicles are ready to return to service. Meanwhile, FleetFocus tracks all functions related to the vehicles’ maintenance, processing repair and preventive maintenance work orders, capturing operating expenses, and tracking usage.
The telematics device also transmits real-time GPS information, operating metrics, and fault codes provided through the engine control unit (ECU) to FleetFocus while the truck’s on the road.
Drivers were worried that a monitoring system would be used punitively. True, until now we had no way to hold them accountable for inspections or how and where they went. But instead of drilling down into what everybody’s doing, we use the technology to operate very expensive equipment as efficiently and safely as possible. Telematics shows drivers specific impacts of various behaviors.
It’s also defends them. If we get a complaint, we can show exactly where and when trucks are and how fast they’re going. Dispatchers can see exactly where trucks are at any given time and reroute a truck when a pickup is missed.
My mechanics find out where street sweepers have been before responding to residents who claim their street was overlooked. Dispatchers locate and redirect parking enforcement officers more easily. In some cases, telematics can give an added degree of safety when dealing with potentially hostile citizens.
- Keith Leech (firstname.lastname@example.org) is feet manager for the City of Sacramento and coordinator of the Sacramento Clean Cities Coalition. He’s a member of the NAFA Fleet Management Association, American Public Works Association, and Public Equipment Managers Association.
Tracking fire department fuel usage
More efficient vehicles and shop operations aren’t the only benefits of integrating location and diagnostics technology with fleet-maintenance software.
Ordinarily, Sacramento, Calif., vehicles are refueled at stations that automatically track fuel usage and odometer readings. Because of their location or type of equipment they use, however, several of the city’s fire stations require their own fuel supply to be fully standby-ready.
Equipping these stations with fully automated fueling tanks would have been cost-prohibitive due to the relative low-volume dispensed. So employees manually logged fuel usage, odometer readings, and corresponding vehicle numbers, all of which had to then be physically typed into a database. The result: incomplete and difficult-to-reconcile records.
Fleet Management asked Zonar to develop a solution that takes advantage of data already being collected. Working with AssetWorks, which provides the city’s real-time fuel management system and developed the FleetFocus maintenance software the department’s been using, Zonar came up with a fuel tracking solution that’s being implemented.“We think that once this solution is fully implemented, it will eliminate most if not all of the data entry errors and make our fire department’s fuel consumption records much more accurate,” says Fleet Management Manager Keith Leech.