Fast Park and Relax has been servicing the traveling public in the Houston, TX area for over 12 years. This is done by transporting passengers to and from multiple airports to the customer’s vehicle.
When the opportunity to speak with Lorenzo Botello, the GM of Fast Park and Relax, presented itself, we jumped on the opportunity.
What does a day in the life of your company look like?
Well, we cater to the traveling public. Essentially customers park at our facility and we then drive them to the airport. On their return flight, customers are picked up from the airport and shuttled back to his/her vehicle’s location. We have multiple shuttle buses at two different airports that we can increase or decrease the count depending on the traffic for that day.
Because of this, we are always looking for ways to improve our logistics. We are a 24/7 business without exception. Customers arrive from long flights and we want them to not have to hassle with getting to the correct vehicle and getting home.
Airports can get busy at times and we have large areas of ground to cover. We try to have a shuttle in every terminal, every 5 minutes. That’s a high benchmark but we want to ensure efficiency and we know we can hit those numbers because we’ve done it for years. We mainly use proprietary developments to run our logistics each day but those systems only can take us so far with making sure vehicles are where they should be. We really needed an outside system to use to help meet these benchmarks.
Where did the need for a gps tracker come from?
As mentioned before, we set a high benchmark for ourselves to be in every terminal in the airport every 5 minutes. We knew we already had a proven system since drivers had to be in certain places at certain times. If they weren’t then we knew something was up. This rarely happened, but the need for a gps system would give us verifiable proof to report that drivers are where they should be.
We also wanted a system that would help us educate our drivers on etiquette. We would never want one of our drivers to injure themselves or anyone else around them. We’re transporting people, it’s important to keep them safe. If there was a way for us to monitor and improve driving behaviors, that’s a system we would be interested in.
To sum it up, Automile offered the ease of installation and the technology needed. Years ago we actually employed a device that was hardwired to the buses. It did not work for us. It was a pain to install, buses were running constantly and the devices would get in the way for maintenance checks. On top of that, the technology wasn’t smooth for us and didn’t perform as expected.
I looked at many companies when deciding to go with a system this time around. The struggle was that most of them were hardwired or just an app without the hardware. We needed both. We wanted something that was easily installed and easily removed. Automile fit perfectly for us. I put together the information and presented it to management and here we are.
Automile was great because it was a zero risk platform in that we were able to do a free trial. We could test for ourselves if it worked as hoped for and if not, we could return the device. We found the software worked exactly as stated and exactly as we needed. F
What ROI have you seen so far?
There are several ways we are seeing the benefit of Automile. Here are of few of those.
- Logistics- Now, with Automile, we have complete visibility that wasn’t available before. We can run reports to show when and where vehicles are throughout the day. We have goals that MUST be met and we can see where we might be falling short and adjust if necessary. If a customer is concerned about when a vehicle will arrive, we can easily let them know how far out someone is.
- Driving Behaviors– I will randomly print out a report of drivers speeds for the day and post it for everyone to see. This way it becomes a competition for employees to not speed and drive appropriately. We want to encourage safe behaviors and Automile helps make this happen. With an increase in safe driving behaviors we are able to limit accidents before a problem were to arise. Knowing we can find patterns in advance and prevent unintended accidents is priceless.
- Increased Efficiency- We wanted a way to be notified when shuttles were entering or exiting terminals as well. Really, a system to verify as much as possible that what we were already doing was working. Geofencing concepts do exactly that which seemed like a solution we could use.
What are some best practices you would like to show with the greater small business community?
Efficiency. Do your best to make your company as efficient as possible. For us, as I’ve stated already, we had an efficient system we knew worked. We wanted to ensure it was everything we thought it was which led us to Automile. It’s a no-brainer really, if anyone is ever on the fence for a system like Automile to improve processes, just do it.