Time to Get the John Deere?

time to get the john deere?

Do you remember your first lawnmower?  If your experience is like mine, you got your first house, situated on a postage-stamp-sized lot – but it did have grass to mow.  So I got an inexpensive walk-behind (power) lawnmower – which was actually a big step forward from the reel mower I used at my parent’s house.

Then the family grows and we move to a bigger home, with more grass.  My aunt described my uncle this way: “He’s not cheap, but he is careful.”   Being from the same gene pool,  I figured the old mower was “good enough,” and I made it work – even though my (wiser, and more experienced) neighbors had already figured out that a John Deere riding mower was a much better choice.  Fortunately, I did get a somewhat larger, self-propelled walk-behind as a Father’s Day gift – but this too was just another “not quite good enough” option.

The next move came with even more grass.  It was clearly time to go to the John Deere dealer, but I had a lot of experience and familiarity with that old mower, and so, even though I knew it was unsustainable,  I continued to hold out.. until the pain became unbearable.

So what does this have to do with tow management solutions?  Some of you may be like me and my lawnmowers – you got started with software which was “good enough.”  However, as your business has grown and your team has become more capable, you realize that your tow management solution (that was such a big step forward in the beginning) is now actually preventing you from reaching your full performance potential.

That’s where Ranger can help.  Ranger SST provides a solution that you can grow into and never grow out of.  From “lift-off” in 2004, Ranger has focused on helping customers to achieve and sustain a higher trajectory in Operational Productivity more calls per driver while using less fuel!   These benefits flow straight to the bottom line of your company – increasing profitability.

Ranger also provides advanced tools for improvements in administrative efficiency such as multiple options for linking to QuickBooks, invoices, statements, commissions, performance reporting, and going paperless — including the printing of invoices in the truck, if needed.   These administrative efficiencies are very helpful and streamline processes, even though financial savings may be elusive without reductions in staffing.

The following list highlight a few of the opportunities for improvements in Operational Productivity with the Ranger Tow Management Solution:

Performance Improvement Opportunity #1 –  Dispatching From The Map

Every product has something for Dispatch.  Ranger has built proprietary capabilities for GPS tracking/mapping of trucks on top of Google maps – expensive, but much better than alternatives.  Of greater relevance, Ranger’s mapping solution is fully integrated with the Dispatch Board – NOT a “bolt-on” from a separate provider.   This provides the foundation for Ranger to provide SmartDispatchTM  – which enables visual, drag & drop dispatch from the map.  Dispatchers can see truck location and type – icons that actually look like your trucks.  More importantly, they can review all open jobs and all available trucks to make better deployment decisions — shortening ETA’s, and lowering fuel costs.

Ranger SST dispatching

You can choose to view just available trucks, or all trucks that are “soon to be available”, i.e., close to their Dropped location.  Better deployment translates to more calls per driver, less fuel consumed, and more profits on your bottom line.

Performance Improvement Opportunity #2 –  Robust Mobile Solution For Drivers

Ranger’s  CommLinkTM has long been the leading, highest reliability driver-centric mobile solution in the industry — and best of all … it actually works!  As you would expect, drivers get all call information and “Garmin-like” navigation to incident and destination locations.  They can take pictures – automatically linked to the job record.

As importantly, drivers receive account-specific pricing sent by Dispatch and have the option to add on-site Extras (entering quantities) to the charges.  The device does all of the pricing calculations — drivers don’t need to know the rate book, or do math.  Drivers can pre-authorize credit cards at Arrived and take payments at Clear — directly with CommLinkTM —  so no separate credit card app or device (or airtime) is required.

  • High reliability messaging (NOT text, email)
  • All job details and pricing sent to the driver
  • Multiple options for driver pricing role/input
  • Turn-by-turn directions and navigation
  • One-click to call customer from smart phone
  • Picture-taking: vehicle, driver information
  • Pictures: over the network, or Wi-Fi (save $)
  • Make/model/VIN from license plate entry
  • Signature capture – consent to tow
  • Signature + pictures for pre-existing damage
  • Signature capture – payment responsibility
  • SmartOdometer – device “enters” rolling miles
  • Verbal entry of notes by driver
  • Entry of vehicle and customer information
  • VIN barcode scanning
  • Differentiated ring-tones by message type
  • On-site entry of all extras
  • Entry of Advance Payouts as required
  • Manual CC entry or use of CC reader/swipe
  • Pre-authorization of credit cards on-site
  • Update of Dropped location as needed
  • Mobile Device Management – “lockdown”
  • Customer entry of e-mail address for invoice
  • Routing to avoid restricted roads
  • Reminders to driver for VIN, BOL, etc.
  • View/print (BOL) documents in the truck
  • Pre- and post-trip inspections

Most customers get started with drivers entering only statuses (e.g., “Arrived”), but soon discover that drivers find the tablet quite intuitive and can enter more information which accelerates business processes.  Drivers can take the right payments and clear calls while on-site.  Perhaps less transparent, there is a significant benefit in shifting how dispatchers spend their time — from talking to drivers, to talking to customers (pinpointing locations so that drivers arrive sooner, and providing updates for higher customer satisfaction).

Performance Improvement Opportunity #3 – Storage Lot Management

storage lot management ranger sstLike many competing alternatives, Ranger’s  LotMasterTM provides all of the functionality expected in a storage lot solution for tracking and pricing vehicles.  This includes integration with Auto Data Direct for DMV 123 (registered owner and lien holder information) and Direct Post Office (DPO – tracking the certified mail process)

lotmaster mobile app

But in addition, there is also a special mobile application for those managing the lot.  The most common use for this mobile towing app is continued picture-taking.  The record of pictures that begins with the tow job, follows the vehicle into the lot, can be extended while the vehicle is being stored, and ends with a final picture when the vehicle is discharged.

In an increasingly litigious culture, the “cradle-to-grave” pictures (automatically linked to the job record) are valuable in reducing liability exposures.

The LotMasterTM mobile app is also designed to streamline the process for taking physical inventories of vehicles.  By placing an inexpensive “QR Code” (bar code) on the vehicle at Admit, it becomes electronically tagged in Ranger.  A lot attendant can then survey the lot with the mobile app, recording each vehicle by scanning the QR code.

At the conclusion of the survey, a report can be generated that identifies variances, if any, with the data in Ranger. There is also a user-defined workflow management tool to track the progress of a vehicle in the lot (from Admit through Lien Letter processing steps to Release, Disposal, or Auction).  It highlights if your team is on track with your target dates for process completion, or whether “catch-up” is needed to keep cash flowing.

lotmaster workflow management

Performance Improvement Opportunity #4 – Transport Management

transport management ranger sst

TransportOpsTM  is aimed at three towing-related applications: transporting construction equipment (e.g., between a rental location and a building site), moving containers (e.g., to/from multi-modal shipping points), and relocating automobiles for auction (e.g., from a towing company storage lot to a regional auction facility).  The process allows dispatchers to plan/schedule their loads for the next few days by truck and driver – an advance plan, not ad hoc responses.

In late afternoon,  text messages can be sent via Ranger to each driver on their personal smart phone, providing advance notice to drivers on their assignment for the coming day.  The next morning when drivers log intoCommLinkTM, the assignments are automatically dispatched to the driver’s mobile device — eliminating the need for manual assignments by dispatchers.  Dashboards for the Transport Manager provide information to confirm drivers have received and acknowledged the requisite information, and to track their progress on each call.  And, of course, make the inevitable schedule adjustments.

transport ops ranger sst

Performance Improvement Opportunity #5 – Private Property Enforcement

private property enforcement ranger sstThe latest addition to the Ranger software suite is PatrolWorksTM for private property enforcement (Relocation) –  whether a current core business, or an opportunity for diversification and growth.   The solution enables towing companies to configure lot-specific requirements for each of their customers (e.g., apartments, hospitals), including scheduling and the rules governing each customer’s individual violation type (e.g., grace period, approval requirements). Spotters can be assigned to zones and/or individual lots.

The PatrolWorksTM mobile app navigates spotters to the assigned lot, and provides a listing of any vehicles that have already been tagged.  Spotters can update pending violations and enter new violations — including pictures.  In locales where patrolling is not permitted, a willing property manager or third-party security firm could use the mobile app for entry, updating, and/or approval of parking violations.

Once entered into PatrolWorksTM , the Ranger  rules engine manages the process – including the automatic sending of approval requests to the designated Property Manager with the relevant information and pictures.   When the prerequisites have been satisfied, the towing opportunity can be executed directly by the spotter, or be automatically forwarded to DispatchDirectTM for the assignment of a tow truck – including navigation to the exact location where the violation was recorded.  Impounded vehicles are processed through LotMasterTM – along with other vehicles in the storage lot.

patrolworks ranger sst

Performance Improvement Opportunity #6 – Hours of Service

Ranger has long had a fully integrated fixed-in-vehicle GPS solution.  Most find that this service provides not only all of the needed functionality, but is delivered at a fraction of the cost – 25% to 50% less than competing alternatives.  It includes fraud alerts (PTO on, but no assigned job) and theft alerts, tracks rapid acceleration and hard braking/cornering, and generates state mileage reports.

In anticipation of upcoming DOT regulations, Ranger HOS-ELDTM   provides an integrated Hours of Service application (also known as ELD – Electronic Logging Device) as an integral part of the Ranger tow management solution.  This HOS capability – certified by FMCSA – operates on the same tablet drivers use for receiving and updating tow calls.

ranger sst hours of service

For more information on the ELD mandate go to: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/hours-service/elds/drivers-and-carriers

The scope of the Ranger tow management software solution – both breadth and depth – is unmatched.  The advanced,  “mobile-enabled” functionality enables significant improvements in business performance.  However, functionality without reliability (e.g., uptime, no app “crashes”) is of little value.  Reliability is often an afterthought until the system is not working.  Ranger has invested heavily for reliability/uptime.  The solution is hosted in a commercial data center with redundant internet, power, and cooling — with the latest in security.  All data is backed up nightly.  There is redundancy built into each component of the Ranger infrastructure architecture.  And in a “worst case” scenario, Ranger even has a disaster recovery solution in place to fail-over to a different data center location.  Ranger functionality comes with reliability.

So, are you ready to step up from the push mower?  And, maybe you will be wise enough to skip the “self-propelled” step and go straight to the John Deere?  As one customer emphasizes: “Invest toward where you want to go!”

Ranger is a solution you can grow into and never grow out of.  We have created a library of training videos to help your team to quickly get up “the learning curve.” If you are looking to achieve a higher level of performance, contact us today!

We often use the tag line:  advanced technology – superior performance.  If you need more from your tow management solution to reach your objectives, give us a call and let us show you the  #1 All-In-One Tow Management Solution!   We look forward to putting Ranger Service Solutions Technology to work for you!

Top 10 Logistics SoftwareAs Chosen by CIO Applications Magazine in 2019
Ranger - Top Ten Logistics SolutionLearn More