Digital inspections and associated software reduce costs of reporting on your vehicle fleet and equipment and improves safety and compliance. When thinking of moving away from paper-based vehicle and equipment checklists and inspections, or upgrading an existing vehicle and equipment checklist and inspection application, the following elements are essential aspects to consider.
- Customisable Forms
There are many types of fleet vehicles on the road with different business risks. Ideally, pre-start checklist and inspection forms should be updated alongside changes in fleet vehicles and updated forms rolled out in real-time. Fully customisable forms make it possible to update daily pre-start checks and roll them out in real-time.
When choosing the best vehicle and equipment checklist and inspection software for your organisation, it is vital to know whether the software:
- can convert your existing checklists and inspections to a digital copy
- has pre-start checklist and inspection templates available for immediate use
- allows users to edit existing checklists and inspections so updates can be made and rolled out in real-time.
Ultimately, digital checklist and inspection software should allow users to reduce the length of a checklist, so it only lists required items and items that matter to your business.
- Image Capture
‘A picture tells a thousand words’. Nothing is truer when completing checklists and inspections. With digital checklists and inspections, the ability to add photos greatly enhances reporting of faults, defects and vehicle or equipment damage. It also removes the need to provide lengthy, detailed descriptions of faults, defects and damages. By adding a visual element to reporting, photos provide power and context in a way that cannot be achieved with paper checklists and inspections. Visually showing show defective or damaged components can:
- give valuable information that cannot be accurately articulated in writing
- help fleet managers or mechanics prioritise repairs
- allow replacement parts to be ordered immediately before the defective or damaged vehicle or equipment arrives for repairs
- speed up the repair process.
Checklist software with the capacity to add photos to checklists and inspections save time and money while reducing vehicle and equipment downtime.
- Automated Communication
Having systems in place to report a fault or defect and communicate the workflow of repairs is as important as conducting a daily pre-start check. Digital checklists and inspections automate the communication process, sending essential information to the necessary stakeholders, such as a fleet manager, scheduler and/or workshop manager, via email. When reporting a fault or defect, information communicated via automated email includes: the reporting person’s name, the vehicle or equipment ID number, the location of the vehicle or equipment, a written description of the fault or defect and, if applicable, photos. When repairs have been completed, an automated email also notifies stakeholders, including the person that reported the fault or defect, of the fact.
Checklist software with automated communication functionality has two important advantages. Firstly, it increases the efficiency of reporting faults and defects; secondly, it ensures all relevant stakeholders become, and remain, informed.
- Fault and Defect Tracking
When a vehicle fault or defect has been identified, it needs to be rectified on the spot to keep the vehicle operational and safe to use. If this is not practicable, the vehicle needs to be grounded while it undergoes repairs. To track the workflow of repairs, fleet managers or business owners often use a spreadsheet. However, spreadsheets are time-consuming and rely on information being entered manually, such as logging faults or defects and updating workflow.
With digital checklists, reported faults and defects are automatically and immediately uploaded to an electronic Action Register. This removes the time involved in manual data entry and the dependency of someone performing the task. Once uploaded, an automated email alerts stakeholders of reported faults and defects, allowing repairs to be prioritised in real-time and scheduled immediately. Once repairs are complete, uploading supporting documents to the Action Register and marking the job as completed initiates another automated email that alerts the fleet manager or business owner of the change in status. Closing out the repair initiates a third automated email that alert stakeholders that notifies stakeholders.
An Action Register that holds all the information related to repairs is vital as it can be used as evidence of vehicle maintenance and upkeep during an audit.
- Form Registry
Conducting pre-start checks would be considered ‘reasonably practicable’ to ensure a heavy vehicle and its associated equipment is safe before entering the road network. Thus, daily pre-start checks are evidence of compliance with maintenance management systems. Completed paper daily pre-start checks that have been reviewed and actioned need to be filed and securely stored in physical space—this can make retrieving stored paper pre-start checks a challenge when authorities or auditors require specific checklists. Pre-start checklists that have been completed digitally do not require physical space for storage and can be easier to find.
Cloud-based checklist software stores completed digital pre-start checklists in a secure register within the cloud. If such software incorporates full search criteria, completed pre-start checks can be found using criteria such as equipment/fleet ID, a date range or the name of the person that completed the pre-start checklist. If needed, the registry can be exported to PDF or saved as a CSV file that can be viewed in a spreadsheet program such as Excel.
Other important elements to consider when choosing the best vehicle and equipment checklist and inspection software for your organisation may include the following.
- Do you need to complete checklists and inspections off-line (no internet connectivity)?
- Do you need the list fields to auto-populate with the time, date, address and a name?
- What safety management functionality do you need?
While inexpensive, a digital checklist and inspection software application is a critical investment in your business. To be worthwhile, the software not only needs to provide value, it needs to solve a business problem.
DIGI CLIP is a digital checklist and inspection software application that offers all the above-mentioned features plus much more. So, with no lock-in contract, why not start a free 14-day trial of DIGI CLIP today and take advantage of the many benefits DIGI CLIP provides?