Keeping track of the flock is an age-old problem. Ford now offers a solution with Crew Chief, a new real-time technology that allows fleet managers to track vehicle location, diagnostics and driver behavior.
Powered by Telogis, Crew Chief monitors the physical location of vehicles in a fleet from stop to stop by using traditional GPS data. This cutting edge technology also provides feedback on diagnostics like fuel consumption, carbon dioxide emissions and tire pressure.
A unique and groundbreaking feature of Crew Chief is the ability to monitor driver behavior and performance such as safety belt usage, starting and stopping harshly, operation outside of normal business hours and areas and excess idling or speeding.
The Crew Chief hardware is mounted out of sight underneath the dashboard and can be factory or dealer installed. The system automatically engages whenever the vehicle is started. Proprietary data is collected from the engine’s computer and transmitted wirelessly to a web-based interface that is accessible exclusively to the fleet manager.
Fleet managers do not have to constantly be at a computer in order to monitor the Crew Chief system. Custom reports can be e-mailed once a day, once a week or once a month, depending on the specific needs of a company. E-mail alerts can also be set up to notify the fleet manager of immediate concerns such as airbag deployment, operators not wearing a seatbelt or excessive speeding.
Crew Chief can generate fuel savings of between 10 and 20 percent, and it helps improve driver safety and vehicle durability.
“Driver behavior has so much influence on not only fuel efficiency, but on the overall maintenance and life of a vehicle,” said Bill Frykman, Ford Work Solutions Product and Business Development Manager. “The U.S. Department of Energy reports that aggressive driving decreases fuel economy by up to 33 percent. With Crew Chief, Ford is deploying smart technology to deliver green driving results.”
A new feature of Crew Chief on some 2011 Ford models includes Oil Life Minder, a more accurate assessment of oil life than traditional mileage-based calculations. Another new option delivers information on speed compared against posted speed limits.
Crew Chief is available on the Ford F-150, Super Duty, E-Series vans and the Transit Connect. It is also being tested on the Escape and Fusion. A three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty is available when Crew Chief is fitted to the vehicle at the factory. Crew Chief can be serviced at any Ford dealership, and the hardware can be retrofitted to older Fords, even non-Ford vehicles.
Clear communication is essential when managing a fleet of drivers. Through a dynamic technology such as Crew Chief, fleet managers can now keep a constant eye on their operations while improving safety and efficiency at the same time. Once again, Ford stays a step ahead of the competition thanks to the development of practical tools like Crew Chief.