Control pandemic risk in transport

How can technology help fleet and transport managers adapt to the ‘new-norm’?

Keep calm, carry on

By Keith Hawker, Managing Director at Civica Transport

A year on since the first lock down, businesses have had to change the way they operate and adapt to a ‘new-norm’ way of working.

COVID-19 has made fleet and delivery management more challenging than ever. Customer demands increased dramatically, placing huge pressure on transport and logistics operators. This included coping with increased workload and following social distancing guidelines to managing operations remotely to keep services moving.

Help in the cloud

For fleet and transport managers, cloud technology and mobile apps are a game changer. With access to up-to-date performance data anywhere, businesses can manage teams remotely and make decisions which save costs quickly. Similarly, drivers who use PDA’s or mobile devices can communicate directly with their support team and customers in real time. For example, drivers can update delivery ETAs, confirm proof of delivery and report vehicle issues instantly; without filling out any paperwork. This has proven invaluable for contactless delivery, which has been pivotal in reducing risk to both customers and employees. Resource availability is at the heart of any transport and logistics operations. By keeping employees safe, organisations can proactively minimise disruption to their service. This in turn maximises the number of deliveries completed and revenue generated per day.

Increase in grey fleet

As well as changing the way we work, COVID has also affected the way we feel about travel safety. A recent study showed people have become more anxious, with 81% saying they will avoid using car-pool services and 78% will use public transport less often and prefer to use their own car. An emotional drive resulting in increased grey fleet – using private vehicles for business travel.

When using grey fleet, employers have a legal duty of care to make sure their grey fleet drivers and vehicles are road safe and compliant. Organisations of all sizes must prepare for this potential shift and put a robust policy in place to reduce risk. Companies who currently manage grey fleet using paper or spreadsheets may need to rethink how they can manage legal obligations effectively without adding hours of administration.

Grey fleet tracking software can accurately record and monitor drivers and vehicles to simplify compliance management. For example, employees can upload drivers’ licences with ease, while employers can securely store these digital records and complete compliance checks, without the need to handle or retain paper copies. Automatic alerts that highlights actions such as MOT and insurance document renewal help organisations identify and remove risk proactively without additional administration.

Data to manage maintenance

For vehicle up-keep, we’ve heard from our fleet customers that their average repair and maintenance costs have increased since the first lockdown. Causes include keeping vehicles for longer, difficulty buying new vehicles and temporary extension of MOT expiry date. Plus, with oil prices hitting a thirteen month high in February, companies need to understand maintenance needs and fuel consumption better to keep costs under control.

Technology which can capture data during operations gives fleet and transport managers clear visibility of assets and performance. This data highlights trends, savings and improvement opportunities – key to robust decision-making and future planning. It also reduces administration workload and allows organisations to manage teams, wherever they’re working.

Find out more about TranSend, our fleet management cloud software.

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