Spotlight: Yates Company, An HVAC/Building Automation Firm, Streamlines Dispatching With Automile

HVAC Yates Company

Yates Company is a BAS (Building Automation System) and solutions provider offering top notch installations and service for all building equipment types. The company is based out of San Antonio, Texas, and has 26 employees, with 15 of them comprising the mobile workforce. We had the opportunity to talk with Brett Yates, Co-Owner of Yates Company.

Brett, tell us a little bit about your company and your role at Yates Company.

I have been working in the Building Automation Systems industry for over 35 years. I started Yates Company about 5 years ago along with my wife Susan.

Yates Company is a building automation company with a focus on commercial lighting controls and HVAC. We allow large commercial entities save and conserve energy through our building controls. We’re also a provider and dealer of Innotech brand controls, and have been ranked the #1 Innotech dealer in North Amercia for 3 years in a row.

Walk us through a typical day for your mobile workforce.

The team comprises of installers, technicians, sales and project managers. The installation team helps install our systems at the job site. They also pick up any parts and supplies that are needed from the parts house. The technicians are the wizards who apply their magic to our products. They are responsible for making everything work once it’s installed. The Sales team is dispatched to any requests we get from prospective clients to offer consultation and winning the business.

What were the challenges you faced with your mobile workforce?

When it came to knowing where our mobile workforce was and where our vehicles were, we would rely on telephone calls, guess work, and blind faith. We would conduct coordination meetings that included a lot of pre-planning, trying to figure out where our employees were going to be at, and hoping that they were going to be there.

Why did you decide to invest in a fleet telematics solution?

We needed a way to dispatch our mobile workforce in a timely manner by looking at who was closest to the project site, and considered several different telematics solutions. But we liked Automile’s pricing structure the best, and with its different plans, we had the option of choosing what features we wanted to be using with our vehicles.

How has Automile helped address these challenges?

Customers sometimes call for warranty work or service calls after the sale, and we need to know exactly where the technicians are at. When a customer needs us, we look at the Live Map in Automile and dispatch the closest vehicle to the job site

It’s also important for our installers to coordinate with each other. In case they need parts that they don’t have on hand to finish a project, they can see who is closest to a parts house and save them time instead of having to drive back and forth.

Automile also shows us if our vehicles have been speeding. We had a specific instance where we got a call from a lady who accused our driver of driving erratically, speeding, and running her off the road. We looked up the trip on the Automile app, and saw that there was no evidence of speeding or erratic driving on his drive. That helped prove that our driver was innocent.

Just this morning, I found an employee had been using the company vehicle over the weekend for unofficial purposes. All it took was a casual glance at the Trips feature in Automile

We help our mobile workforce understand that we’re here to run a business. We’re using Automile to protect our livelihood and interests, and using it properly can work to our benefit. In the case of an accident, we can use this technology to prove that the employee was not driving or not speeding when the accident occurred.

What ROI do you see with Automile?

We’ve cut down on fuel usage by eliminating personal truck use. Our mobile workforce is being more self-aware of how they’re using the trucks. Automile also helps with our fleet upkeep and lowering maintenance costs.

Automile is helping us get the most out of our trucks, and part of that is keeping people honest with our vehicle usage, not using our trucks for personal use, and asserting our company policy for the same. Unless you can enforce the rules, people are prone to bend them.

What Marketing strategies do you use at your company?

We do a few trade shows, advertise in magazines like Air Conditioning Contractors of America, and have our Sales team bring in customers. But our main marketing is through word of mouth. We’re a well-known name in our industry.

What advice do you have for other business owners like yours?

Be diligent, never be complacent, and study your competition— know your competition better than they know you.

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