For field service operators, windshield time is a crucial KPI that should be observed and managed to maximize billing revenue and client satisfaction. Windshield time refers to the hours that drivers spend on the road and not servicing customers. Minimizing windshield time can lead to cost savings, improved productivity, improved safety, and increased revenue.
These are 6 approaches that fleet managers can use to reduce windshield time.
1. Route Optimization
While most service fleets allow drivers to manage their own routes, or use a “back of the envelope” approach to route planning, this can lead to significant inefficiencies that lead to fewer billable hours. Route planning software can help fleet managers plan the most efficient routes for their drivers. This will minimize unnecessary driving and reduce the amount of time traveling between jobs. Route optimization will also reduce fuel consumption and wear and tear on fleet vehicles, leading to significant cost savings.
2. Real-time Traffic Monitoring
Using mapping and navigation tools with real-time traffic monitoring can help fleets divert their technicians away from congested areas, saving them from spending hours in traffic. Systems like Google maps and Waze provide up-to-date traffic information on road closures, accidents, and construction. They also give drivers the ability to select alternate routes to avoid traffic, saving them time and fuel. Using these types of tools to avoid traffic delays can play a big part in reducing travel times and ensuring that they arrive at jobs on time.
3. Vehicle Telematics
Utilizing a telematics system can help fleets pinpoint current driver locations, divert drivers around traffic, and dispatch their closet technicians to service calls. These systems will also monitor past routes traveled by drivers, which can be used as a coaching tool by fleet managers and dispatchers to help drivers learn to take more direct routes to jobs, thus reducing windshield time.
4. Vehicle maintenance and Inspections
Performing regular vehicle maintenance and repairs of faulty equipment is key to preventing vehicle breakdowns and ensuring that vehicles are operable in order to complete jobs. Ensuring that oil changes, tire rotations, and brake inspections are completed in a timely manner will reduce the likelihood that a vehicle experiences a breakdown during a work day. Also tools like vehicle inspection apps can help by giving the drivers the ability to identify any mechanical issues so they can be addressed immediately. Ensuring that vehicles are healthy and operable will reduce the likelihood of unexpected vehicle downtime, which will increase the amount of windshield time.
5. Vehicle Diagnostics Monitoring
Telematics solutions with vehicle diagnostics monitoring can identify critical vehicle health issues immediately. This gives fleet operators insight into the health of their vehicles and the ability to determine which issues are critical enough to justify repairing a vehicle before it experiences a breakdown during a shift and increases windshield time.
6. Driver Training and Feedback
Ongoing driver training and feedback can be used to constantly coach drivers on safe and efficient driving practices. These programs can improve driver performance and reduce time spent in traffic. Regular performance reviews and incident reports can help drivers understand which areas they can improve their efficiency in and reduce unnecessary windshield time. Fleets can use the programs to set performance benchmarks and promote more efficient driving practices to reduce the time spent on the road.
Reducing windshield time should be a key objective for any service fleet operator since it directly impacts operational costs, driver safety, and revenue. Implementing tools and best practices to reduce windshield time can help fleets become more profitable and improve the level of services that they provide to their clients.
Take a system tour to see how our platform can help you reduce windshield time by better tracking and routing of your fleet.