Digital workshop management systems are becoming an essential tool as more hauliers see their benefits of saving time on invoicing, simplifying older processes and replacing paper-based systems.
And these improvements have only became more crucial during and since the pandemic, as companies face disruptions and labour shortages.
Among those taking advantage is Gregory Distribution, which equipped its engineer fleet with rugged tablets from Freeway at five of its sites across the UK, replacing paper inspection forms, timesheets and job cards.
The tablets mean the Devonshire company’s 50 fitters have immediate access to historical vehicle data, such as previous defects fixed and parts used.
These touchscreen industrial devices are connected to a central fleet management system to provide real-time insight into scheduled, in-progress and completed fleet maintenance work.
“The introduction of mobile devices in the workshop has eliminated much paperwork and the keying in of data. That’s saved a huge amount of administrative time,” said Alan Worden, Group Technology and Contracts Director at Gregory Distribution.
“It’s not only boosting our efficiency but making management easier, as we can all instantly gain access to information about the fleet whether it be for checking compliance or seeing if and when a vehicle is available.”
Freeway technology is used to manage more than 2,500 assets, maintenance being both in-house and outsourced.
Gregory has grown rapidly through acquisition and Freeway has enabled it to quickly standardise its approach to compliance and easily publish a daily report illustrating its company-wide position.
Elsewhere, Hampshire waste management specialist Collard Group is now using tablets to monitor its fleet of 140 trucks, 110 vans and more efficiently operate its three maintenance sites.
These Truckfile tablets feature technology that enables vehicle safety checks, workshop inspections and maintenance and repair to be recorded electronically.
The switch from a paper-based system has been seamlessly achieved, due to support from the Truckfile team who guided Collard through the installation and implementation process.
Lee Troddyn, Transport Manager at Collard Group, said: “Probably the most outstanding advantage for me has been the way Truckfile gives me a broad yet finely detailed overview of everything that’s going on with our vehicles and in our workshops.
“The information is so easily accessible and I have a level of visibility that I could never have imagined previously, over aspects such as vehicle defects, rectification work, and compliance.
“Using the system has speeded up and simplified the process of completing vehicle inspections, and reduced the risk of human error in recording to almost zero.”
Drivers at Wednesbury haulage firm BJS Haulage are provided with the Webfleet Pro 8 tablet to perform walk round vehicle safety checks before every journey.
The software is integrated with the company’s transport management system Mandata, allowing drivers to accept and complete jobs.
Meanwhile, Staffordshire bulk aggregate and muck away specialist RJK Logistics has saved 20 hours per week on invoicing alone since implementing Mandata Go back in 2019.
The firm has been able to speed up its order to cash cycle by using an integrated app in which drivers record the weight of their load and upload details in real-time in the transport management system for back-office staff to see.
This means they can calculate the price of the job and take payment upfront.
Due to the time savings and reduced admin, the business has taken on more work and expanded from four to seven vehicles in two years.
David Griffiths, Director at RJK Logistics, said: “Since implementing Go we can plan our jobs in five minutes rather than 40 minutes.
“This means I can get my planning done during the day rather than having to complete it at home after the working day has finished.
“If any customers have queries about previous jobs we’ve done, we can now find information about those jobs in minutes whilst they’re on the phone, rather than having to end the call to find the information and ring back once we’ve found it.”