Based in Colchester, Essex, Burgin Maintenance Services Ltd., is a flourishing, family-run business, specialising in design, installation and maintenance of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and water systems. Established in 1977, the company lists Tesco Stores, Salvation Army, Holiday Inn Hotels and Dovercourt Ford amongst their extensive clientele.
The Burgin fleet of 24 vehicles provides round-the-clock cover for customers over an area which encompasses South-East England, East Anglia and the Home Counties. With annual turnover in the region of £3 million and a burgeoning growth rate, the company currently employs 40 staff, 26 of whom are multi-skilled engineers.
Around two years ago Nick Burgin, Financial Controller and Company Secretary, initiated the decision to have GSM-based vehicle tracking units installed in each of the firm’s fleet vans. Of three options considered, the Quartix system stood apart from its competitors in terms of state-of-the-art technology, combined with ease of use. In March this year, the company was able to further benefit from the real-time, Orange-backed GPRS facility offered by Quartix.
Initially the company encountered some resistance within the workforce towards adoption of the new technology. However, sensitive management techniques, employed before the installation proceeded, helped to overcome this hurdle. Now, with the Burgin fleet fully equipped with GPRS vehicle tracking units, Nick reports that the system has been a boon to business in more ways that one. With typical accountant’s acumen, he details the cost savings, ‘With a fleet the size of ours, where engineers are paid on a door-to-door basis, savings per year are in excess of £20,000.’
‘The savings arise through more efficient call placing, with associated reductions in travel time, fuel outlay and mileage, concurrent with a decrease in fleet insurance costs. Additionally, accurate timesheets are generated for each vehicle, so the company also saves on average, one hour per employee per week, in terms of previous overestimations of working time. The Quartix tracking system provides a better analysis of travel time against chargeable time and effectively pays for itself.’
With shrewd regard to customer service improvements, Nick explains that their busy service centre receives up to 60 new calls per day, which have to be placed efficiently. ‘The biggest benefit of the Quartix solution is that it allows more frequent delivery of a 4-hour response time – in preference to a 12 or 24-hour response. This is due to the real-time location up-date on engineers at any given time, we know exactly where each of our engineers is and can pinpoint the fleet vehicle closest to the client.’
Nick feels that the Quartix system engenders increased customer confidence to such an extent that it can even be used as a selling tool. ‘Clients can also be made to feel more involved, through details of van location and estimated arrival time being available to them on request’ he comments.
In answer to a question on employee benefits of the system, Nick replies, ‘There is the added bonus that an engineer can attend to the day’s work, free from interruption by service centre staff calling him to find out where he is. Also, in the event that one of our drivers finds himself lost in London for instance, he can call the office and staff will use the zoom-in facility on the Quartix real-time, web page to locate his position and direct him to the client, thus saving time and stress all round!’
Burgin Maintenance have themselves been innovative in their use of the Quartix on-line, vehicle tracking webpage, which has been wall-mounted in their service centre, alongside the vehicle status screen providing details of registration number, speed and direction of each of their vans. The screens up-date vehicle positions on a regular basis, allowing all staff to identify the location of all, or any particular fleet vehicle, without having to reference their individual PCs.
‘The Quartix system provides the simple solution to our business needs, without the need for specialist software or a dedicated PC,’ says Nick. To companies currently considering investing in Quartix vehicle-tracking technology, his advice is, ‘Be very open, clearly outline the benefits, consult with and reassure the workforce. Also, use the system as a selling tool customers react very positively when informed that the company has invested in technology which improves the service provided to them. The system conveys a competitive edge.’