D&D Drilling (D&D) Inc. is a directional drilling company that owes its success to repeat contracts involving the installation of communications and high-voltage electrical wires and cables by way of underground conduits. To increase competitiveness, the Woodbine, Md.-based firm is using Networkfleet to document work hours and verify fulfillment of contract terms. Additionally, the Networkfleet system has proven its value in unexpected ways – including helping D&D vehicles maneuver through a blizzard to service a customer for an urgent snow removal job.
When D&D hired Don Masters as its safety director, his immediate task was to improve the productivity and accountability of the company’s 58 employees. With a fleet of 32 vehicles and up to 20 projects being performed on any given day, being able to efficiently schedule workers and keep track of their hours and whereabouts are critical to maintaining the credibility and reputation of the company.
“One of our long-term customers is a large public utility company that is in the process of significantly reducing the number of contractors it is using (from 26 companies down to 10),” says Masters. “In order to survive those cuts, we needed to bring something extra to the table to make us more competitive.”
In his prior position, Masters used Networkfleet’s data and reports to prove that a worker’s compensation case was unfounded, and to exonerate a host of drivers who had been accused of speeding. He knew from firsthand experience that Networkfleet would increase productivity and billable hours, while enhancing credibility with D&D’s customers. Based on this experience, Masters convinced D&D management to install Networkfleet’s wireless fleet management system on 20 vehicles (mostly pickup trucks). “Typically, there are three or four employees who travel to the work site together in each vehicle,” explains Masters. “Reducing non-billable activities by an hour each day equates to three or four extra man-hours spent on billable work. When there are 20 projects going on simultaneously, the extra billable hours really make a difference.”
In fact, one of the most obvious and immediate benefits from Networkfleet was improved productivity and greater revenue. With labor costs averaging $20 per hour, three extra hours of productivity a day across 20 projects equates to $1,200 per day, or $270,000 for 225 working days annually.
“Because Networkfleet tracks and documents a vehicle’s location, employees no longer using are vehicles for personal activities during off hours. They aren’t letting the vehicles idle as much, and they are on the job when they are supposed to be, for as long as the contract states,” says Masters.
Being able to show that workers are living up to the terms of a contract has greatly improved the company’s integrity with its customers. The customers now know that hours worked are verifiable, which puts D&D ahead of the competition when a contract comes up for renewal.
Improved scheduling of jobs and maintenance also is saving D&D valuable time and money. “Networkfleet alerts us when a vehicle needs regular maintenance so we can schedule the work during normal downtime,” Masters comments. “We also know which vehicle is closest to a job when equipment needs to be delivered to a site. That ability saves time and also reduces overall mileage.”
D&D has reaped several unexpected benefits from Networkfleet. Recently, Masters was able to resolve an invoice dispute with one of its customers regarding the number of hours worked. Being able to verify the hours saved the company $5,000. “Without Networkfleet’s data, we probably would have had to write off the hours,” says Masters. Additionally, D&D expects a 10-percent discount on insurance costs, which will save the company thousands of dollars fleet-wide. But the biggest surprise came during several back-to-back winter blizzards. A premier customer contracted with D&D to use its backhoes when its normal snow-removal company couldn’t do the job. “Networkfleet was a huge help from a safety standpoint during these paralyzing snow storms,” says Masters. “I was able to monitor the movement of our personnel in real time, 24/7. Armed with the Networkfleet technology, I could simultaneously monitor problems and redirect our crews onto roadways that were in better condition. This added a whole new unanticipated dimension to the value of these devices.”