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Jewish Family Services

Driving forward to a keyless motor pool

Jewish Family Service (JFS) of Atlantic and Cape May Counties New Jersey offers a broad range of social services, from supporting mental health to providing vital daily aid. JFS assists 13,000 individuals yearly with indispensable services, including accompanying clients to job interviews, medical appointments, and for groceries. To boost the efficiency of their expanding operations, JFS transitioned to a keyless motor pool system. This crucial advancement, involving nearly 60 vehicles in 5 locations, helps them deliver services more effectively.

Christina Swank, Associate Director of Administrative Services at Jewish Family Service of Atlantic County (JFS), shared insights on recognizing when a motor pool is ready for a keyless system, the benefits of going digital, and how to plan the transition smoothly.

Jewish Family Service volunteer enjoying the efficiency of a keyless motor pool

The Challenge

Managing a growing fleet was becoming increasingly complex and costly. Reliant on an honor system combined with a key box and clipboard, JFS faced rising operational costs and inefficiencies. 

“As our programs grew, more staff members were added, more programs were added, more cars were added, the honor system wasn’t working. People needed a car, but names got crossed off the clipboard, and when they came in their reserved car wouldn’t be there.”

Overbooking, employee conflicts, key management headaches, and increasingly complex operations highlighted the need for a more advanced solution. JFS decided to explore a keyless system solution.

The Solution

INVERS and Launch Mobility partnered to implement a keyless, app-based vehicle-sharing system better suited to running a growing fleet across multiple locations. This innovative technology offered efficiency and significant improvements in vehicle utilization and management.

Jewish Family Service volunteer loading up one of the vehicles of JFS's keyless motor pool

The Transformation Journey

The implementation process involved detailed planning, comprehensive training for staff, and a pilot phase to iron out unforeseen issues.

Christina emphasized the importance of clear communication, as the switch from a low-tech bladed key to an app could have been challenging for less tech-savvy users. She ensured everyone was comfortable using the new app through staff meetings, emails with tips, and one-on-one sessions.

She used both written and in-person communication to make the training effective: “For training on the app, we had staff meetings, and I also put out emails with hacks and screenshots to give staff little, helpful hints. If they were still having issues, I’d walk out to the car with them and say, ‘Show me what you’re doing, and let’s walk through this together.’

Additionally Christina highlighted the importance of having an internal champion during the pilot phase. This beta-tester was eager to use a car equipped with the new keyless system in various situations. The tester also made recommendations to INVERS and Launch Mobility to make the system better suited to JFS staff needs.

The Importance of Pilot Phases

Planning is a critical part of any technology implementation project. However, Christina knew that you can plan as much as you want, and users will still find a way to break things. Real-world user interaction often reveals unforeseen challenges. Pilot phases allow for identifying and addressing those challenges along with faulty assumptions. This helps to ensure a smoother full-scale implementation.

Paul Hirsch, CEO of Launch Mobility, noted that it is essential that the pilot phases test the technology and the operational aspects:

Christina went in and made certain assumptions on how vehicles will be used in a motor pool, and those are the things she needed to test. For those tests, it was important to build up sufficient activity during the pilot, to understand how much a system can support.”

A thorough pilot will help operators fine-tune the balance between vehicles, demand, and utilization to have the right vehicles at the right place and time.

A pilot will also uncover situations that planning may have overlooked. What happens when a driver realizes they left their umbrella after finishing their ride, for example? Can you start a new booking just to retrieve the umbrella? Should there be a grace period? What if the car has been reserved for the next driver already? It’s better to run into these situations for the first time during a controlled pilot, rather than after the project is launched.

Jewish Family Service (JFS) volunteer, Joseph

Impact and Benefits of a Keyless Motor Pool System

The switch resulted in significant operational savings, reduced time spent on vehicle administration, and enhanced employee safety. The system improved fleet utilization and enabled more efficient service delivery to the community.

Operational Efficiency and Cost Savings

In the first year after implementing their keyless motor pool system, JFS saved $10,000 on parking, tolls, and drivers’ mileage and time reimbursements.

JFS also got lower insurance rates for their fleet since the telematics hardware enabled remote immobilization and GPS location.

Enhanced Employee Safety and Security

The ability to remotely lock, immobilize, and track vehicles improved safety for employees and allowed for quick assistance in emergencies. Drivers no longer felt compelled to stay with the vehicle in unsafe situations. Christina shared that because they are a social services agency, there has been incidents where their staff had to pull over and stop the vehicle. In these cases, if the passenger refuses to leave the vehicle, their staff can simply vacate to safety and immobilize the vehicle via the app.

The GPS location is great. If there is a breakdown, I am able to pull up the GPS location on either my dashboard or the INVERS app, and pinpoint the exact location and I can send a tow truck driver or roadside assistance to help my driver that’s stranded.

Improved Fleet Utilization

With real-time data and analytics, the JFS team allocates vehicles more efficiently across locations. This reduces idle time, and prevents overbooking. Christina monitors all bookings via the dashboard, from where she can easily detect unusual bookings. Going digital gave JFS oversight and allowed them to adjust their policies to minimize double bookings. It also encouraged staff to reserve cars for only the time they needed them. Insights from digital reports help the team balance their fleet efficiently by identifying high and low-demand locations.

Preventative Maintenance

During our webinar, we asked our audience how they know when to perform maintenance on their vehicles. Here’s how they answered:

Many operators opt for regular maintenance intervals based on mileage – JFS was no different.

Prior to the keyless entry system, we would physically check all the vehicles for the mileage intervals, which means a person had to go out to every location, whether it was weekly or biweekly, and record the mileage. It was a big part of your day with 4 locations in a wide expansive southern New Jersey. They’re out for the day, just recording mileage. With the keyless entry system, I can log on and check the mileage, look at my interval sheet and decide when the vehicle needs to be taken in for service. It’s a big help – literally taking me half an hour to go through all 60 cars to look at the mileages.”

A digital system lets you check odometer mileage without physically accessing the vehicle, simplifying tracking.

Christina also added that, “I also get a low battery alert, which is very helpful because we are a 24/7 agency, it helps me if I see a battery is dead, and I can get the day started early, get somebody out there and get the battery jumpstarted so our staff member is not waiting for a car.”

Future Vision

Encouraged by the success of the keyless motor pool vehicle-sharing system, JFS expanded its fleet from 50 vehicles and 4 locations, to 60 vehicles across 5 locations. They look forward to leveraging this technology further to enhance their service delivery and operational capabilities.

By collaborating with INVERS and Launch to integrate keyless systems hardware and software, JFS experienced significant enhancements in operational efficiency and employee satisfaction. Interested in achieving similar outcomes for your motor pool fleet? Reach out to us today!

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