R&H Supply, based in Broussard, Louisiana, is the second-largest supply distributor for the domestic oil and gas industry. The company serves about 600 U.S. clients, including high-profile companies such as Patterson UTI and Nabors, by selling and shipping hundreds of different tools, machinery parts and components for rigs: pistons, belts, valves, gaskets, pumps and much more.
One of the biggest aspects of the business is shipping products to clients at rig sites. With 121 employees spread across 11 shops throughout the country, maintaining accurate and consistent communication about the fleet of vehicles is a major challenge.
Dan Goodwin is R&H Supply’s regional operations manager for the Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas regions. Early in the summer of 2013, the company tasked Goodwin with maintaining the company’s 97 three-quarter-ton trucks and 10 trailers. This responsibility required Goodwin to schedule maintenance requests based on mileage and keep the trucks’ registrations up-to-date.
Up until July 2013, each branch maintained its own Excel spreadsheet of mileage and maintenance performed on each vehicle. This created problems with data consistency and timeliness, since the spreadsheets didn’t allow for real-time data communication. Goodwin says there was no visibility over the fleet, and that the most trustworthy way to gather data was to visit the physical locations themselves.
"Any time I would need information, I would have to email another branch and ask for certain data,” Goodwin says. “By the time they got it to me, two to three days later, it was already obsolete, because more miles were put on [the vehicles] in the meantime." - Dan Goodwin, Operations Manager
R&H Supply’s senior business team spent about a month reviewing various software solutions, and narrowed their choices down to Fleetio maintenance software. Along with the branch managers, they reviewed informational videos and met with a Fleetio consultant—and ultimately, the team decided that the feature set, ease-of-use and low cost of entry were good reasons to choose the software for their business.
R&H Supply began implementation of Fleetio in July 2013, and was instantly pleased with the user interface and the seamless implementation.
Fleetio’s support staff offers assistance in integrating company data into the system. To convert R&H Supply's data, Goodwin downloaded a spreadsheet from Fleetio and transferred his existing Excel data into it: this included the trucks' VIN numbers, makes, models, years, license plates, states and current mileage, as well as the locations of each company branch. Fleetio’s staff took that data and uploaded it to the new system, so Goodwin and his team didn’t have to spend valuable time on this process.
“We sent that to Fleetio, and literally the next morning, it was ready to go and we were rolling,” he says.
Goodwin says technical support was available to him, but didn’t need it because “it is probably the most user-friendly system I've ever used.”
When he enters a truck number into the search field, Fleetio pulls up all the maintenance information, including dates of service and mileage—which Goodwin can then send to the appropriate branch manager, who will handle the service. No guesswork is involved, he adds, as every entry field will auto-suggest terms based on what the user types, mitigating any confusion or typos.
After one session with each manager, Goodwin says, no more training was required, and the company could begin enjoying Fleetio’s benefits.
At the request of the company’s president, Goodwin set out to create a formal service program using the new software. Fleetio gave Goodwin “threshold settings,” which are custom variables that can be input for each vehicle in order to trigger maintenance alerts for the respective managers. He chose to set up his schedule so that each vehicle is taken in for an oil change, tire rotation and air filter replacement every 5,000 miles. The system can even notify managers with a “Due Soon” message.
“It automatically generates an email and sends it to a branch manager when a truck is due for service [based on] mileage,” Dan says. “So, the manager doesn’t have to constantly go in and see when it's due. They can just wait for the email, schedule the service and move on.”
Not only is using Fleetio convenient, it has saved R&H Supply thousands of dollars. When Goodwin began using the software, he used the reporting features to gain an overview of the costs associated with their fleet maintenance. From this data, he realized that his formal service program would help reduce early or unnecessary maintenance, because he now had up-to-the-minute data on each vehicle’s status. This has reduced the company’s fleet maintenance costs by nearly half—from $12,000 down to $6,500 per month.
In addition, the real-time data helps Goodwin and other managers keep an eye out for maintenance workers who might accidentally or intentionally charge the company for redundant services. R&H Supply uses Fleetio's optional document-uploading module, which gives managers the ability to scan receipts for maintenance directly into the system and attach them to a particular vehicle.
“So if it goes in for service and [maintenance workers] say it needs brakes, the manager can go back and look at the service records to see when the last brake job happened,” Goodwin explains. “Let’s say it happened 5,000 miles ago… either the first guy didn’t install it properly, or the new guy is trying to make a little extra money.”
Goodwin says there are two Fleetio features that he has yet to delve into: the “Contacts” and “Vendors” functions. “Contacts” is a human-resources-inspired function that lets users enter names, start dates and contact information about employees, as well as link them to specific vehicles. Goodwin says he plans to use the feature more in the future to increase driver accountability with the vehicles.
“Vendors” works in a similar way: Users can enter information about a company they use to service vehicles, then attach fleet vehicles and maintenance performance to the vendor’s entry. This can offer valuable insights into how much is spent with certain vendors. Goodwin says he plans to integrate the company’s records with Fleetio to avoid redundant vendor entries.
The best part of all these features is that they are available in mobile form. Goodwin uses the Web-browser version of Fleetio, which can be accessed from any Internet-enabled device, to check up on the fleet on weekends or on the road. In a business with so many moving parts, Goodwin finds it convenient to be able to know instantly, from anywhere, if a truck has broken down and needs immediate repairs, for example.
“It’s got every feature, so it’s just like working off a laptop,” he says.
Goodwin says switching to Fleetio has made his responsibility over the fleet much easier to manage, giving him more time to focus on other tasks—not to mention, the software saves the company thousands of dollars each month. With the features available in Fleetio, the days of traveling from branch to branch and waiting days for unusable data are long gone, says Goodwin.