Kenneth Bravmann, an operations consultant at Marjam Supply Co., knew the building-supply company was wasting money on gas and losing efficiency when drivers got lost. And he found out just how much after the company installed Global Positioning System equipment in most of its 165 flatbed trucks, which haul supplies to construction sites.
The Brooklyn, N.Y., company began installing the equipment about 18 months ago, and executives quickly realized wrong turns weren't the only money wasters. "Now we know where our trucks are," Mr. Bravmann says, "and we make sure [drivers] aren't going out of route or stopping at home [or] at their girlfriend's place." In the early days, about 15% of the truck drivers had to be reprimanded for driving off route.
Drivers now are more efficient -- and even more cautious since the system also transmits the trucks' speed. A dispatcher monitors the trucks' locations and time spent at each stop. And the GPS boxes transmit whether a truck is sitting idle, which wastes fuel and is illegal in some localities.