Using tablets and app integration means work can be checked in a mobile environment.  -  Assetworks

Using tablets and app integration means work can be checked in a mobile environment.

Assetworks

Gareth Healey wanted to move his fleet operation into the digital space to make it more responsive and more efficient. But working for a council often means inherent drag on change rather than forward-thinking fleet management.

Gareth, who manages the fleet at Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council based in the north-east of England, was determined to change this.

With engaged stakeholders in the council as part of a continuous improvement process and the budget to implement the change in the system, Gareth got to work. He manages a fleet of 214 vehicles, 85 hire vehicles, plant equipment, a workshop, plus two supervisors and 11 technicians to ensure the council’s fleet remains operational.

As you might expect from a council fleet, it is heavily focused on commercial vehicles.

Gareth Healey implemented digitization of the Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council fleet management system.  -  Assetworks

Gareth Healey implemented digitization of the Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council fleet management system.

Assetworks

Gareth says: “We manage a range of vehicles. These range from 32-ton hookloaders, 26-ton refuse wagons, large plant equipment, down to 7.5-ton tippers, 3.5-ton tippers, small panel vans, and a range of countryside plant equipment, including grass cutters. It is an extremely diverse fleet.”

But with a fleet management system embedded in the council’s IT servers, overall efficiency for technicians, inspectors, and drivers was compromised by the constant need to return to terminals in order to record and undertake operational tasks.

Gareth’s vision for the fleet was more dynamic and required cloud-based technology with app integration to increase operational flexibility for the fleet.

“A cloud-based solution means anyone from the business can access the system from anywhere,” explains Gareth. “App technology enables inspections to be undertaken remotely, technicians to fix vehicles from anywhere and the operational managers can see what is being done and where in real-time. This flexible app solution saves time and money for everyone involved.”

Another key consideration was to find new fleet software that supported the DVSA Earned Recognition scheme, a voluntary scheme for operators that can demonstrate a strong track record of compliance and adherence to quality standards.

Part of the schem’s requirement is that fleet managers must be able to demonstrate that they have robust systems and processes that promote effective and proactive transport management.

Gareth’s requirements for new fleet management software meant that he approved a go-live with AssetWorks’ FleetFocus M5 platform which helps fleets comply with the DVSA’s best practice requirements. Following a two-year scoping and implementation period, Gareth says the fleet management system and its app technology allows daily driver first use checks as well as workshop management applications.

“This is another step for us as an authority to improve the efficiency of our fleet operation with the use of digital technology at the heart of improvement,” Gareth adds.

He says the FleetFocus 5 platform has also improved the ease of recording and monitoring vehicle maintenance to ensure the fleet remains in a safe and compliant state.

“The management of information and translation of data is digestible through operational dashboards making it easy to understand our fleet. A key  point for us were the inspection checklists, compliance around drivers, while data management and workflow management could all be managed through the one system. The dynamic data approach will allow our business to excel and will further contribute to digital transformation for Redcar and Cleveland Council,” he adds.

Other benefits include efficiency savings, such as a reduction in the administration time taken on the phone and chasing jobs.

“Before we changed the fleet management platform, users would call the operations team to track their vehicle maintenance and see when the vehicles were ready for collection. Going forward, everyone will be able to log in and see the process in real-time with full transparency.”

With his new state-of-the-art fleet management system, Gareth anticipates less administration thanks to the paperless system along with a more effective workshop and improved financial planning thanks to better management information

Other benefits he lists include increased compliance and transparency as the electronic driver check application becomes fully embedded and better access to information thanks to the mobility using tablets allows along with the realtime recording of labor hours for greater accuracy in recording information.

“The other big benefit of digitizing our fleet management system,” Gareth adds, “is the self-service facility for operational departments to schedule vehicle servicing. It also means we’ll have realtime repair status, while the volume of telephone calls and visits to the workshops for information will also reduce. It will make the whole department much more efficient.”

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