Recently, I conducted a survey of the Geoforce sales team and a representative sample of our customers to gain a better understanding of why companies purchase our GPS tracking solution. I have a pretty good understanding of why customers choose Geoforce over other GPS tracking solutions – rugged devices, seamless integration of oil & gas business information and systems, etc. – but I wanted to know why our customers choose to buy any GPS tracking solution at all.
I was surprised to hear such a wide variety of business drivers for using GPS tracking in the oilfield. In total, I heard 29 core reasons why customers selected our system. However, I later narrowed this list to the top 10 drivers (in no particular order) to help focus our product development roadmap to enhance these top needs:
- Rental Management – Billing Verification
- Rental Management – Compliance
- Rental Management – Maintenance
- Rental Management – Efficient Retrieval
- Lone Worker Safety
- Location Activity – How much equipment enter/leaves a location each day?
- Asset Utilization – How much of my equipment is on a job site vs in a yard each day/month?
- Asset Inventory
- Driver Behavior / Driver Safety Monitoring
- Dispatch / Logistics
One thing I learned from this exercise is that GPS tracking is only a means to an end. Sure, Geoforce devices report the location of equipment day after day, week after week, but that’s just the beginning of the story. It’s what that data tells you about your business that really matters. For example, for equipment rental companies billing verification is a huge win. Imagine sending an invoice to your biggest customers every month for hundreds or thousands of pieces of equipment and saying, “It was on your site all month, just trust me.” That’s a thing of the past now that rental companies can track the location of any rented asset every day and every month, and back up every line item on that invoice. That’s where location data really makes a difference. Efficient retrieval offers a similar story. Some rental companies will rent a piece of equipment to a customer who moves it from job site to job site as needed and then calls to say, “We’re done, I don’t know where it is, but come and get it.” With Geoforce, there is no more driving around to track down a piece of rental equipment. With a couple of clicks in Geoforce, the rental company now knows exactly where their equipment is. Speaking of driving around, getting all this equipment to and from job sites, compliance testing facilities and maintenance facilities means a fleet of vehicles and all that comes with that – driver safety requirements, driver behavior monitoring and dispatch are all an integral part of the rental business. Geoforce acknowledges this by providing asset tracking and vehicle tracking in a single solution. And just like location data for assets, tracking vehicles is just the beginning of the story. Our customers track vehicles for a variety of reasons, including:
- Dispatch and Logistics. What is the nearest available vehicle that can pick up a piece of equipment at a site and deliver it to a yard?
- Driver Behavior / Driver Safety. Are my drivers driving responsibly and are they spending a reasonable amount of time to pick up and deliver equipment or resources?
Another example of how GPS tracking data can transform a business process is asset inventory and utilization. Once our customers can track the location of assets they can take inventory and measure asset utilization just by tracking which equipment is currently in a yard, maintenance facility, compliance testing facility, or job site every day. What percentage of the time are my assets down for maintenance vs sitting idle vs actually on the job? With GPS tracking, this information is based on concrete GPS location information and updated every single day. In every instance of speaking with Geoforce customers, I found that being able to track the location and condition of assets and vehicles was not just about having the data. More importantly, it was the key to optimizing or in some cases creating entirely new ways of doing business. It was abundantly clear to me that our customers don’t want to think about location data, GPS tracking, or any of that – they just want to back up their invoices with unquestionable evidence, make better and safer use of their fleet resources, or have up-to-date inventory and utilization numbers when they reach for it. That’s the reason our customers choose to buy Geoforce GPS tracking products – not for location data, but to get things done.