North West Media Services – Outdoor Advertising

The Company

North West Media Services (NWMS) is an outdoor advertising services company based in and serving the North West of England. Dealing with some of the most high-profile advertising locations in some of the North's biggest cities including Manchester, Liverpool and Blackpool, NWMS's team of mobile workers are responsible for erecting and taking down outdoor adverts in a number of premium advertising locations.

The Challenge

In the last five years the outdoor advertising market, has grown by 26% and in 2013 it was worth a staggering £990m . Every year some the world's biggest companies use this medium to raise the profile of their brand and their products with the British public. They pay top dollar for this space and it is vital that their advert is put up in the selected location on time to ensure they get the maximum return on their investment.

North West Media Services needed to be able to pin point the geographic location of each of its mobile workers so that the company could monitor and manage the status of each job as it was being carried out. In addition, NWMS also wanted to gain this visibility so that it could monitor work being completed out of hours and reduce unauthorised personal use of its vehicles.

The Solution

The advanced telematics solution provided by TouchStar allows North West Media to track the geographic location of its entire fleet of commercial vehicles, including vans and Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs).

"When it comes to outdoor advertising space there is an expectation from our clients that an advert will be in place at an agreed time to ensure that it receives the maximum desired impact", explained Tony Jones, Operations Manager at North West Media Services. "If there is a query from a client we can use TouchStar's solution to rapidly and accurately identify where the assigned driver is, and estimate his time of arrival while the client is still on the phone. We can also identify factors that may be causing any delay, such as heavy traffic."

Using the GPS information collected by the vehicle and relayed to the depot in real-time, North West Media can also use the telematics system to manage work schedules and even provide workers with directions if they get lost on route to a job. Another by-product of the system is that it can monitor fuel usage which helps the company reduce emissions and secure cost savings.

The nature of many of NWMS assignments means that work is often completed out ‘out of hours’, such as putting up advertising on busy roads or at shopping centres where heavy footfall or traffic interferes with the task at hand. TouchStar’s solution enables NWMS to monitor any out of hours work completed by its mobile workers to ensure the job is carried out in line with expectations.

This is achieved via vehicle tracking that is set to alert the NWMS base when a vehicle arrives or leaves specific geofences placed at the depot, office and staff homes. In addition to observing client assignments, these parameters allow NWMS to monitor and prevent its vehicles from being operated by staff for unauthorised personal use, which would invalidate the company's insurance policy.

The TouchStar system has also given NWMS the functionality to quickly locate a vehicle in the event it is stolen. The system has already proven its worth in this regard, when a vehicle that was stolen while on site at a job in Liverpool was found and recovered in just 15 minutes.

Choosing TouchStar

NWMS had previously had a tracking system in place but found it to be largely ineffective. In fact, when the original contract was completed, NWMS went 12 months without any kind of vehicle tracking solution in place.

However, after deciding that a new tracking system was necessary, NWMS conducted a web search around their requirements and identified TouchStar as a potential supplier. "We were impressed with TouchStar’s proactive response to our requirements and soon agreed to a training and education session with them to learn about their system and what it could help us to achieve," commented Jones.

TouchStar provided a week-long proof of concept trial for NWMS to make sure they were confident that the solution would meet their requirements and could see the benefits of the system before a full deployment.

"We looked at a number of suppliers before making our decision, however TouchStar were able to provide the visibility we needed at a competitive price and most importantly, they were located right around the corner from our depot. Their proximity to our business means that we can quickly and easily work with them to resolve any potential problems, make changes to the system or fit new trackers to new vehicles in our fleet. The ability to react quickly in our business is vital and working with TouchStar gives us complete peace of mind," concluded Jones.