The Hands Free Company (THFC), one of the top companies in the U.S. for fleet vehicle installation projects, is a trusted resource for customized mobile communication and hardware products. THFC’s customized solutions have been implemented in thousands of vehicles, the majority of which are Fortune 100 companies.
As a committed leader for fleet communications, driver safety and vehicle installations, THFC has also made its dent in the machine-to-machine (M2M) space, through its company initiatives and partnership with Sprint (News - Alert), an embedded M2M solutions leader.
Recently, Michael Lampe, THFC director and CEO, sat down with TMCnet to discuss how the company became a market leader, where its technology is headed and how it has benefited from its partnership with embedded M2M solutions company Sprint.
TMCnet: What business are you in?
Lampe: We partner with the largest global manufacturers of communication technology and mobile data. Whether a client needs to stay in touch with one vehicle or a fleet of thousands, THFC has the right combination of products and installation services to provide the best solution for their business.
Fleet Communication: With our experience, we will put together the perfect combination of products that provide you the tools to help you manage your fleet to operate more efficiently. We develop customized fleet communication packages to provide real-time data and customer service features
Driver Safety: We provide real-time data to help companies reduce their accident rate and create significant savings for their vehicle fleet.
Complete Installation Services: Wherever your business is located, THFC can handle your equipment installation needs. We have nationwide services and installation teams dedicated to every corner of the country for both vehicle and networking projects. Our hands on project management team takes care of every aspect of your project after the initial sale: staging of the product; scheduling the installation; completing the implementation into your fleet. We pride ourselves on providing seamless service from start to finish.
TMCnet: What excites you the most about your industry?
Lampe: The market potential. The U.S. market for telematics (vehicle tracking, monitoring, and communication) is a fast growing and relatively untapped market. While vehicle tracking is a common practice, utilizing the capabilities of today’s technology to enhance productivity and to reduce costs is currently under utilized. As fuel costs have continued to rise, and likely to remain high, trucking companies are looking for ways to lower fuel costs. The products and services that THFC provides not only help with fuel cost savings, but help with overall maintenance costs, as well as increase safety. THFC is positioned to take advantage of this largely untapped market.
TMCnet: What was the inspiration behind the founding of your business?
Lampe: The inspiration behind THFC came from a long standing friendship with a business associate and co-founder of THFC. There is a definite need for the right technology to be in place for all drivers. Regardless of the industry, companies have a need to protect their drivers, their company and the general public. The safety issues of drivers talking on the phone, texting or emailing while driving is a huge risk. THFC began in the UK where strict laws have been passed to restrict talking, texting, emailing while driving more than seven years ago. We realize that companies with fleets of vehicles have a huge responsibility with managing their risks and acting on their social responsibility. The RoadSense solution is a feature that companies will see as a true necessity, especially as the U.S. laws become even more regulated. Positioning the RoadSense solution will allow companies to monitor their drivers for safety and efficiency. This will in turn allow them to save money, increase safety awareness, stay in compliance and focus on growing their business.
TMCnet: What did it take to bring that vision to life?
Lampe: It has taken a lot of hard work and determination. We believe the people at THFC have made this vision possible. The ‘never give up’ attitude. The research and awareness to help develop and partner with the best in the industry. The promise to deliver the very best to our clients. These are a few of what our employees have helped in creating what we believe is the best in the market. This has allowed us a wonderful opportunity to work with Sprint. We are committed to being the leader for fleet communications, driver safety and vehicle installations. We are very excited about remaining a leader with a great partner – Sprint!
TMCnet: Why did you choose to partner with Sprint?
Lampe: A chance encounter between one of RoadSense's customers (a global foods conglomerate) and Sprint led to a dialogue about fleet tracking systems. Intrigued by the uniqueness of the product and how much the customer was benefitting from it, Sprint then approached us with a view to adding RoadSense to its portfolio of M2M product offerings.
For us, it's a perfect match. We pride ourselves on the stability of our system – and Sprint offers the ideal network and nationwide coverage that we need – as well as the bandwidth to offer much more data-intensive services in the future.
In addition, having access to a nationwide network of account managers will help us tremendously with rolling out the latest European telematics technology to US Companies. On that note, Europe tends to be about two years ahead in adopting telematics technologies— and this is largely because of the higher price of fuel there, and the intensity of competition in the road transportation sector where companies heavily rely on telematics as a way to maintain their competiveness and keep operating costs down.
TMCnet: What's next for your business and your industry?
Lampe: In the short term, we are heavily committed to rolling out the RoadSense product in the US. With that, we are investing heavily on expanding our nationwide network of installation engineers. We are also developing additional features and functions to meet the specific needs of the US market, for example, IFTA Fuel Tax Reporting and DOT Compliance.
Carrie Schmelkin is a Web Editor for TMCnet. Previously, she worked as Assistant Editor at the New Canaan Advertiser, a 102-year-old weekly newspaper, covering news and enhancing the publication's social media initiatives. Carrie holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and a bachelor's degree in English from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Rich Steeves