Let’s be honest: things have changed in 2020 and the old ways of doing business just won’t work anymore. If your business was identified as an essential service, then you’ve probably had many operational problems to solve. Your top goal should be to keep your drivers safe on the road. That being said, there are things you’ve probably learned about social distancing and changing business routines that will affect your fleet management approach even when business returns to normal.
After the COVID-19 crisis subsides, we won’t be reverting to the old ways of running our fleets, but we can certainly synthesize the best practices and continue to evolve as service-oriented organizations.
At Whip Around, we offer a fleet inspection and maintenance solution that helps businesses run more efficiently. If you already had a solution like this, then you had an easy way to track all company vehicles and communicate information updates to fleet staff. If you haven’t invested in a fleet management solution yet, then the lessons of COVID-19 are great reasons to try one. Here is how an app like ours can help you manage fleet employees with precision, keep everyone safer, and maximize the value of each service call.
Every employee who comes to work can potentially make others sick. He or she should be trained to come to work only when feeling well and be sure to wash hands throughout the day. This will reduce the spread of germs and keep customers protected. It is also possible to schedule fleet vehicles so there is only one worker at a time in each vehicle. Then, if employees must ride together, they can wear masks during their commute. Furthermore, we used to bring a clipboard of “paperwork” to each service call, write estimates and other documents and give them to customers, and return with the papers that our office manager would need.
During social distancing, we can’t give paperwork to customers to enhance communication without exposing them to germs. Likewise, we don’t want fleet drivers to share germs by completing paper checklists before, during, and after using our fleet vehicles.
When your employees perform tasks using a fleet maintenance app like Whip Around, they can easily track the condition of their work vehicle. Using an app that provides worker input, complete checklists, track mileage for each service call, and note any damage to their vehicle. They can also note their daily inventory levels, which helps your company conduct more precise ordering and ensures the timely distribution of goods. With an app, drivers can also request additional supplies and vehicle maintenance/repairs.
If workers want to maintain records of their work, they can take screenshots of what they have entered into the app. No printing or signing is required for fleet maintenance checklists. When your drivers are all using an app, you can easily analyze current business processes and remove social contacts while still reaching the same outcome.
If you manage a fleet, you know every driver must complete a driver vehicle inspection report (DVIR), which shows their work vehicle was reviewed for compliance at the end of their shift. This report is the driver’s chance to note any problems with the vehicle itself and the equipment attached to the vehicle.
Your drivers won’t have to worry about losing their reports because all information they have recorded will be saved in the app. The alternative to conducting mobile reports is cumbersome paper processing. A driver must fill out the report, take the report back to the company’s headquarters, share the report with the on-duty mechanics, wait for it to be reviewed, collect it, and then turn it into the office. Then, an office clerk must review the report, add the details to an electronic spreadsheet, and then store a paper copy of it in a file cabinet. All this wastes time, space, and paper/ink costs. Multiple people are also handling the report, which increases germ spread.
Typically, using the app to complete a fleet vehicle inspection takes a similar amount of time as doing a handwritten report. Our app helps drivers, fleet managers, and vehicle owners maintain an electronic paper trail. In the app, a driver can take photos of vehicle damage. Once the report is finished, the driver’s report gets marked with an electronic time/date stamp. In this way, transparency and accountability are ensured.
In the age of COVID-19, it’s no longer acceptable for drivers to fill out paper forms and turn them in at the nearest office. This outdated process would require unnecessary social contact and contribute to germ spread. Instead, you can try a fleet management app by requesting a demo and see how much more efficient your drivers will become at vehicle inspections once they master the app. At the same time, you will feel better that your company is adapting its business processes in 2020 and reducing your collective ecological footprint.
When your drivers use an app, you also get a built-in way to provide them with information updates throughout the workday such as reminding them to wash their hands and to wear a mask when they are around other workers or customers. You can also look for trends in vehicle inspection reports, such as what routes cause the most wear and tear on vehicles and which drivers are most thorough when identifying their vehicle’s maintenance/repair issues.
As we move forward with business operations in the late summer of 2020, we must adjust our approach in every facet of the company. We must ensure that employees are well-trained in using a fleet management app. This helps them to remain accountable daily for conducting proper vehicle inspections and reporting vehicle maintenance and repair needs. Once the Coronavirus crisis subsides, fleet improvements in the areas of safety and efficiency will remain on a digital platform.