Each business is facing its own set of challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. During these uncertain times, it is critical for those companies that rely on fleet vehicles to focus on ways to help improve driver efficiency, safety and connectivity. This will help keep these organizations resilient in the long run while keeping employees safe and the costs down.
Businesses are finding it tough to maintain a steady revenue as they cut down certain activities to avoid the transmission of the COVID-19 virus. At this juncture, features of a fleet management solution can be used smartly to help conduct jobs safely and efficiently, and make a strong financial foundation for the times to come.
From fuel costs and monitoring vehicle movement, to tracking COVID-19-affected areas, there are a number of ways that GPS tracking technology and its features can be a helpful tool for your entire fleet operation including - drivers, managers and company owners.
Mark areas, report and analyze with geofences
A geofence is a virtual fence or perimeter around a physical location, created using mapping software that allows the user to draw the geofence over the desired geographic area, which supports reporting and near real-time alerts.
- Near real-time alerts. If there has been a reported COVID-19 case in a specific commercial building, fleet managers can create a geofence around that area, designating it as a geographic location that drivers should not enter. Or, a manager could create a geofence around a quarantine zone. If a driver does cross into or leave that area, a supervisor can be alerted almost instantly so immediate action can be taken. This could be a great help for the community as a whole in terms of contact tracing. With geofencing you have your own way to do contact tracing for your employees.
- Reporting and analysis. This capability allows managers to look back at historical reports and analyze which drivers have been to specific areas in order to support contact tracing efforts.
- Route optimization. By combining geofencing with routing features, fleet managers can help drivers plot routes that avoid unwanted or off-limits areas in the first place.
Ingenious use cases of DVIR and mobile forms
Telematics technology can provide a customizable DVIR for pre-trip and post-trip vehicle inspection. These electronic vehicle inspection reports can provide vast benefits to both commercial truck drivers and fleet managers.
- Customizable forms. Fleet managers can add their own form fields requesting drivers to submit pictures of a sanitized cab, of the gloves and mask they have in the vehicle for each trip and of the gloves and masks they restock for the next driver—all as part of the pre- or post-trip inspection process.
- Inspection health check. Fleet managers can also use DVIR mobile forms as a simple health check by requesting drivers submit a form at the beginning and end of each day that includes their temperature reading.
- Open notes field. Drivers have the ability to add job notes, so they can include a special notation if they have to enter higher-risk facilities or areas like senior care facilities. This helps improve the accuracy of two-way communication from a dispatcher to the field, and improves the understanding of the environments to which drivers and technicians have been exposed.
- Electronic DVIR. During the pandemic times, it’s even more important to stay on top of vehicle maintenance and compliance. Electronic DVIR can come in handy to help manage compliance with regular vehicle maintenance, vehicle health and FMC or DLT regulations.
- Inspection scoring. Some telematics solutions include a walkaround feature to help every driver complete a full inspection.
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Keep track of drivers, vehicles and jobs remotely
With the pandemic, the starting point or the congregation points for fleets are no longer fixed. As more drivers and technicians begin their workdays from their home versus a company office, fleets need alternatives to in-office job boards and manual scheduling and vehicle tracking.
- Streamlined dispatch and congregation points. Dispatchers can work from home while maintaining control of scheduling, and fleet managers can maintain a comprehensive view of vehicle locations and operations. This includes what time a vehicle started, how long it was at a particular location, how long it took to travel between locations and when and where it stopped.
- Equipment tracking. Many fleet drivers and technicians are taking vehicles home at the end of each day instead of back to the office in order to support and maintain social distancing. With vehicles offsite after hours, it’s crucial for fleet managers to maintain visibility into each vehicle’s location and use status via centralized fleet tracking software.
- Improved schedule optimization. During periods of low staffing or employee illness, fleet managers can maintain efficient schedule prioritization without having to rely on paper-based transactions. This helps increase worker mobility while supporting the reduced spread of germs by limiting physical interactions and exchange of materials.
- Route replay. Fleet managers are able to trace route history to track where drivers and technicians have been. In the event that an employee has potentially been exposed to COVID-19 or is showing symptoms, for example, managers can replay the route to see what geographic areas they recently visited, what specific stops were made and the length of each stop, all to aid in contact tracing.
Reduce liability with dash cams
Now more than ever, fleet owners grapple with revenue reductions and the need to achieve greater cost savings. Reducing financial and health liabilities are both key to cost control, and integrated in-cab dash cams can help.
- Reducing insurance liabilities. Dash cams can help provide valuable visual evidence against false or erroneous accident and insurance claims, which can result in lost revenue.
- Safe driving support. Dash cam video can serve as a driver training tool, helping to reduce accidents that could lead to costly repair and litigation fees. It can also serve to reduce speeding incidents, given fewer cars are on the road these days to slow commercial traffic. With the critical need to deliver goods still ever-present, promoting safe driving behavior will also help maintain an uninterrupted supply chain.
Cost savings with the right fleet technology
With less freight being transported and fewer available drivers, fleet managers must leverage fleet management systems to help make every penny count.
- Overall productivity. A fleet management software can help streamline the overall efficiency of a fleet, even when grappling with limited resources. From GPS fleet and asset tracking to dispatch tools and dash cam video, an integrated solution can work in concert to improve the use of company time and dollars.
- Supply chain integration. Transportation companies are in high demand, and must ensure critical goods reach areas of need throughout the supply chain—making integrations that help enhance logistics more important than ever.
- Expense monitoring for ROI. Telematics solutions can help fleet-reliant companies stay on top of their bottom line. This includes monitoring fuel expenses, vehicle maintenance, and driver behavior around idling, harsh braking, sudden acceleration or continued speeding—all of which can have a direct impact on profitability margins and cash flow.
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