COMPANY:
Wash Multifamily Laundry Systems

OPERATION:
A laundry services business with facilities in California, Nevada and Hawaii

PROBLEM:

Wash Multifamily Laundry Systems, formerly Web Service Co., began as a family-owned business in 1947 and is now owned by institutional investors. Today, the company provides services to more than 275,000 coin-operated washers and dryers in three states, using a fleet of about 350 vans and more than 500 employees to get the job done. Until recently, they were relying on three separate systems to manage vehicle tracking, fuel and fleet maintenance/management. According to COO Chris Hannum, it was not easy to keep the separate systems aligned or to create the reports needed to help the company reduce costs and improve efficiencies.

They were also looking for a better way to control fuel costs, he notes, and to gain more visibility into what was actually happening out on the road. “We used to give drivers a fuel card for a particular fuel supplier,” Hannum says, “but that was not always the best choice. Some drivers were going out of route to get to one of those stations and we had no way to tell if someone was using premium fuel instead of medium-grade fuel or spending over the set limit.”

SOLUTION:

Wash Multifamily Laundry Systems chose to work with GE Capital Fleet Services in October of 2010. “We initially looked at GE's leasing services, but quickly saw the value of the Monitor and Intelligent Ops integrated with the telematics solution,” recalls Hannum. “The GE solution gives us exactly what we wanted: tracking, fuel-purchase management and fleet maintenance/management all in one integrated system. As an additional benefit, it is built on a SaaS model so there was no involvement from our IT department during the setup.”

“I am very impressed with the Intelligent Ops application,” he notes. “It seems light years ahead of our previous systems. The GE telematics solution allows us to see current and historical vehicle location as well as average time on location to determine high-cost customers. The out-of-the-box metrics are perfect for us. At the click of a mouse, charts turn to maps showing detailed travel information, customer stops, branch and storage facilities, vendors, unknown locations, and travel time.

“On the maintenance side, we have direct access to fault codes through the OBD II onboard diagnostics system,” he adds, “and are notified of potential problems. We can also track idling, speeding and the use of unauthorized service facilities, as well as see if we have underutilized vehicles in the fleet.”

Another thing Hannum likes is the access to GE's fleet management expertise. “We have a GE analyst personally assigned to our account who will provide bi-annual reviews, which are important to us,” he says. “GE is helping to oversee the entire fleet for us, allowing us to focus attention on our own business.”

When it comes to fueling, Hannum says GE's fuel-card system has given Wash a greatly enhanced view of what is actually taking place out on the road and a better way to control fuel costs. “Now I can set regional cost ceilings as well as see if someone is using premium-grade fuel versus medium grade or spending over the set limits,” he says.

While the company is still in the implementation phase with the GE system, Hannum is already considering adding other functions. “We are also looking at GE's driver training program and accident management services,” he says, “but we aren't there yet.”