With more and more operators looking for integrated fleet management technologies to replace current paper or standalone digital systems, we have created this new feature for 2023, where we will share the latest topics of conversation around software efficiencies. For our first ‘Topic of Conversation’, Subir Gupta, our National Account Manager, discusses defect checks and the emergence of digital gate checks.
As we all know daily defect checking is essential for both compliance and safety, and digital systems like our Aquarius App have made the traditionally laborious process easier to manage and audit over the last decade – but as the technology has evolved with more operators linking the data to back-office systems, much wider business benefits are being derived from this everyday routine.
Principally, daily defect checking is vital from the point of view of complying with the rules and regulations required to maintain an operator’s licence; this relates to always ensuring the safe and proper use of vehicles for the safety of drivers and other road users. Central to this, is also consideration of the impact on a business if a traffic commissioner were to suspend or revoke the O-licence if vehicles are found to be unsafe. Whether operators use a paper-based or a digital system to manage daily walkaround checks, compliance and safety is the foremost priority.
However, there are knock-on business benefits of using a digital defect checking system, especially when linked with a vehicle maintenance system, like Asset Maintenance.
By having access to the live defect data, operators are able to get notified instantly about a minor vehicle fault, like a chip in the windscreen for example, and get it fixed before it turns into a crack and an expensive windscreen replacement job with a VOR, which saves both time and money. Being able to then cross-link this data with Asset Maintenance, operators can use the automated planner to schedule periodic maintenance or inspections in real time; thus, creating efficiencies and cost savings.
Freeburn Transport inCo.Tyrone is a case example. Rian Doyle, the fleet maintenance co-ordinator said: “Using these two systems hand-in-hand, and being able to have linked information in real time is where we’ve seen the biggest difference, and has resulted in significantly reduced VOR days, saving us time and money.
We also use the automated planner in Asset Maintenance for maintenance scheduling and MOT dates, and with our digitised maintenance inspections going straight into the portal we now have a full audit trail and complete paperless storage solution for all our vehicles requiring periodic maintenance or inspection. With all these systems now in place, monitoring and maintaining our compliance, driver safety, and the roadworthiness of our vehicles has become a much easier task.”
Harry Campey, the Transport Manager at Campeys of Selby concurs. About Asset Maintenance, he said: “The biggest, most significant difference is the system’s cross-integration with the Driver Defect App, and as a result, we’ve significantly reduced VOR days. We also use the automated planner for maintenance scheduling and MOT dates, which links with our third-party and external workshops for 360° integration. At the last count, over the last 12 months, we have completed more than 1000 PMIs. Plus, the system is easy to use; we’ve found there are fewer clicks to get to the information you need, which again reduces admin time.”
With technology making defect checking a much simpler process to manage, and the inherent benefits that are being achieved by integrating the live data with tacho analysis and vehicle maintenance systems, more and more operators are also now applying an added layer of defect inspection. This includes introducing spot checks at the gate to verify that a) drivers are following daily defect checking procedures effectively and b) to cross-examine that defects have been recorded correctly to allow for further investigation and action.
With Aquarius’s Gate Check module, users at the gate are able to run through the same defect check template as the driver and automatically compare the results. Areas of discrepancy are quickly flagged, and can be used to open an investigation. The integration with our tacho analysis software also allows the results of the investigation to be presented as part of the driver’s infringement report.
Just like the Defect Checking App, Gate Check provides detailed record-keeping of any investigations that take place, and this enables an operator to provide further evidence of a clear process and audit trail when it comes to the monitoring of daily defects.
For further advice on how to get the most out of Defect Checking technologies, please contact us via https://www.aquariusit.com/contact/