GPS Insight CEO Rob Donat: Fleet Tracking Solutions Save (Big) Money

Tell us about GPS Insight.

GPS Insight is a com­mer­cial and gov­ern­ment fleet track­ing solu­tion. We help cus­tomers to save mon­ey by help­ing them become more effi­cient, sav­ing fuel from reduced idling, curb­ing their speed­ing and odd hour’s usage, and gen­er­al­ly mak­ing their dri­vers more account­able.

GPS Insight was found¬≠ed almost ten years ago. We knew that even¬≠tu¬≠al¬≠ly we would become big enough to accom¬≠mo¬≠date large, mul¬≠ti-thou¬≠sand unit fleets. We ini¬≠tial¬≠ly had our two and ten and five unit deals but we always kept in mind that even¬≠tu¬≠al¬≠ly we would need to scale and accom¬≠mo¬≠date very large fleets. There is a big dif¬≠fer¬≠ence between your aver¬≠age, every day dots on a map play¬≠er in this space, which does great for some¬≠body with ten or twelve trucks, and GPS Insight which is able to accom¬≠mo¬≠date a three, four, five thou¬≠sand unit fleet. There are a lot of reports that are nec¬≠es¬≠sary to take care of a fleet that large ‚Äď a lot of alerts, a lot of admin¬≠is¬≠tra¬≠tion, a lot of map¬≠ping and API require¬≠ments that we have real¬≠ly honed our prod¬≠uct toward.

We still take care of small fleets, it is still a great prod­uct for them but, gen­er­al­ly speak­ing the evo­lu­tion of GPS Insight has been to accom­mo­date those very large enter­prise fleets.

Your prod­uct feels extreme­ly visu­al and quite sim­ple as far as look­ing at where the fleets are, etc. Could you speak to that a lit­tle bit?

GPS Insight is unique in that we have a dash­board which is high­ly con­fig­urable by the end user. Every user can drag and drop what­ev­er it is that they real­ly need to see on a dai­ly basis onto mul­ti­ple dash­boards and then they can pull them up on whichev­er dash­board they need at that moment. It is high­ly con­fig­urable but it is also very sim­ple out of the gate so you can make it as sim­ple as you like, you can make it as com­plex as you like.

The inter­face itself is high­ly usable and very real time so that helps with the dis­patch, but we always have a num­ber of cus­tomers that use our APIs which aren’t visu­al, you don’t see them. It is just our servers talk­ing to their servers; either they are ask­ing us for data or sub­scrib­ing to it and we send it to them wher­ev­er an alert occurs, when­ev­er there is a geo-fence infrac­tion, when­ev­er some­one speeds per­haps, or on a night­ly basis if they just want a raw data dump of all of their vehicle’s activ­i­ty.

What is real­ly new and excit­ing this year that you are telling fleet man­agers about and what are you hear­ing from them?

I think one of the biggest things that is chang­ing is fleet man­agers real­ize that they real­ly have to have a GPS fleet track­ing solu­tion. There has been some hes­i­tance to adopt in pri­or years and at this point, as evi­denced by all of the play­ers at NAFA I&E, it is real­ly becom­ing a must-have item. I think the shift seems to be that com­pa­nies are no longer focused so much on absolute price and get­ting the cheap­est, least expen­sive prod­uct, but get­ting the one that deliv­ers val­ue and the most return on invest­ment.

In terms of tech­ni­cal addi­tions that are com­ing into most prod­ucts, there are a lot of diag­nos­tics, a lot of dri­ver behav­ior type quan­tifi­ca­tion and report­ing. In addi­tion to adding those types of capa­bil­i­ties to our prod­ucts, we also con­tin­ue to focus on what will save our cus­tomers more mon­ey. There are a lot of effi­cien­cies, a lot of automa­tion that real­ly is fun­da­men­tal­ly the most impor­tant thing. Of course, risk and effi­cien­cy are great to be able to get your head around and improve with a GPS track­ing solu­tion, but ulti­mate­ly fleet man­agers want to save mon­ey whether they are com­mer­cial or gov­ern­ment. It is a big tick­et item and that is what we real­ly try to strive to help our cus­tomers with.

What would you say would be the biggest objec­tion that a fleet man­ag­er who needs to install this sort of track­ing solu­tion might have and how would you over­come that?

Every¬≠body has their own objec¬≠tion. Of course, dif¬≠fer¬≠ent ver¬≠ti¬≠cal mar¬≠kets have dif¬≠fer¬≠ent con¬≠cerns. Some¬≠times it is dri¬≠ver response to the Big Broth¬≠er aspects. A lot of times you can over¬≠come that by say¬≠ing ‚Äď we are help¬≠ing you to prove that you are doing a great job that we know you are. We are help¬≠ing to make you more effi¬≠cient so we can all be more prof¬≠itable, and so that you can hope¬≠ful¬≠ly make more mon¬≠ey. But on top of that, I would say the oth¬≠er big objec¬≠tion is ‚Äď I can‚Äôt afford to take my vehi¬≠cles out of ser¬≠vice for that long for an install. A typ¬≠i¬≠cal install is only, per¬≠haps, fif¬≠teen to thir¬≠ty min¬≠utes. If you can take your vehi¬≠cle out of ser¬≠vice for about thir¬≠ty min¬≠utes and hope¬≠ful¬≠ly over the next year using GPS track¬≠ing gain at least mul¬≠ti¬≠ple hours if not days‚Äô worth of pro¬≠duc¬≠tiv¬≠i¬≠ty out of that vehi¬≠cle, I think that is a no-brain¬≠er.

Do you have any par­tic­u­lar suc­cess sto­ries that you would like to share with us?

We have many dif­fer­ent suc­cess sto­ries. Every­thing from find­ing out about bad employ­ees to just sim­ply sav­ing lots of mon­ey. One that comes to mind in par­tic­u­lar is a large one thou­sand unit fleet that asked us to help them save mon­ey using a new tech­nol­o­gy that we devel­oped for them in about three days. We start­ed send­ing their dri­vers mes­sages every time they left the vehi­cle on for more than sev­en min­utes. The first day we launched this we sent ten thou­sand mes­sages to their rough­ly thou­sand dri­vers. They instant­ly curbed 95 per­cent of their unnec­es­sar­i­ly idling, sav­ing them about $100,000 in fuel costs the first and sec­ond month and then beyond that.

In addi­tion to that $100,000, their dri­vers were doing their job, not sit­ting in a cab with the air con­di­tion­ing run­ning. They are get­ting more effi­cient, there was less over­time, and there was more cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion. Ulti­mate­ly, that cus­tomer achieved 1,000 % first year return on invest­ment using GPS Insight. They saved $5,000,000 on a $500,000 invest­ment.

We also have a very large 1200 unit cable com­pa­ny that is nation­al in pres­ence. They want­ed to focus on safe­ty so they used reports to help super­vi­sors coach their dri­vers on how to curb speed­ing. They took their post­ed speed vio­la­tions down by 98 per­cent with­in the first year. The byprod­uct of that was a $500,000 fuel sav­ings. So, by keep­ing their dri­vers from speed­ing rel­a­tive to the post­ed speed lim­it, not only did they make them safer but they saved rough­ly a half a mil­lion dol­lars, which is about the cost of that prod­uct for that cus­tomer for the first year.

What are your next steps?

This year, GPS Insight is launch­ing two major, new enhance­ments to the prod­uct. One is we have com­plete­ly revamped our map­ping and made it much bet­ter. The new map­ping is a huge improve­ment. It is as real time as it can be, very easy to admin­is­ter and cus­tomize to your exact require­ment as an end user.

The sec¬≠ond thing that we are adding to the prod¬≠uct is a roll-up report which allows you to tra¬≠verse your hier¬≠ar¬≠chy. You might have sev¬≠er¬≠al thou¬≠sand vehi¬≠cles in all of these dif¬≠fer¬≠ent regions, dis¬≠tricts, cities, states ‚ÄĒ what¬≠ev¬≠er you might quan¬≠ti¬≠fy your vehi¬≠cles as. We now have a matrix that will allow you to col¬≠or code what¬≠ev¬≠er it is that is inter¬≠est¬≠ing to you from a key per¬≠for¬≠mance indi¬≠ca¬≠tor ‚ÄĒ a KPI stand¬≠point. If you are inter¬≠est¬≠ed in idling as a per¬≠cent¬≠age of the total and red is more than three per¬≠cent, we can give you a nice con¬≠sol¬≠i¬≠dat¬≠ed way of look¬≠ing at mil¬≠lions of miles worth of data so that you can just drill down on your hot spots, find your dif¬≠fi¬≠cul¬≠ties and fix them.

That will be very cus­tomiz­able by our end cus­tomers. If they want to add a met­ric which is the num­ber of cus­tomer vis­its in min­utes rel­a­tive to the num­ber of ven­dor vis­its absolute, that might be real­ly key to their for­ward prof­itabil­i­ty. We can help them to quan­ti­fy that in a quick, easy, drill down man­ner so they can find cost­ly issues before they turn into a lack of prof­it.

BIO

Rob Donat
Founder and CEO, GPS Insight

I have 2 boys (13 & 11) and one daugh­ter (7) and my wife and I live in Scotts­dale where GPS Insight is head­quar­tered (our 75+ employ­ees are locat­ed here, as well as in 1 oth­er office in Chica­go and a few home-based loca­tions across the coun­try).

I grad­u­at­ed from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Illi­nois, spent some time on active duty in the Army and then in the Guard as an Artillery Offi­cer, held some high tech, data­base administration/management jobs, and com­plet­ed two grad­u­ate degrees in Finance and Com­put­er Sci­ence at DePaul in Chica­go. I start­ed Sedo­nat­e­ch, a con­sult­ing com­pa­ny in 2000, and con­sult­ed to Hedge Funds and Dot-Com’s for years, even­tu­al­ly mov­ing from Chica­go to Scotts­dale. At that point, I found­ed GPS Insight.

[email protected]

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