The City of Fishers is a vibrant, growing suburb of Indianapolis. Since becoming Mayor in 2015, Scott Fadness has been committed to attracting more residents and businesses to the city and his efforts are paying off. The population of Fishers has grown from 79,000 in 2010, to over 100,000 residents today. The city has also received numerous awards and accolades, including being named the #1 City to Live in America by Money Magazine in 2017, and receiving a Green Community Award.
With so much growth and attention, it’s understandable that strengthening city services and sustainability are also critical priorities for the Mayor, who is a strong believer in leveraging telematics to help Fishers achieve these goals.
The Opportunity: Leverage telematics to achieve strategic goals
The City of Fishers’ original telematics solution was cumbersome and didn’t provide detailed insights. As Tabatha Miller, Director of Fleet Management explains, “The units were very basic and hardwired in. They were intrusive and could cause damage to the vehicle. You had to take the information the system gave you and then there was a lot of guesswork when it came to figuring out what actually happened.”
In 2018, the city made the switch to Geotab and they haven’t looked back. “I was already a fan of Geotab and had been for a long time, so it was a simple decision to switch.”
The Mayor is a fan because Getoab’s fleet management solutions empower him and the team to present actual numbers and statistics when they are in critical meetings. “We’re using this technology to make data-driven planning and budgeting decisions and not just about the fleet. We can say ‘this is what we need to do’ instead of ‘this is what we think we should do,’” says Miller.
The Solution: Easy-to-install devices that fuel evidence-based decision making, planning and responsiveness
Fishers started by installing telematics devices in approximately 95 snow operations vehicles and equipment. Miller says the installation and implementation were extremely simple. Now with access to an online user interface to monitor fleet performance, the team is making real-time data-driven decisions.
A couple of years later, an additional 387 units were installed in vehicles and equipment ranging from small pickup trucks, to aerial fire trucks, skid steers and wheel loaders.
Miller says they rely on telematics for overall fleet management and optimization and are tracking vehicle information such as mileage, engine issues and location. While the focus has been on maintenance, they do have limits in place for extreme speed and location and expect to continue adding safety features and functions to support the fleet drivers and the citizens of the City of Fishers.
Key features in use
Fishers is on the ProPlus plan. They have access to a variety of reports and receive live updates through the portal.
- Vehicle maintenance and monitoring
- Near real-time vehicle location tracking
- Driver behavior monitoring and reporting
- Route completion to monitor the progress of plowing
The Results: So much more than a GPS device
The Mayor and Miller see that the telematics solutions they’ve invested in are enabling them to make fiscally responsible decisions and they are committed to bringing the whole city on board.
Miller points out that the insights they glean from their devices enable them to address challenging issues with greater confidence. “Idling burns fuel and causes unnecessary damage to vehicles, but sometimes it can’t be avoided. A driver might be waiting in a plow when it is 10 below and idling to stay warm. There are anti-idle options that will keep the HVAC on in the truck so the driver is comfortable, but they are very expensive. If you don’t have the data to back up which vehicles should be updated with this equipment, you run the risk of wasting a lot of money. Now we have the data to back up these decisions.”
The City is also able to be more responsive when a complaint is received. “When we receive a complaint we can find the vehicle and pinpoint who was driving and where they were.”
This includes emergency vehicles. When there was an incident involving an arrest by one of their officers, the defense attorney was seeking evidence. The City was able to provide data about when the lights on the police car were activated, where the officer was and for how long. “It’s all there in black and white. We’re not just relying on a log book anymore.”
“Other cities considering this investment should understand the many ways you can use the system. Don’t just look at it as a GPS device. That is just a small portion of what it does. It is so much more than that and there are so many benefits. The cost of the unit is nothing when you compare it with savings in fuel costs, acquisitions and even manpower,” Miller says.
On a personal level, she says the system has made it easier for her to do her job. She no longer needs to worry about vehicle warnings being disregarded and she has visibility into the vehicle history that makes it easier for her to address issues and take action.
From the Fleet Manager
“Other cities considering this investment should understand the many ways you can use the system. Don’t just look at it as a GPS device. That is just a small portion of what it does. It is so much more than that and there are so many benefits. The cost of the unit is nothing when you compare it with savings in fuel costs, acquisitions and even manpower.”
— Tabatha Miller, Director of Fleet Management, City of Fishers