Reduced fuel use, enhanced driver safety, improved customer service and a continued commitment to reducing environmental impact are the reasons cited by Virgin Media's Executive Director – Access, Maurice Daw, in deciding to install the SageQuest enterprise fleet management solution into its 2600 strong installation, maintenance and service vehicle fleet in the UK.
Virgin Media is no stranger to the benefits telematics can bring when it comes to improving environmental performance, but the SageQuest system, delivered through a standard web browser, helps Virgin Media to respond more quickly and highlight opportunities for fuel saving, then action them immediately. The SageQuest system has many fuel saving features, such as the engine idling alert that can be pre-set to notify a controller when engine idling parameters are breached. The controller can then contact the driver to find out if a problem exists. This is a vital feature which supports Virgin Media's approach to sustainability1, considering that one hour of idling is the equivalent of 25 miles of driving (Source : Ford Motor Company).
Another feature of SageQuest's 'real-time' system is 'Driving Style'. This monitors the way in which a driver handles the vehicle and alerts management to examples of hard accelerating, cornering, braking and speeding. Such behaviour can be seen as a pre-cursor to a road traffic incident and by the early alerting of management to this behaviour this can be addressed through training, with the aim of protecting the workforce. The system also operates as a lone worker alert by providing an emergency button that can be triggered by the technician. The peace of mind and safety of the field technician is paramount to Virgin Media.
Another benefit that was attractive to Virgin Media in its decision to purchase SageQuest was the potential to improve customer service. The solution for Virgin Media is integrated with Garmin navigation devices and also incorporates Google's 'Street View' to help prevent drivers from becoming lost and to help them locate the exact address they are looking for. Due to these features, Virgin Media is able to schedule appointments more accurately and within tighter time windows. Virgin Media's view is that providing the best customer experience possible starts with arriving promptly. Its field technicians are now expertly guided to each appointment and do not need to be distracted by looking at maps. The SageQuest system equipped with Garmin integration even provides "Live Traffic" updates to minimise the drive times to their appointments.
Daw tells SageQuest that he and his Virgin Media team conducted a thorough due diligence procedure, encompassing everything from functionality to pricing, and they found SageQuest represented the latest in fleet management systems with an exceptional uptime and its own datacentre for robustness.
The data from the SageQuest system also provides useful business intelligence for fleet operators. A dashboard bespoke to Virgin Media's KPIs means their personnel can see immediately the greatest opportunity for operational improvement. Maurice Daw says, "We have been able to replace assumptions with facts. SageQuest gives us an unbiased, real-time view of what is going on in the field with instant access to data, scaled so that any number of users can access the system without slowing or crashing."
A traditional bugbear of fleet management systems is that, as Daw succinctly puts, "if the drivers hate it they disconnect it!" Virgin Media has found its drivers' response has been quite the opposite, as Maurice continues, "we found that after we have conducted training on the system they cannot wait to get going and really like the built in sat nav functionality. Also, the drivers can communicate with us through the system and we have even had instances of them saying, 'Do you have more work for me,' which is great for morale and productivity." Daw concluded by saying, "We believe that selecting the right tools that will increase the safety of our technicians, reduce their drive times, improve our subscribers' experience and support Virgin Media's environmental initiatives will have a big payoff for all of us. SageQuest has a great deal of experience in the communications business fleet sector and, although it is too early for a detailed report on the benefits that the system is delivering, Virgin Media is confident it will see wide-ranging improvements through use of system."
¹ Source Ford Motor Company