ABAX | Digital tools for running a business

ABAX | Digital tools for running a business

With digital tools offering plumbers assistance with running a business, PHPI caught up with Craig Allan, Program Director, ABAX, to discover more about the benefits of the company’s solution.

Q. Rising fuel costs have left many plumbers and heating engineers looking for ways to manage vehicle use more effectively. Can the ABAX solution help achieve this? 

The ABAX solution works in a number of ways, but ultimately, it providers business with total visibility over a fleet from driving styles, route planning and even idling. Of course, it offers theft protection and aids recovery should a vehicle be stolen – but when it comes to effectively managing vehicles and driving down costs, we talk about the following: 

The cold weather is now upon us – which means idling time starts to creep up. 

Sitting in a stationary car with the engine running wastes around 500ml every 15 mins, equating to two litres per hour. The monetary impact of this for just one vehicle alone adds up, but when it’s a fleet of three or more, the costs start to rise. 

Idling will also reduce business capacity and add to your repair and maintenance costs. Fuel isn’t fully combusted when a vehicle idles, and residue builds up, damaging exhaust systems and engine components – leading to costly vehicle downtime and repairs. 

Driving styles
Our customer data demonstrates that bad driving impacts fuel efficiency by almost 20%. 

Common occurrences like speeding, sudden acceleration and harsh braking don’t just jeopardise the safety of other road users; they vastly increase fuel consumption due to air and tyre rolling resistance. 

Reducing speed to 50 or lower and using gradual acceleration and braking can reduce fuel consumption by as little as 7% and as much as 14%. 

Harsh braking has an enormous impact on tyre wear and tear and reduces the lifespan of brakes and brake pads, requiring more frequent changes. It will come as no surprise that poor driving leads to a higher number of accidents, with the cost of an accident being 36 times higher than the cost of a basic repair – driving style is a severe cause of concern for businesses operating vehicles. 

Our Driver Behaviour feature is used by hundreds of businesses to monitor driving styles, spot opportunity for training, reducing fuel bills, vehicle wear and tear and protect brand image in the long term. 

Midtech Building Services Ltd, share the benefits they have experienced since installing the ABAX system: “Since having ABAX onboard, the lads have drastically changed their driving behaviour. We use the ABAX service notification to keep track of mileage, and we can also identify who is responsible for a parking or speeding ticket if they are issued to one of our vehicles.” 

Route Planning
Route planning allows you to more effectively plan the days work by using a map feature, reducing unnecessary trips. It also means that you have a one-pane view of all the vehicles in your fleet at any one time – should an urgent job come in – you can easily see who is closest without wasting time making phone calls to see who can be assigned.  


Q. How does Driving Behaviour and Driver ID work and what are the benefits of these solutions to a business operating multiple vehicles?

ABAX Driver ID is an essential service for companies that operate vehicles shared by multiple drivers. By identifying which driver is in what vehicle, ABAX Driver ID will help you get the additional control, accountability and compliance you need to manage your pool fleet 

  • business mileage logs for your drivers and pool fleet are paperless, compliant and auditable 
  • reduced administrative workload with digital timesheets and working hours for each driver 
  • individual driver behaviour monitoring in your shared vehicles to promote safe and efficient driving 

As one of ABAX customers, Spirotech, says: “ABAX solutions allows us to monitor driving behaviour to ensure our vehicles are being driven safely and legally. Matching up the timesheets alongside the tracking information helps us to cross reference any discrepancies. We also use the service notification feature which adds to the time efficiency and safety of the business and our vehicles.” 

Driver ID and Vehicle Tracking go hand in hand with Driving Behaviour – which is our solution to track how your drivers are navigating the road, reducing overall risk and ensuring company driving policies are being adhered. A fleet that is driven efficiently and safely costs less overall in fuel and servicing, is greener and has fewer accidents.  

ABAX Driving Behaviour uses the AI technology to create an average score based on all company drivers and UK fleet average. The key elements deciding the score, where 100 is top, are acceleration, harsh braking, harsh turns right, left and idling. The score will show wherever the driver is below or above the average for your company which creates a great way to increase employee engagement through gamification.    

Q. Tool theft from vans is a real problem for many plumbers. How can ABAX help?

A study by Simply Business reports that one in three tradespeople have fallen victim to tool theft and they suggest that on average, this results in £3,005 in lost earnings and replacement tools alone.  

Our ABAX Mini solution is our smallest tracking, designed specifically to be used across all kinds of tools and non-powered assets.  

We like to think of it as ‘proactive’ theft prevention, giving you peace of mind that should tools be stolen, you can be alerted, view the location on the ABAX App and increase chances of recovering items.  

But further to this, lost and misplaced tools can be just as much as a time-drain on a business, with the average number of hours spent locating lost tools amounting to 38 hours each year. With the use of ABAX mini and the ABAX app, that wasted time can be eliminated.  

Q. How does the mini2 tracking system work and how could a plumber use the solution?

The ABAX MINI2 is a small and lightweight bluetooth tracker that communicates with all IoT gateways in the ABAX global network as well with the ABAX mobile apps for drivers and administrators. The size of these small tracking devices makes them perfect to be fitted on expensive small equipment such as power tools, or in kit bags. 

Because they use alternative technology to traditional GSM cellular network connectivity, mini tracking devices are not only discreet and difficult for thieves to visually detect but are often immune to ‘jammers’ reportedly used by criminals. 

Q. How can your solutions help improve levels of customer service?

The transparency and visibility our system provides can be directly passed onto customers. Being able to provide accurate arrival times or proactively alert them to changes in the schedule, or easily book in urgent jobs can turn customers into loyal brand advocates that refer your business.  

Our customers Red Van Plumbing said: “It is a tool that allows us to find out exactly where our engineers are without having to interrupt them while they are working. If a customer calls to find out where the engineer is, we can use the tracker to give them an accurate time of arrival without having to contact the engineer and calling the customer back.” 

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