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Fleet Management: How to Cruise Through the Pandemic

Fleet Management: How to Cruise Through the Pandemic

Published on Jul 18 by Victoria Pasmanik

If you are reading this, chances are you work in fleet or risk management and are currently dreading what the second wave of the pandemic means for you. But do not fear, we are here to guide you! Through this article, we hope we can show you that a little bit of uncertainty can be a good thing.

The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has caused devastating results around the world, with one of the largely affected groups being fleets. Fleets have been hit with new logistical issues, such as how vehicle pick up, deliveries, and registrations will now work, as well as concerns regarding their ability to continue to carry out preventive maintenance and post-accident repairs. These unknowns have been emphasized by fleet clients who have begun to evaluate essential versus non-essential aspects in a bid to remain financially viable. However, the main issue lies in the fact that no one knows what to expect. With a second wave of the pandemic on the horizon it is exceedingly important right now to take preparative measures. In this article we will lay out two major guidelines for fleet management during the pandemic in an effort to minimize risk of the unknown.

An issue found to be prevalent in fleets is visibility. Fleet managers are not getting the insight into their fleet necessary to identify bottlenecks in the system and hold those involved accountable. Within this are the operator related concerns of driver shortage and associated driver risk. The first guideline we will discuss is centered around combating these obstacles.

With DMV’s being closed during the pandemic and stay at home orders only now being lifted, many potential drivers are not getting the certifications and training necessary. This leads to increased risk within the fleet and consequent increased costs. So what can you, as a fleet manager, do? There’s a simple solution, communication and technological advancement! Start by clearly conveying to operators and other fleet members what safety precautions should be taken and then provide the necessary materials, like access to online certifications, to promote them. Support from clients and upper management is also crucial in providing the motivation and transparency needed in such uncertain times. This can be as simple as organizing virtual calls to discuss how employees are doing or providing masks and other supplies to operators out on the front lines.

On the technological front, utilizing MVR, telematics, and driver risk assessments is the best way to mitigate risk and gain visibility into your fleet. Continuous monitoring of MVR assists with potential driver risk assessment technologies that can warn fleet managers of the safety level of the driver. The most successful fleets also use SHzoom’s automated incident report system to gather critical data and evidence from the crash scene. In addition to automated incident reports, Uptime by SHzoom offers a patented electronic repair management system, predictive analytics, and customized reports on driver safety trends allowing fleet operations to mitigate risk and gain visibility into their fleet. Using all these technologies to increase fleet safety can lead to a decrease in risk for vehicular accidents, which is particularly important during the pandemic when finances are of greater concern and repairs are harder to process.

Say that despite all the safety efforts mentioned above, your operators are still getting involved in accidents, what do you do then? This brings us to our second guideline, decreasing repair downtime and supporting social distancing. Using electronic crash management systems, such as Uptime by SHzoom, will help your fleet uphold social distancing regulations, as well as decrease repair cycle time.

At the moment, many fleets are operating in a way that leads to an abundance of downtime, an issue compounded by COVID-19 protocol. Operators are going into the office to report their incident and file reports. Managers and fleet foreman too are going around the office, or sending multiple emails, to obtain signatures and permissions. This contact-heavy system produces a risk for the spread of the virus and an overall inefficient environment where the time taken to file an incident report is 7–45 days. This ultimately goes back to the issue of visibility within the fleet. As with operator safety training, all parts of the repair process must be clear. As it stands, fleet managers are not able to see where the bottleneck are in the repair process, which means continued delays in vehicle repairs and returns. Through a crash report system, the bottleneck can be easily identified by gaining access to every step of the process. In terms of social distancing, Uptime’s technology will minimize the need to go into the office without negatively impacting communication within your fleet and other internal and external departments.

As concerns of a second wave of the virus grow, it is important to take preemptive measures, so your fleet can succeed in the long run. While it is easy to continue with current fleet management practices, working towards greater visibility and safer measures is a precaution that will be beneficial even after the pandemic. Technologies such as MVR, driver risk assessment, telematics, and automated crash report systems are available to help your fleet be more organized and less prone to risk. Focusing on your drivers and vehicle repairs will help you build a fleet that is safer and more efficient. By integrating these two primary guidelines into your business model, your fleet will be more than ready for the second wave of COVID-19 and anything else the world may throw at you.

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