By the nature of the industry, the job of a fleet manager is in constant evolution. While advances in technology and logistics definitely contribute to the smoother running of a delivery operation, ensuring the drivers themselves take on a higher level of responsibility is paramount in optimising the workflow.
When it comes to courier self-management, the catch phrase “there’s an app for that” is not only appropriate but far reaching. While previously the use of tracking systems has allowed greater visibility for administrators, now the ball has been lobbed squarely into the drivers’ court, with mobile technology plugging them directly into the company’s telematics solutions and affording them a level of autonomy never before experienced. It’s a brave new world and, for those who embrace it, a very empowering one for a courier. Self-management through some of the available apps allows drivers to streamline manual tasks, capture vital information and relay feedback.
Driving Behaviour While modern tracking systems are able to gather data about a fleet’s driving behaviour (good and bad), without two-way communication the information is ineffective in improving responsible driving practice. A mobile app (accessed by smartphone) can provide feedback to the wider workforce with a Driver Score. The information, calculated from real-time telematics data, includes all facets of behaviour including speeding, excess idling, sharp braking and acceleration, and compares them across the workforce – calculating an overall score. Having access to this kind of courier self-management can encourage greater responsibility and also be used as part of an incentive scheme.
Mileage Data Collection When a vehicle is used for both personal and business use, it’s important to collect accurate data to separate the two in order to calculate the correct expenditure and tax compliance. For a courier, self-management of the mileage data collection means having this information at their fingertips, and for the fleet manager, an automated system means simplifying payroll and other administrative procedures. Drivers can install a mobile app on their smartphones that logs the purpose of every journey and provides a complete audit trail linked to the company tracking system.
Vehicle Maintenance and Safety Vehicle maintenance is one of the most important operational aspects of a delivery business. With the installation of a mobile app, drivers are able to log daily or weekly safety inspections, providing fleet managers with instantly visibility. Any compliance issues can also be logged, with an alert being forwarded to administrators by email. Less urgent issues (scrapes, minor dents) can be accumulated in a report to be addressed at the vehicle’s next scheduled maintenance. There’s no doubt that implementing a degree of courier self-management through the use of mobile apps can make the job of the fleet manager much easier. But it’s not simply a matter of downloading and be done with it; the wider workforce needs to receive adequate training on the capabilities of the technology and also be clear on their personal responsibility to manage their use.
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world’s largest neutral trading hub for same day delivery jobs in the express freight exchange industry. Connecting professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, they also provide a valuable service, updating members with the latest information on issues affecting road safety, fuel costs, technology and courier self-management. Over 5,400 member companies are networked together through the Exchange to fill empty capacity, get new clients and form long-lasting business relationships.