Papers in the Wind

Teletrac Navman urges road transport businesses to go paperless with its latest Electronic Work Diaries to better manage fatigue, improve process flows and streamline operations.

Fleet managers, operators and those working in roles across Australia’s transport industry, according to Teletrac Navman Chief Product Officer, Andrew Rossington, know all too well the time-consuming burden of wading through stacks of paper documents and workbooks.

In the past 12 months, many businesses have shifted operations online, particularly as they adapt to new practices in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

However, in research conducted by Gartner, while 87 per cent of senior business leaders say digitalisation is a company-wide priority, only 40 per cent have actually brought digital initiatives to scale.

In light of a transport sector that faces increased demand and growth, businesses, according to Andrew, will benefit in many ways as they transition to a more paperless workforce by automating everyday processes with digital technologies.

“With all this generating what feels like endless documentation for each task, every customer, all incidents and the entire driver roster, having to stay on top of these physical files has been a monumental task,” Andrew says.

This Increased demand also brings greater pressure on staff and workers.

“It’s essential that you’re doing everything to carefully manage not only employee wellbeing, but driver fatigue, to ensure the safety of your staff while they’re out on the road,” Andrew says.

Now available as a voluntary alternative to written work diaries, Electronic Work Diaries (EWDs), Andrew says, will make managing fatigue easier for everyone by doing away with tedious manual processes.

“Gone are the days of drivers having to write down estimations of their working hours into physical work diaries, for admin staff inputting the data manually to check for violations,” he says. “With an EWD taking care of the everyday calculations of fatigue, the driver can focus on the road ahead knowing their exact hours available, while the back-office know in real-time, that their drivers are compliant with fatigue regulations and that the business is continuing efficiently.

“With an AI-powered fleet management solution, you can view fatigue data alongside important information like vehicle and engine performance as well as in-vehicle camera footage. All this data combined paints a realistic picture of your entire operation. With no more guesswork, you can make more effective decisions quickly.”

Does a fleet manager or a heavy vehicle operator know what to look for though? Fortunately, natural language search makes it easier for users to essentially ‘Google’ their own data and redefine the way to use this information to best suit their needs.

“Dig further with added variables to find opportunities,” Andrew says. “Rectify issues before they become problems.”

Maintaining a successful business, Andrew says, is ensuring everyone in the company is on the same page which means practicing effective communication and making information freely available.

“Everyone needs to be aware of challenges, workloads and delivery requirements for customers – from those on the ground who need to make quick decisions to senior team members who need to understand overall trends and barriers to success,” he says. “Digitised forms help to improve the flow of processes, providing everyone across the business with the same instant access to information. Electronically stored documents like permits, gazettes, site maps and customer information enable you to boost efficiency through more accurate decision-making.”

Digitising documentation, Andrew says, lets workers instantly pull up the information they need, ensuring they stay legally compliant while allowing them to complete jobs faster. “You’ll have peace of mind knowing all your documentation is always up to date with everyone across the business working with the same information.”

Another perk of going paperless is streamlining operations.

“Processes entwined with manual tasks that require permits, routes marked on paper, or runsheets handed over on clipboards are time consuming,” Andrew says. “Not only does dealing with and storing physical documentation costs you hours of time and money, but it can lead to vital information being misplaced, potentially leading to missed deadlines and legal headaches.

“By knowing the current workload of drivers and what jobs are coming up, you can create custom routes that allow drivers to complete tasks as quickly as possible. With a digital job management and execution system, you not only connect your freight and tasks with your fleet, you can build turn by turn routes that allow you to accurately understand where your drivers need to be, and keep an eye on them if they deviate – especially when you are considering compliant routes that need to be monitored, such as dangerous or hazardous goods.”

Also, users can view real-time and historical data to gain insight on fleet tasks.

By pulling up the current and previous movements of vehicles, operators can evaluate if there are any opportunities to improve on efficiencies or should any issues have occurred.

“You can then visualise your insights by bringing in more information, like compliance data or in-vehicle camera footage, to discover and verify if there are any correlations between speeding drivers, locations and vehicles,” Andrew says. “This all tells you more about what’s going on, allowing you to take a proactive approach to managing risk and enhancing your operations.”

Data delivered in real-time can reportedly boost response time, improving customer service.

“For example, if an urgent task comes through, you can view the current location of your fleet and assign the nearest delivery driver to the job at hand,” Andrew says.

According to the ACT Government, the average office worker uses around 50 kilograms of paper each year. Going digital not only brings a wide range of benefits to a transport operation, according to Andrew, but it is also better for the environment.

“Digitising your documentation allows everyone to have easy access to important information, and keeps sensitive data secure by preventing it from getting into the wrong hands,” he says. “Save countless hours of shredding, storing and recording physical documents, while creating a smoother workflow for your staff and speeding up business practices. With Australia’s freight demand set to rise, digitising your documentation will enable your brand to meet customer demands in the years to come.”