Unique Fleet Management Challenges for Utility Companies

Fleet management functions at utility companies are regularly placed under immense pressure. The nature of their business means they do not experience periods of downtime on a weekly basis to catch up on fleet-wide maintenance. Utility companies are responsible for providing power to a plethora of users whose livelihoods are dependent on the power supply; utility crews operate 24 hours a day 365 days of the year. Ranging from health institutions to homeowners and data centres, energy consumption is generally evenly divided among commercial, residential and industrial sectors which comprise of a diverse customer base incomparable to many other industries.

Unique to utility companies is the challenges their fleet management face in relation to their working conditions. Typically, power outages are triggered by adverse weather conditions with wind, heat, ice, and snow is the most common causes of power outages.

Regularly dealing with adverse weather conditions sees utility companies place an even greater emphasis on the safety of their fleet. Ensuring fleet vehicles are adequately maintained they need to be thoroughly inspected to help identify any underlying mechanical issues. It is impossible to detect early symptoms of any planned or unplanned maintenance issues if fleets are not regularly inspected. Here at Smartrak, we save you the hassle of traditional, paper-based daily vehicle inspection reports.

Empowering your utility company fleet with Smartrak

Traditional vehicle inspection reports via a trusty clipboard, pen and sheet of paper may be suitable when business is well paced and weather conditions are tolerable. But fleets are regularly placed in situations where they face hazardous weather conditions, exhausted staff, overtime hours, and power outage calls coming from all corners of their service territory.

Despite predicaments such as this, the strict department of transport requirements cannot be waived. Daily vehicle inspections quickly become the last priority on the minds of under-the-pump drivers, and the once all-reliable paper forms can easily be inaccurately signed off or lost. This can lead to equipment problems being overlooked, resulting in operations managers facing unplanned downtime at their busiest periods.

When vehicle breakdowns do occur, filing through old driver vehicle paperwork amid routine shift changes and staff callouts to jobs can be a nightmare. Paper-based fleet management requires a tedious process to be finalised, which often means that simple preventative maintenance issues are not instantly addressed leading to more serious equipment failures. The impracticality of daily vehicle inspection routines means that even when they are efficiently and accurately completed they are still largely ineffective.

Dynamic utility fleet management with Smartrak around

On the flipside, let’s assess how Smartrak’s products could assist fleets in the same scenario of emergency condition challenges. To begin with, vehicle drivers can immediately disregard having to fill out tedious paper-based daily vehicle inspection routines. Smartrak allows each driver to have their own individual mobility device and software so that fleet managers can accurately monitor who performed the inspection as well as when and where it took place. Smartrak allows for inspection history to be immediately filed providing fleet managers with an up-to-date record. From here repairs can be efficiently prioritized to ensure small technical problems don’t escalate into larger more expensive ones and vehicle availability is always at an optimal level.

Smartrak allows fleet managers to customize vehicle inspection forms based on varying situations. After long trips on unsealed roads, for example, tyre checks may need to be performed more frequently to prevent delays. Colder temperatures in winter often mean sharper monitoring of hydraulic fluids is required and a minimum vehicle engine warm-up time is needed. Smartrak allows fleet managers to quickly communicate important messages such as these to drivers in a timely and proactive way.

Smartrak gives far greater control to managers over what vehicles are inspected and when the inspections will occur. The new technology allows drivers to communicate in real-time with fleet managers sending photos and comments over any potential issues they have detected.

Real-time and reliable data from fleets to headquarters

A key benefit that Smartrak provides is that managers can stay connected with their fleets widely dispatched assets at any given moment. This means managers are instantly alerted the moment any potential problems or issues are detected. Automatic communication between an organisations headquarters and their dispatched fleet allows fleet managers to provide immediate solutions the moment issues arise, rather than letting down customers and delaying repair times

In summary

Smartrak provides a digital platform to document all vehicle checks and safety compliance. Smartrak’s Mobile Forms help protect utility companies from being exploited as they will always be able to produce relevant safety and inspection documents on demand, keeping everyone honest.