By Rahul Tiwari, Managing Director, goDeskless
How the world has transformed in a year. Over the past 12 months, we have all become accustomed to doing everything remotely. After such a turbulent transition, the question arises: Are companies ready to properly accommodate the needs of their digital workforce?
Pre-COVID, digital transformation was already a priority for many companies. However, almost every strategy largely ignored the needs of the deskless workforce. 80% of the global workforce does not operate from behind a desk – that’s 2.7 billion sales reps, customer service advisors, field workers, technicians, and more. These employees have had to perform their tasks using tethered, office-based tools that often hindered their efficiency and productivity.
However, the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have also become a positive forcing function for businesses to realign their initiatives and address the pressing needs of their deskless workers. These folks are, after all, on the front lines. They are ones representing brands and serving customers who are fully expecting convenience and top-notch experiences. It’s only fair that they get the support they need to successfully perform their job.
In terms of fleet management, what are the best practices for enterprise tech leaders who are aiming to effectively manage their growing remote workforce and better serve their consumer base? Here is a crucial step that companies need to take: Onboard a deskless, EAM (or enterprise asset management) platform.
Employing the Right Fleet Management Technology
The right deskless technology can be a huge boost for the productivity of fleet management companies. A key solution here is a deskless EAM.
Modern enterprise asset management (EAM) systems give fleet managers and vehicle maintenance teams valuable tools for monitoring the condition of assets, such as maintenance history, warranty status and next scheduled maintenance or service. EAM solutions can manage the complete life cycle of vehicles and the systems used in the fleet operations. Multiple assets — many computerized — are part of the holistic fleet ecosystem. A sound EAM solution will help keep these pieces operating as needed, and cover the following key areas:
Tracking and Route Optimization
Here is a common scenario: Often, for fleet management companies, precise location tracking of the fleet is a major challenge. At any point in a given day, the fleet manager will need updates on the location of each vehicle and its ETA at a destination. A company vehicle with a GPS sensor directly connected to a truly deskless EAM system will return its exact location and keep the management informed of its whereabouts.
This also connects to the security of the personnel and the assets. In case of any untoward incident, the GPS will present an accurate map of the location and allow help/support to reach the asset without delay.
Moreover, route optimization is the need of the hour – surging fuel costs calls for vehicle drivers to take the shortest, fastest route to the destination. Enabling map and GPS-assisted route optimization, along with turn-by-turn navigation, helps the vehicle drivers to reach their respective destinations in the shortest distance possible – saving fuel and time.
Maintenance and Repair
The productivity of a fleet management company is evaluated by its carrying capacity per day or per hour, depending on the nature of the business. In any case, any idle time directly impacts the revenue. Hence, it is imperative that the vehicles are perpetually roadworthy, and breakdowns rectified immediately.
With an EAM system that provides ease of reporting, drivers can report breakdowns and other issues in real-time, and help can immediately be sent to the pinpointed location within minutes.
Such advanced systems can also interpret and derive insight from the data. They often contain business intelligence and analytics functionality to drill into possible factors influencing the need for service. Predictive analytics can also be used to spot anomalies in data which may signal potential problems. If warning signs are spotted in real time, intervention can happen before there is a complete breakdown.
Ease of Use and Flexibility
With today’s technicians expecting solutions that are easy to use – with the same types of intuitive interfaces as their consumer apps – it is essential that the EAM system be highly flexible, mobile-friendly, and accessible. This is especially important as technicians are often dispatched to remote locations for emergency repairs.
No matter what department you are in – plant operations, shipping, material handling, fleet management, or asset maintenance – the health and wellness of the plant’s fleet affects you. And whether you are the final decision-maker or a passenger in a company van, you can play a role in helping to access needs and identify opportunities for improvement. You depend on the fleet, and it depends on you to keep it running at peak performance.
How Fleet Management Employees Leverage Deskless EAM
Often, it’s the fleet managers, the vehicle drivers, and the repair technicians who are the frontline users that need real-time access to the data within the EAM solution. These individuals carry their respective handheld devices.
For example: A driver suddenly comes across an issue with their vehicle. With an effective deskless EAM, they can broadcast a request for help/repairs to all the available mechanics based on their proximity to the location of the issue and the skills they possess to resolve the issue. The geo-tagged location gives the mechanic the shortest possible time to approach the issue site. With the details of the issue and nature of the problem available on their device, they can carry the appropriate tools/spares to fix the issue within the first visit itself.
Fleet managers, on the other hand, can track the exact location from where the request was raised, as well as the progress of the issue’s resolution.
They can also view & approve (or reject) the mechanic’s job card. Some EAM solutions even allow direct payments through the app using various e-payment options!
Meanwhile, the mechanics themselves can raise a job card with the exact details of the issue, supported with images and videos. These job cards include the corresponding materials and labor costs required to fix the issues. The respective managers can then approve these job cards and compensate the mechanics through e-payment upon the job’s completion.
Make Work Easier for Your Deskless Employee
COVID-19 has highlighted the struggles of the deskless workers globally. Thankfully, more companies are formulating the right responses to support their deskless employees. For fleet management companies, leveraging an EAM solution will help processes go smoothly through efficient vehicle fleet tracking, preventive maintenance and immediate repairs, and an overall improved coordination.
My advice: make your deskless employees’ work easier. Leverage an EAM solution now for your vehicle fleets. You’ll get more efficiency gains, cost savings, and happier employees. And, of course, a boost to the bottom line.