Being mobile is essential for United States Infrastructure Corporation (USIC). The company responds to requests to locate and mark underground utility lines, communication and fiber optics lines, and gas lines for pre-construction sites. While USIC runs a mixed-fleet of about 8,600 to serve its customers, most of the fleet is made up of light-duty trucks, roughly 4,000 to 4,500 of which are Chevrolet Colorados.
USIC’s techs are essentially independent workers. They receive their daily work assignments through the computer in their vehicle, do the work, then send in a completion report. “It’s very important for them to have that reliability since they’re basically on their own. Reliable transportation is a huge part of their daily work,” says Phil Samuelson, fleet and capital asset manager, USIC.
USIC’s service is also driven by on-time performance requirements. In most states, the company has to perform those duties within 48 hours—and that’s by law. So, USIC turned to the Colorado for the benefits the vehicle provides and the support from GM Fleet that comes with it. “We moved to the Colorado a couple of years ago, when we were probably the first major purchaser of the unit. Going into year two, we are seeing a benefit in our fuel economy across the fleet. GM also works with our leasing company on making sure our production dates are in line and getting our vehicles to our upfitters on time,” says Samuelson.
2016 Chevrolet Colorado front view. All photos ©General Motors.
USIC’s busy season is directly correlated to construction season. “We do somewhere around 70 million service tickets per year, whether it be gas or power, fiber, or internet service providers—we’re knee-deep in all of that when it comes to construction,” says Samuelson, explaining that when construction season hits heavy, “We call that peak dig season, so we’re always needing vehicles in a very tight, very specific timeline. GM does a great job of working with us on that.”
LV Turner, GM’s fleet account executive responsible for USIC, explains, “Phil needed a large amount of vehicles, roughly 500 vehicles, to meet that target at peak dig season. We had to work with our suppliers and the manufacturing group to insure that we could get the spec vehicle that he needed, in the quantity he needed, and rapidly.”
RELYING ON TELEMATICS
USIC has the option of using the on-board telematics hardware GM Fleet offers, eliminating third-party contracts for plug-and-play systems that may not work as efficiently. The telematics from GM Fleet can analyze a wide range of data. “Plug-in apparatuses are just a nightmare to manage,” says Samuelson.
“We use telematics for a lot of different things—driver safety programs, we monitor all of our drivers’ performance and habits, including seat-belt usage, deceleration, acceleration, speeding, everything that goes into trying to make our drivers safer.
“A lot of the contracts we have require us to do certain sorts of audits, so it’s really helpful to use telematics to know the location and whereabouts of our vehicles at all times, so we can dispatch or use them appropriately to minimize windshield time.”
GM Fleet brings something more to the table, not just by listening to customer input, but by running a sounding board compiled of a group of differing segment customers across the country. Steve Higgs, manager of global fleet development, GM Fleet, explains, “Phil is part of that North America commercial sounding group. We meet twice a year and have two conference calls or WebExes per year, so Phil has quite an input into future fleet strategy programs.”
USIC’s fleet is mostly made up of light-duty trucks, roughly 4,000 to 4,500 of which are Chevrolet Colorados.
“There is a huge benefit in being able to be part of the opportunity to look at and provide feedback for GM, and it goes a long way,” Samuelson explains. “The voice of our fleet is being heard. We’ve seen things come out of it that we feel are very beneficial. We’ve actually seen product changes. GM listens to the voice of the fleet customer.”
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