Forecourt equipment and services provider Gilbarco Veeder-Root has invested in route planning software from Fast Lean Smart (FLS) to improve the service its engineers provide to dealers.

When FLS approached Gilbarco with promises of radically improved scheduling efficiency through automation, David Cope, UK operations director for Gilbarco Veeder-Root, was sceptical because an earlier attempt at automation had failed. “We’d tried scheduling software before and it didn’t work, so I wasn’t sure how Visitour was going to benefit us,” said Cope.

The main reason Gilbarco Veeder-Root was willing to consider a change was because FLS lets prospective customers trial its software first. Cope explained: “FLS were keen for us to see that it worked in practice and come to our own conclusions before committing to a sale. We didn’t have that choice with the old system.

“As a first step they offered to run a test using data from planned maintenance and customer callouts we had scheduled manually. We were expecting them to say that their software could schedule our callouts maybe 5-10% more efficiently. When they brought back a figure of 30-40%, it really was too compelling to ignore and we therefore agreed proceed with a trial.”

Gilbarco Veeder-Root trialled FLS Visitour and FLS Mobile in live use for a chosen geographic area. FLS Visitour schedules callouts and plans optimised appointments and routes in real time, taking into account traffic-based driving times and the changing priorities of the business. FLS Mobile provides comprehensive on-the-road support for field engineers and streamlines communication between them, the office and the customer.

Cope commented: “We were impressed with the results. FLS Visitour makes intelligent decisions based on what’s important to our business, and can adapt quickly to changing circumstances in a way the old system couldn’t.

FLS Mobile is going to improve the service we provide, particularly to our independent dealers, who we’ve had trouble keeping in touch with because of the complexity involved. FLS Mobile will keep them up to date by sending automated messages with our arrival times.”

Following the successful trial, an interface was required between FLS and Gilbarco Veeder-Root’s service management system to prepare for roll-out. Gilbarco’s system has limited integration support and FLS worked with the supplier’s developers to create an innovative solution.

Cope added: “We were determined to solve the interface because we knew the size of the prize. The one thing that stood out through the transition was that FLS were always on hand to assist us, FLS could stand for Fast Lean Smart or Friends Lending Support — both fit well for me. We are delighted with our choice of FLS and to have enabled the benefits of Visitour to be realised nationally.”