Driving Efficiency: SMTS Optimizes Inspections and Fleet Compliance Data with Whip Around

“It’s been a lifesaver. If a driver goes above or below their mileage, that’s an audit finding which can cost us money. So to keep tabs on that definitely is a good return on investment.”

  • Eliminating paper saves SMTS more each month than cost of a Whip Around subscription
  • Enhanced audit preparedness has delivered significant ROI
  • Dramatic increase in overall billing efficiency

About SMTS

As a non-governmental, non-profit general public passenger transportation company, SMTS Southeast Missouri Transportation Services serves rural customers in 21 counties throughout South Central and Southeast Missouri.

Much of its services directly benefit members of the community who need it most: folks who — whether due to mobility issues, financial constraints or other reasons — either no longer drive or lack access to transportation. SMTS helps these people run important errands, make it to medical appointments, visit friends and family and generally live their lives. 

To fulfill its noble paratransit mission, STMS requires an efficient fleet of well-maintained vehicles. And that’s where Whip Around comes in.

The Challenge

As Fleet Manager, Daniel Smith is responsible for all of the organization’s assets, fleets and buildings. Those responsibilities include overseeing about 165 drivers and two mechanics. 

With operations that extensive, Smith realized several years ago that paper-based processes for Driver-Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIRs) were making his job more difficult than it needed to be.

“I’d have 200 sheets of paper across my desk every single day,” Smith said. “The paper DVIRs were a drag for years until Whip Around contacted me.” 

He had found that keeping track of defects and equipment faults was neither efficient nor reliable using the paper-and-spreadsheet processes in place. 

“I’ve got 170 vehicles in the fleet, so it’s really difficult for me to remember if a vehicle needs wiper blades, right?” Smith continued. “If one’s got an engine hammering, that’s going to stay top of mind. But, for the one that needs wiper blades or something like that, the chances of me actually getting that taken care of were pretty slim.”

He not only needed an easier, more reliable tool for inspections, maintenance and reporting, but he needed a solution with visibility that stretched across his whole team.

The Solution 

About four years ago, in 2019, Smith started looking for solutions. At first, he was disappointed; most of what he encountered seemed slow, clunky and disjointed. Then he discovered Whip Around. 

“I was like, man, you don’t have to click 50 buttons to get things done,” Smith said. “At the time, we had close to 200 vehicles. I just emailed Whip Around a list, they put it in, and we were ready to go.”

Widespread adoption, quick results 

Most of the SMTS staff are semi-retired — typically above the age of 60. Even so, Smith found that resistance to change and new ways of working wasn’t an issue with Whip Around. 

“I just love it. Everybody loves it,” Smith said. “Some of our employees are a bit older, we’ve even got an 82-year-old driver. He figured out the app just fine.” 

Once implemented, he noticed equipment malfunctions and faults were not as often resulting in a vehicle down situation. His team would see a defect the moment it was recorded in a pre-trip or post-trip inspection, set a priority on it and communicate with the mechanics. As a result, Smith could focus more of his attention on major issues. 

“It has definitely uncluttered everything, getting rid of those paper sheets,” Smith said. “The efficiency has also helped us a whole lot on the billing side — for example, to go back and look at mileage. That’s probably saved us in excess of what the program costs each month, just in terms of man hours trying to hunt something down.”

Audit ready, all the time 

Because SMTS receives some federal and state funding, the organization must adhere to the same regulations and audits that would be required of a federal or state government agency.

Because of this, audits are quite common. Officials routinely look through many aspects of its operations, checking to verify things like mileage and vehicle maintenance details. If a fleet manager notices a discrepancy in the data, it’s quick and easy to go into the Whip Around system and make corrections to ensure the data is accurate and up to date. If a vehicle is overdue, the team will receive a notification.

“It’s actually been a lifesaver there,” Smith said. “If a driver goes above or below their mileage, that’s an audit finding which can cost us money. So to keep tabs on that definitely is a good return on investment.” 

The digital fleet maintenance platform has been a major improvement over the old spreadsheet-based system, especially in terms of audit preparedness.  

“With the Maintain section, it’s very easy for me to pick a vehicle, export a report to Excel, hit print, done,” Smith said. “There’s all the records the auditors need right there. So that works out very well.” 

Streamlining maintenance 

Smith and his team used to manually keep track of oil changes. Now, for every oil change that’s done, the coordinator will use Whip Around to mark it as complete. They then use the Whip Around platform to send the details to Smith, who processes it through accounting. 

“Previously, like I said, we used Excel spreadsheets, which had to coincide with a sticker on the windshield that would fall off in the hot sun. So the drivers never knew when they were actually due for an oil change,” Smith said. “Now the coordinator says, after you get Miss Judy taken to the hospital, get over there and get your oil changed. So that works really, really well for us.”

Boost Your Fleet Inspection Process with Whip Around

If paper processes and inefficient communications systems are making fleet compliance more difficult than it needs to be, then it’s time to schedule a Whip Around demo. Contact us today to speak with a product specialist or explore how Whip Around can help you achieve your goals this year.