How deteriorating road conditions can affect your Field Service Business

Dangerous road conditions are one of the leading causes of road accidents in South Africa, and unfortunately, the situation is only getting worse. The country has one of the largest road networks globally, so it’s no surprise that experts have estimated that a lack of road maintenance will eventually cost the country billions of Rands.

Why South Africa’s roads are deteriorating

Insufficient road maintenance is not the only reason why the country’s roads are in bad condition. While ongoing repairs maintain the thickness of the roads to prevent surface damage, the poor quality of the roads leads to a shorter lifespan. South Africa uses a cheaper method than the United States and Europe to build roads – the crushed rock and gravel layers used below the road surfacing reduces the cost by 40%. However, when the surface cracks, rain penetrates the road, and when the lower levels get wet, they lose their strength and potholes are created.

The cost of poor road conditions for Field Service companies

Because your field workers travel every day, the quality of the roads is vital for your Field Service business. You’re also responsible for the safety of your assets and employees, which dangerous road conditions could threaten. As your business relies on road transport to get to clients, poor road conditions could have a significant impact on your business, and these are some of the ways your mobile workers could be affected.

Increases the chance of road accidents

South Africa’s roads are no longer safe, no matter how carefully you drive. If a driver swerves to avoid a pothole or bad patch of road, they could lose control of the vehicle, leading to a severe or fatal accident. It can be particularly challenging to see potholes when there’s rain or fog – something drivers don’t have control over. Any Field Service company wants to avoid accidents to prevent asset damage and keep technicians safe.

The cost of wear and tear on fleet vehicles

Uneven or rough roads can cause severe damage to your vehicles, and they can damage your vehicles’ suspension, engine, and exhaust system. Hitting a pothole could even dent your rims or puncture a tyre. Even if your technicians don’t immediately experience the effects of bad roads, pothole damage could have long-term effects.

Poor road conditions slow down Field Workers

If the roads aren’t well maintained, your mobile technicians won’t feel confident driving on the road, or they may have to drive slowly to avoid an accident. As a result, it’ll take them longer to get to job sites, reducing their productivity. If they don’t get to appointments on time, customers may become frustrated.

Use Vehicle Tracking Software to reduce the impact of poor road conditions

While you may not have control over the country’s road conditions, you can get around the problem using Vehicle Tracking Software. No matter which type of Field Service business you’re managing, vehicle tracking can be used to plan the routes your technicians take and keep an eye on them when they’re in the field.

Assist with route planning

With access to the live location for every technician, it’s easier to plan their journeys to help them avoid poor road conditions. You can also choose the quickest or most economical route or find an alternate road when there are protests or road closures. Once a technician has arrived at a job site, you can rest assured that they reached their destination safely and on time.

Keep mobile technicians safe

Keeping mobile technicians safe can be challenging, but Vehicle Tracking Software takes the stress out of supervising your team. Whether they’re near the office or travelling to job sites out of town, you’ll be able to view their live location and respond if there’s an emergency. Vehicle Tracking Software also provides driver performance reports, which you can use to monitor your technicians’ speed. Speeding reduces a driver’s reaction time, which is one of the reasons why it’s dangerous, so watch their speed to keep them safe on the road.

An accurate record of each journey

Vehicle Tracking Software is often used for its live location feature, but it’s also a helpful tool if you need to go back in time. The software records every journey so you can see where your team has been and how far they’ve travelled. If you need to verify a mobile worker’s journey, you can confirm their mileage, how many appointments they had on the day and the locations they visited.

Fuel-savings tips for the UK’s Field Service industry

The UK’s petrol prices reached a record high on Monday, and experts have suggested that the price could continue to rise. Prices soared following the increase of Brent crude oil to $96 a barrel for the first time since September 2014. The price has also been influenced by tensions between Russia, the world’s third-biggest oil producer, and Ukraine, and it’s feared that this conflict could affect the country’s oil supply.

With multiple technicians on the road, the rising fuel price could negatively impact the Field Service industry. If you’re a Field Service business owner or manager and you’re looking for ways to keep costs down, keep these simple tips in mind.

Review the fuel efficiency of your fleet vehicles

Older models may be less fuel-efficient, and as technology advances, newer models are using less petrol. While your older vehicles may be dependable, they could be costing you in the long run. If you’re currently using big vans but don’t need a large vehicle for every job, use the opportunity to invest in smaller vehicles that are lighter on fuel.

Keep your vehicles well maintained

A well-maintained vehicle uses less fuel, so don’t underestimate the importance of regular maintenance. Create an effective vehicle maintenance strategy to ensure your vehicles are serviced regularly. Frequent services will keep your fleet vehicles running optimally, and when they’re in top condition, they’re less likely to waste fuel.

Monitor your team’s speed

A lead foot isn’t good for fuel-efficiency. Your technicians could be using 20% more fuel by going 10mph over the speed limit of 70mph. The best way to keep your team driving the speed limit is to monitor their speed during work hours. A GPS tracker can measure a driver’s estimated speed, and trackers can easily be installed in your vehicles.

Send your technicians for driver training

Speed is just one of the ways your technicians may be using more fuel than necessary, and there are other ways they can improve their driving technique to reduce fuel consumption. With driver training, your team can learn more about how their driving behaviour affects fuel consumption. For example, harsh braking, idling and acceleration increase fuel consumption. If your technicians know this, they can change their behaviour behind the wheel.

Inflate tyres to the correct pressure

Underinflated tyres make the engine work harder, increasing fuel consumption by up to two percent per tyre. It’s easy enough to keep an owner’s manual in every vehicle so your drivers or technicians can pump the tyres up to the right pressure. Because tyre pressure should be checked at least once a month, ask your technicians to do this check monthly.

Plan your team’s routes ahead of time

By taking the most economical routes, your technicians can immediately reduce fuel consumption, and a tool like Route Planning Software can do all the work for you. Route Planning Software shows you your technician’s location so you can send the nearest mobile worker to a job site to save fuel and reduce mileage.

Invest in new technology

Electric cars have become more and more popular in the UK in recent years, and with the move to green energy solutions, it may be time to invest in electric vehicles. It’s cheaper to drive electric cars, and depending on the vehicle you’re charging, you’ll pay 2 to 3 pounds to charge an electric vehicle to drive 100 miles, as opposed to 9 to 13 pounds to travel the same distance in a petrol or diesel vehicle. The government has said that the sale of new cars and vans powered by petrol and diesel will be banned from 2030, so now’s the time to consider electric vehicles for your business.

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