GPS Helping Companies Save on Fuel Costs

Elk Grove Village company says it's on track to save about $40,000 this year

By Charlie Wojciechowski
|  Friday, Mar 4, 2011  |  Updated 6:45 PM CDT
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One <a title=Chicago-area company says technology is helping to put it on track to save about $40,000 this year." />

One Chicago-area company says technology is helping to put it on track to save about $40,000 this year.

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Being on the cutting edge is nothing new for the Jorson & Carlson Company. Since 1917, the Elk Grove Village-based firm has supplied the paper industry with a variety of blades and cutting tools.

But when the company adopted a GPS-based fleet management system to get a better handle on a fleet spread across the Midwest and the South, it noticed a side benefit. The system was saving them gas.

"We’ve been able to eliminate one tank of gas per vehicle per week," said company director Woodrow Powers III.  "We save upwards of $40,000 a year."

The GPS modules are buried in the dashboards of Jorson & Carlson's service vans. They turn on every time the ignition started. Initially, they were installed to improve routing efficiency and to keep an eye on drivers who often start their days from home. Powers said the company has been able to shave miles off its routes in an effort to make its drivers as efficient as possible.

The system Jorson & Carlson uses comes from

Glenview-based Navman Wireless

. It monitors the vehicle’s speed and idling state. It can also alert the company when a vehicle drives out of a pre-defined zone known as a "geofence." 

Company CEO T.J. Chung estimates that, when used properly, it can cut fuel costs by an estimated 13 percent.

"The first sign of wasting fuel is idling," said Chung.  "The engine should not be running when the vehicle is not moving." 

Navman’s system allows companies to monitor drivers and teach them to improve their habits to save fuel.

Navman currently charges $40 a month for each vehicle it monitors. That price includes the hardware and the software.

The software also monitors a fleet's maintenance history and encourages drivers to do things like change filters and inflate tires. Powers said that kind of improved maintenance is crucial to gas savings.

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