Security Pros Driven to Reduce Drive Time, Truck Rolls

The expense of truck rolls include fuel, maintenance, insurance, utilization costs of the tech or personnel involved and opportunity costs.

Security Pros Driven to Reduce Drive Time, Truck Rolls

There is no shortage of trade shows, conferences and other events dotting the electronic security calendar, including, of course, our very own SSI Summit, part of the Total Tech Summit, set for the MGM Grand in Las Vegas Nov. 13-15.

People used to bellyache about that high volume, but I believe the pandemic has — at least for now — made industry professionals grateful and eager to be able once again to travel and engage face to face evaluating products, enhancing their knowledge, pursuing new opportunities and networking among peers.

This has been evident going back to 2022 and the momentum has continued to build through events like this year’s ISC West, PSA TEC and, most recently, ESX.

Last year’s ESX show in Fort Worth, Texas, was the first installment I have missed in its 15-year history. Thus, it was especially good to get back into the swing with the 2023 edition that took place in Louisville, thereby allowing me to step onto Kentucky soil (actually concrete) for the first time.

I have long appreciated ESX’s high caliber of company leader attendees, its relaxed atmosphere and strong education tracks. This year was no exception, and one of the most fascinating and valuable presentations was “6 Ways to Reduce Truck Rolls, Optimize Field Services and Increase Customer Satisfaction.”

Hosted by Bates Security (headquartered local to the event in Lexington) representatives Cindy Ponder and Misty Barker, the packed room of attendees was immediately captivated by the revelation that in just one year a Bates project manager saved more than $236,000 in truck rolls.

After audience members said sending a technician into the field for a service call costs them $80-$120, the presenters blew their minds by sharing that the true cost tops $400! The most common causes for wasted truck rolls, according to the presenters, are no pre-call at 40%, followed by parts challenges (35%) and incorrect diagnosis (25%).

The key to determining the full, actual expense of rolling a truck takes into account variables including fuel, maintenance, insurance, utilization costs of the tech or personnel involved, and opportunity costs (the time employees could have been used to take care of another customer).

Labor costs also must have taken into consideration worker benefits, worker’s comp, uniforms, travel time and a dispatcher’s time.

How Security Pros Can Reduce Truck Rolls

Among the remedies is analyzing and improving labor cost efficiency. This includes identifying low utilization percentages, reviewing go-backs and trips to the office, and having same-day close goals. A dealer’s or integrator’s organization must all be in sync to optimize service operations, including effective companywide communications that account for parts needs, traffic conditions and jobsite information.

Sales, HR and finance must also understand where inefficiencies can bog down processes.

Specific to the techs themselves, they cannot undertake enough training. Other key factors include having full and correct inventory on trucks, doing pre-calls (e.g., site readiness, network logons/passwords, reviewing service with customer, set expectation), reviewing job tickets and signing off on parts and using checklists (e.g., specific systems, onsite walk-through, closeout).

Regarding salespeople, best practices include implementing a site conditions worksheet that incorporates a description and special requirements, subcontractor info/deployment, jobsite info (e.g., site contact, ceiling type, accessible hours, drawings, safety requirements), and customer expectations.

For project managers and schedulers, there are five critical points. You want to make sure the skill sets of techs align with the job at hand. Also, plan for contingencies, provision properly, review labor and parts on the job, and supervise sites.

Finally, on the customer service side — in addition to some of today’s diagnostic troubleshooting tools — there are several best practices to lessen truck rolls. It was recommended to use checklists, have reps attend technical trainings along with technicians, invoke dynamic dispatching in which calls can be juggled on the fly, remotely train customers, and allow for remote logins.

The last piece of advice to get everyone onboard is to try offering financial or achievement incentives and to run contests that help make it competitive and fun for employees. For example, Bates Security has found success with its Save the Truck Roll campaign.

Best of luck keeping your vehicles at rest and bottom line expanding!

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About the Author


Scott Goldfine is the marketing director for Elite Interactive Solutions. He is the former editor-in-chief and associate publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He can be reached at [email protected].

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