Comcast’s partnership with Greencastle Consulting continues to yield environmentally conscious innovations to Comcast operations – decreasing Comcast’s carbon footprint while modernizing its fleet.
As one of the largest cable companies in the world, Comcast boasts a fleet of over 30,000 vehicles. The daily use of the Comcast fleet by field techs provides home and business with technical service spanning 40 states and the District of Columbia. Modernizing such a vast fleet while meeting the changing needs of field technicians presented a significant challenge.
Despite significant changes to the work performed by field techs, the design of their trucks was not updated to reflect changes in equipment. Trucks have become work offices, and a tech’s ability to access equipment easily and efficiently while caring for their assigned tools and cable equipment is essential. However, because of delayed modernization to truck interiors, field techs often rigged their own truck interiors, presenting a number of challenges and risks. Despite their improvised solutions, movement and equipment use inside the trucks remained cumbersome and inadequate.
Greencastle partnered with Comcast to assist in developing a truck up-fit that is accessible, high strength and lightweight, promotes better fuel efficiency, is ergonomically appropriate, and maximizes limited payload. Within this modernization goal is the intent to create an 8 year truck lifecycle to accompany technological changes and tech work changes.
Vehicles were also redesigned to meet each job type, such as field tech, warehouse tech, etc. Within each job type, vehicle up-fits were standardized but adaptive enough to meet unique needs across various regions. Initial up-fit prototypes were demonstrated to six Comcast regions who showed overwhelming support from techs and managers. As a result, tech vehicles are now 350 pounds lighter, which led to the immediate fuel economy improvement of 1/3mpg. Furthermore, a CO2 reduction of over 7 million pounds per year is also estimated from reduced fuel use due to weight decrease.
Greencastle also conducted alternative fuel analyses of variables such as amount and type of driving, proximity to fueling stations, and home garage locations. In addition, fueling infrastructure was matched to the Comcast footprint to cater to fuel availability within a specific area. Through this research, it was discovered that Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and after-market hydroelectric batteries installed in post-purchase up-fit are best suited for the fleet. If pursued aggressively, this could indicate a CO2 decrease of up to 140 million pounds per year!
In addition to right-sizing vehicles to their operations, Comcast’s fleet optimization efforts also incorporate a change in telematics providers. Comcast’s previous providers faced scalability limitations and could not provide sufficient data metrics. Greencastle assisted in identifying an OBD-II device which effectively reports vehicle GPS location in real time with dispatch, reads engine diagnostics and conveys vehicle metrics to the end user. Furthermore, data will now be collected on a flexible platform, allowing Comcast to store all its data internally and the flexibility to exchange vendors without data loss or compromise. Overall, this project improves average fleet age, introduces the concept of environmental sustainability across the fleet, and allows Comcast to achieve its corporate directive of 100% tech service on time due to OBD II device improvements.