ABE Transport is enjoying smooth and easy recording of all vehicle maintenance data thanks to Truckfile digital workshop and fleet management systems, says Transport Compliance Manager Jeff Pryce.
ABE Transport is a member of the Palletline Group, operating across Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Powys, Gloucestershire and Shropshire from its Ledbury headquarters.
Its trucks are maintained by a workshop team of five qualified technicians and one apprentice, working two shifts per day. “The workshop and fleet management were the only aspects of the company not governed by a computer system,” recalled Jeff Pryce. “I could see the need for a new approach – to make my life easier, to give us a comprehensive oversight of all the information we have to record, and just to foster a more joined-up method of running this side of the business.”
Using the Truckfile system means that records of all vehicle safety checks, workshop inspections and any job carried out, from start to finish, are stored securely and permanently in electronic files, with no need to keep track of endless sheets of paper. The improvement in ease and efficiency of record-keeping has been a revelation for the company.
“From a compliance point of view, I love it,” said Pryce. “I have full visibility of everything that happens with our truck fleet. Already I’m using it far more than I thought I would. I can see when jobs are being started and follow them right through to completion, while all the relevant records are updated automatically.
“Everything is accessible at the click of a button – I don’t have to go searching for different bits of paper. It’s so easy to keep up to speed.”
Truckfile has also transformed management of the workshop. The system records the initial allocation of a job to a technician, who then uses a handheld tablet device to check off every stage – where again, all records are automatically updated. ABE’s drivers use Truckfile to perform and record their walkaround checks. Defect details for each vehicle can then be viewed on-screen alongside workshop inspection sheets.
While a demo had convinced Pryce that Truckfile was the way forward, he also knew that others in the company would need to be convinced, so he arranged another demo that included people from across the company. “Implementing a change like this, you need everyone to be on board. Technicians are not trained to input data, so I had to be sure the system would be quick and intuitive for them to use – that it would make their lives easier, too.”
ABE Transport is already looking at using Truckfile more. Pryce continued, “The next steps could include putting all parts ordering and buying on the system – not just to make managing our stock easier, but to allow Truckfile to show an ongoing cost per vehicle alongside the rest of the data we’re collecting. We might also use it to record all our billing for third-party work, and we’re actively considering applying to join the DVSA’s Earned Recognition programme – Truckfile can easily be set up to provide all the information that the agency’s inspectors need to confirm our compliance status and cut down the need to check our vehicles at the roadside.
“Installing Truckfile brought immediate benefits to our business, but the opportunities it provides to improve the efficiency of the operation are still unfolding.”