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Innovation Increases Plumbers Productivity and Efficiency

In: Business and Management

Submitted By BenitoCamelo
Words 884
Pages 4

The purpose of this report was to provide a review of current tracking alternatives.

INTRODUCTION Companies in the plumbing industry may use a unique service or product that will help differentiate them from competitors. Technology, nowadays, has become a ubiquitous tool that can be tailored to a company and help thrive in customer intimacy, product leadership, or operational excellence. As a result, plumbing companies can deliver services more efficient and effective. Companies that have taken leadership positions in their industries have done so by focusing on delivering superior customer value in line with one of the three value disciplines-operational excellence, customer intimacy, or product leadership (Treacy, M, 1993).

Innovation can be a critical success factor for Roto Plumber by bringing valuable assets to the company. For example, adopting tracking devices such as GPS to track vehicle location and displaying employee’s estimated time to complete job. Indeed, all plumbing companies are being forced to adapt to innovation (The Pipeline, 2013, p.4). Although not all efforts in innovation will succeed, it helps attract young people who in turn bring fresh ideas and opportunities to the company. The effective use of tracking devices will help increase plumber’s productivity and efficiency.

BACKGROUND The company, Roto Plumber, matches members of a pool of about 12 plumbers with requests for plumbing services. The plumbers are either licensed or apprentice plumbers that earn an average of $45 an hour while on a job. In addition, the plumber’s time is billed at $90 an hour for a licensed plumber and $55 for an apprentice. The plumbers own their own tools and trucks, and supply materials from their trucks or make a trip to obtain them. The materials acquired are supplied by Roto Plumber. Roto Plumber trucks carry the company’s logotype and signage. Customer service requests are taken by phone and then assigned to the plumbers.

Companies in the plumbing industry face challenges across an increasingly complex environment on a daily basis (see Figure 1). Requests for a plumber are prompted throughout all San Diego County. The root problem resides with headquarters office relying on cell phone calls to determine plumber’s availability and location. However, the plumbers need to complete each job before becoming available for the next job in queue. The duration of the job is not always definite and may require the plumber to travel a substantial distance. Consequently, the vehicle may idle for periods of time and increase fuel costs. The problem can be solved by implementing innovative tracking devices such as GPS or RFID to track the location of various plumbers and queue jobs based on proximity and job completion status.


A brief description of mobile and GPS tracking devices are described in random order.

Mobile Tracking Software Today, mobile devices such as smartphones, mobile phones, and hand-helds have become more prevalent in localization based services. The proliferation of smartphone as data-collecting devices, the industry focus has begun to change from hardware device focus to an integrated software focus (Trimble & Bowman, 2012). See Table 2 for three possible mobile tracking software and features.

LocQus LocQus is a field management solution designed for your smartphone, tablet, or desktop. The basic application available to download for free on the App Store or Google play. However, Premium account has numerous extra features and add-ons such as vehicle tracking. Getting LocQus Premium is priced at $12 per user plus additional fees for vehicle. LocQus has a major advantage of completing accounting such as creating quotes and invoices via mobile and traking credit/debit card payments.

Global Positioning System (GPS) Tracking A Global Positioning System provides three-dimension position, velocity and time information about any point on the earth with high precision by receiving radio signals from satellites (Higuchi, Saito, Iwahashi & Usui, 2004). Currently, in most cases the GPS is used for urban personal positioning and vehicular positioning. When combined with a mapping program, GPS produces a complete real-time depiction of the vehicle or person to which the tracking device is attached. Table 3 shows comparison of top three GPS tracking devices ideal for Roto Plumber.


In this report, both mobile software and GPS tracking devices are explained to help increase productivity and efficiency. Furthermore, both tracking alternatives offer the solution to Roto Plumber’s problem, tracking plumber’s location to improve productivity and efficiency. Productivity is improved by solving more customer service requests since they can assign a job faster by looking at the closest plumber available. Any of the recommendations in Table 4 can be implemented into Roto Plumber’s business. The decision is broken down to preference of either having more functional features or ease of use.


In spite of all the recommended tracking alternatives, I highly encourage Roto Plumber to start with a GPS tracking device. The Smart Tracker is the top recommended GPS tracking device because it provides location services at a low cost and it’s relatively easy to use. Another reason is that innovation involves risks such as employee learning to use the new device or employee ultimately using the device. Although mobile software can provide numerous productivity features, it may be more complex to use and heavily rely on cellular network or satellite. A GPS tracking device can deliver better accuracy and signal attenuation.

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