Atlanta Fire and Safety has been conducting commercial services around the Atlanta area for over 22 years. These services range from inspections and testing, to the installation of fire alarm systems, security systems, and card access systems. Anything involving the life and safety of a building. The company boasts over a century of work experience split between its guys.
We had the fortune of conducting an interview with Atlanta Fire and Safety executive’s Terry (President) and Brian (Director of Operations). Here is what they had to say…
Paint a picture for us of your company’s daily workings if you would.
Definitely, we have inspectors and technicians who are consistently on the move.
The mode of travel employed is by way of vehicles that have the Automile tracker on them. Our techs travel to and from appointments, whether that be pre-scheduled, or new appointments where we dispatch techs on the spot. Having such a mobile workforce has it’s benefits, but also presents challenges at times.
Some of the bigger challenges are determining where our guys are on a job and exactly where they are located. Since we have so many appointments during the day, our guys might finish a job early and be at a new location long before we were made aware. This creates challenges for dispatching since we might send out a guy who actually is farther away from the customer than another, wasting time and money.
We try to maintain a healthy, go at your pace environment. But it’s important for us to know that our guys are where they say they’re going to be. If one is at the store when we thought he was at an appointment, that makes it difficult for us.
These were struggles we were having before the introduction of Automile. Visibility was very low and we wanted to increase efficiency with managing our days.
What triggered the need for a GPS tracker?
We did have an employee a while back that caused some concern. We didn’t know if he was getting to job sites when he said he would, if at all. His time sheet would say 7:30 so why was the customer calling in at 8:30 wondering where he was? That drove us to want to address the issue to save on time and cash.
We wanted a tracker that would ensue honesty in our fleets. There isn’t a need for them to completely change their schedules, we have good guys. What was wanted was for our workforce to know that we did have a 360 degree view into the daily workings. This would help everyone to do what they said they were going to do.
The company also needed a way to streamline dispatching efforts. If we get a call from a customer then we need to know where our guys are to send the closest one. Or to find out how much longer a tech will be on a job so we can send the next closest if it’s going to take time.
What has your ROI been so far while using Automile?
There have been a number of ways we have seen an ROI. We have easily made more than our initial investment from Automile. Here are 4 examples to start with…
Minimize Fuel Cost: It really helps when we get a call from a customer to dispatch the closest tech. We know it’s the closest because we can see the physical location of the actual vehicle. Now we don’t have people on a wild goose chase through the city using fuel while sitting and idling or rushing to the next appointment.
We also receive notifications for when the car is idling. This benefits us by being able to address situations as they arise before they become an issue. This reduces fuel cost, puts more money in the company, in turn benefiting everybody.
Maximize Time Savings: Using the earlier scenario. Being able to dispatch appropriately means we aren’t paying for valuable time that isn’t spent working on jobs. We have total visibility to help our techs know how to maximize time by which streets to navigate and to quickly move from one job to the next.
Accurate Payroll Recording: We can now keep accurate time entries. This keeps everyone, including management, on their toes to pay attention to what’s going on. We can look into the trip history to view just how long a tech was there for accurate recordings. Sometimes the job might run a little longer, this software helps the tech to not get short-changed through human error.
Vehicle and Employee Safety: We get notifications every now and again of a vehicle speeding. Before bringing anything up, we are able to go into the account to retrieve all the details. Such as the time of occurrence and location. Was this a busy street? Was it during a busy time of day? We want our employees and assets safe, so we can now discuss the situation so everyone leaves with positive attribution. Rather than the alternative which creates unnecessary feelings. We can eliminate issues long before they occur.
What other technologies does Atlanta Fire and Safety employ?
We use various software options to increase productivity. Right now we have QuickBooks® and an online timesheet. We are integrating with TSheets which should be complete here in the next few weeks. The benefit this will add is for addressing simple human error slip ups. We want to be as precise as possible to ensure everyone is satisfied. So when guys forget to clock in or when a job is finished and they forget to clock into the next, we can track it so the correct resources are allocated. It’s rare our guys forget, they do a pretty good job at keeping track of things.
That’s great to hear, glad we could work. What best-practices would you like to share with the small-business community?
What we would say that is more important than anything else is simply caring. Taking pride in people and your trade. If someone calls, then return the call within the hour. If not an hour then at least that day. The same goes for emails, return them quickly. Whether you can help the customer that day or not, they know that you care about the work they need done. This builds loyalty.
The small business community has a responsibility to care. Plus, if you don’t, somebody else will. If I don’t answer my customers, someone else will. I try to impress that in my guys, to follow up respectively to inquiries.
Great advice. Thank you for taking the time to meet with us today. Best of luck in your endeavors.