From The Editor | July 23, 2008

What's Your GPS Strategy?

A recent study quantifies the positive impact GPS applications are having on the field service industry. Are you getting in on the action?

Integrated Solutions, August 2008

While Integrated Solutions frequently covers the GPS success stories of field service organizations, I only recently experienced the joy GPS technology could bring me on a personal level. On a business trip to California earlier this year, my rental car came equipped with a GPS device that provided me with step-by-step driving directions to several In-N-Out Burger locations between San Jose and San Diego. I never knew I could be so happy. However, GPS technology can do a lot more than satisfy your need for a junk food fix, particularly if your business has a mobile workforce to manage. In fact, a recent research study by Motorola Enterprise Mobility provides some telling statistics that illustrate the positive impact GPS/navigation applications are having throughout the field service industry.

More than 255 North American IT and telecom decision makers completed a survey that made up the results of the study. One key finding of the research shows that field mobility workers recover approximately 54 minutes of downtime per day when their organization utilizes GPS solutions. This equates to average annual recouped labor costs of $5,484 per employee.

Another main benefit to enterprises using GPS technologies was reduction in fuel consumption. According to the research, GPS enabled field forces to drive an average of 231.2 fewer miles per week — netting approximately $51,582 in annual fuel savings. Reducing mileage will become an even more valuable benefit as gas prices continue to rise.

According to the study, the primary reason enterprises leverage GPS technologies is to better serve customers in the field. The productivity and cost savings are more of a secondary, yet extremely revered, benefit. This finding is supported by our feature story this month titled "Unclog Your Field Service Processes." This article illustrates how Roto-Rooter uses GPS to respond to emergency customer service calls more quickly. In the process, the company also reduced technician drive times by 25% and saved millions of dollars in fuel expenses.

More Info Want more stats that highlight the business benefits of GPS? Visit

While Motorola's research clearly quantifies the benefits enterprises that utilize GPS enjoy, it also indicates that these companies can increase their advantage by taking their use of GPS technology even further. For example, the study shows that the vast majority of enterprises only use their GPS devices for navigation (32%) and route optimization (29%). A relatively small percentage of companies surveyed use the technology for more advanced applications such as bread crumbing (5%) and geocoding (4%). Whether you have yet to implement GPS technology of any kind or currently use devices solely for navigation purposes, you owe it to yourself to take a closer look at the benefits GPS can provide your business. GPS technologies are no longer just 'cool' gizmos to own. Statistical evidence of the cost savings and efficiency benefits of these technologies is now beginning to emerge, cementing GPS as a crucial component in a best-in-class field service strategy.