How Technology is Transforming Snow Removal Operations

Better Insight, Better Decisions

December 04, 2016  | by Peter Shashkin

 

Fleet management is a challenging business. This is particularly true of snow removal services where the dynamics on the ground can change fast and the pressures to perform put fleet supervisors to the test – in the toughest of conditions.

To help address these challenges, busy municipalities often turn to contract labor to supplement the capabilities of their own fleets.

While these private contractors are a great asset to any snow-removal effort, keeping tabs on their contributions to road clearing activities, in addition to public fleets, is a challenge. When communities experience heavy snow, agencies and residents need to know which routes have been cleared, which ones are next on the schedule, and when it’s safe to travel again.

Fulfilling these requirements is easier said than done, for several reasons:

  • Teams are dispersed, making it hard to maintain an accurate, real-time overview of fleet activities and snow removal efforts
  • Assigning work and routes is a manual and time-consuming chore
  • There’s little transparency into contractor work hours
  • Driver standby time can drive up costs
  • Enforcing quality control and approving cleared routes takes time
  • Fleet managers lack the tools to keep the public and customers informed about service delivery

 

GPS Alone Doesn’t Cut It Anymore

Technology such as GPS and asset tracking tools have long been touted as a way to empower fleet managers, but they come at a price. Expensive hardware, complex system and data integration issues, and a lack of scalability can prove to be less than ideal, and organizations are often left without the tools they need to address the challenges listed above.

However, thanks to cloud and mobile technology a new generation of fleet management capabilities are bringing game-changing efficiencies to the management of critical snow removal services.

 

Watch On-Demand Webinar HERE

 

Achieving Greater Situational Awareness into Snow Removal Operations

SNOWiQ - Using the power of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) cloud technologies and positional data collected from driver-owned smartphone-based GPS or even legacy GPS hardware, it’s now possible for snow removal operations teams to eliminate the unknowns of snow removal efforts based on the realities of what’s happening on the ground.  

More than just tracking the movement of contractor or agency-owned snowplow fleets, these technologies combine and interoperate to provide a 360-degree dashboard-based view of fleet deployments, snow removal status by route, driver availability and hours worked, and more – all via a mobile app.

From this powerful interface, fleet managers can prioritize fleet movements with agility and precision, dynamically assign, re-route, redeploy, or add drivers. Quality control is more easily enforced and cleared routes more efficiently tracked.

Out in the field, snowplow operators can use a smartphone-based app to advertise their availability, lock-down assignments, and receive real-time notification of route assignments via a map-based interface. Once the route is cleared, they log the work as complete and move onto the next assignment. Hours are tracked based on actual work done, not conjecture.

The magic of such a solution is that it works in conjunction with your existing investments and can operate across multiple platforms – Apple iOS, Windows, Android, etc.

 

Self-Service Tools Transform Public Outreach

There’s also an upside for citizens and residents. Instead of relying on grapevine hearsay about when a route will be cleared, new online tools link the public to hard and fast facts about when streets will be plowed, snow removal progress so far, and more.

 

Read Our Blog on Snowplow Mobile App HERE

 

Business Intelligence Drives Greater Insights

But such solutions are about more than snow removal fleet asset tracking. The cloud makes possible powerful data processing and report generation that can help departments’ gain a better perspective on system performance, trends, and so on. By tapping into a mobile-based dashboard, fleet managers have fingertip access to powerful business intelligence.

 

Where to Next?

This are just a few examples, but the opportunities are limitless. Similar solutions can be deployed to help manage drivers such as utility crews or emergency responders. Public transit agencies can extend the scope to include trains and ferries. Taxicab commissions can better wrap their arms around their complex network of public and private providers. Trucking companies can enhance operations and improve customer service levels.

 

Intrigued? To learn more, please reach out to Jill DaSilva at jdasilva@eastbanctech.com or 202-295-3010.

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