Herefordshire-based ABE Transport is enjoying smooth and easy recording of all vehicle maintenance data thanks to Truckfile digital workshop and fleet management systems.
The operator joined the Truckfile family earlier this year and, says Transport Compliance Manager Jeff Pryce, has not looked back since.
ABE Transport runs 46 trucks from its headquarters in Ledbury, most of which are from DAF or Mercedes-Benz. The line-up comprises 22 top-weight tractor units, 23 rigids at 18 tonnes gvw and a single 26-tonner. The fleet also includes 70 semi-trailers, most of which are curtainsiders. The company is owned by Palletline and serves customers across Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Powys, Gloucestershire and Shropshire. The trucks are maintained by its workshop team of five qualified technicians and one apprentice, who work across two shifts per day.
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. For Mr Pryce and his colleagues, the improvement in ease and efficiency of record-keeping has been a revelation.
“From a compliance point of view, I love it,” he said. “I have full visibility of everything that happens with our truck fleet. Already I’m using it far more than even 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.
“Nothing is further away than 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 transformed the way ABE’s workshop team go about their daily tasks, too. The system records the initial allocation of a job to a technician, who then uses a hand-held tablet device to check off every stage – and again, all records are automatically updated, securely stored and easily accessible. Drivers, meanwhile, can also use Truckfile to perform and record their walkaround checks. Details for each vehicle can then be viewed on-screen alongside workshop inspection sheets.
Reaching this point has been a six-month journey for ABE. “The workshop and fleet management were the only aspects of the company not governed by a computer system,” recalled Mr 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 approach to running this side of the business.
“So I started looking around at what was available on the market. We approached several different suppliers, but straight away I could see that Truckfile was very much like the idea in my head of what I wanted. A demonstration confirmed it was exactly what I was looking for.”
From the outset, though, Mr Pryce knew that others in the company would also need to be convinced. “Implementing a change like this, you need everyone to be on board,” he said. “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. So we asked the Truckfile team to give us a second demo, and this time we included people from across the whole company. It was a great success and everyone, including the workshop team, was impressed. With that, the decision was taken.”
Having made the choice, moving over to digitised recording proved to be a painless process. “The Truckfile team were with us as we ‘went live’ and have been on hand ever since for support but really very little help was required,” said Mr Pryce. “It all went incredibly smoothly and already I can’t imagine ever being without it.
“It doesn’t stop here though,” he continued. “We’re already looking at how we can use Truckfile to do even more. 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.”