Companies that develop fleet management software are making life a lot easier for drivers, technicians, fleet managers and executives in the C-Suite.
The software systems being demoed at user conferences in the transportation industry this year have new dashboards with graphical objects, known as cards, to display various metrics tailored to individual user responsibilities and preferences.
As part of these new designs, software companies have given their customers the flexibility to build workflows that simplify steps for users to identify and act on the exceptions in data. In many cases, all it takes to complete a process that used to take minutes or hours is a mouse click.
At the Dossier Summit, April 18-19 in San Antonio, fleet maintenance personnel were given a preview of a new system they can expect in 2018. Although no official announcement was made, Dossier Systems is working on a major redesign of its flagship maintenance management software with a release planned for this time next year.
To date, the Dossier software has been designed to run on Windows PCs. An online or software-as-a-service version is also available. The future 2018 release will have responsive design elements to adapt the user interface to any device, mobile or PC, with many new features that improve the user experience, explained Bob Hausler, vice president of technology and marketing at Dossier Systems.
Fleet maintenance software systems, like Dossier, track maintenance-related activities and costs. Many of the software’s functions center on the repair order process from identifying vehicles in need of maintenance to entering and approving repair orders and purchases, and then tracking all of the labor, parts and other costs associated with repairs.
Big changes are coming in 2018, but the 2017 conference was about what fleets can do today to improve asset maintenance with technology, and more specifically the newest version of Dossier 6.6
The Active Alerts notification system in Dossier 6.6, for example, is enhanced to give users more flexibility to specify who can receive and respond to automatic messages. The system can be configured to send alerts when certain conditions have been met such as when preventive maintenance (PM) work has become due based on mileage or hours, Hausler said.
A fleet could set up an Active Alert to notify a driver and a dispatcher a PM service is due. A text message could be sent to the driver’s phone asking him to contact the shop and schedule the PM service. Another alert could notify the driver when the repair order is closed and the vehicle is ready to return to service.
Also on the mobile front, drivers and technicians can use personal devices to login to a mobile version of Dossier called Dossier Lite to input odometer readings and enter items in need of repair as “work pending.” Dossier Lite comes with the base Dossier system for no extra charge.
Technicians at Hagey Coach and Tours, a motor coach and school bus operator based in Souderton, Penn., use Dossier Lite to enter work pending items while inspecting vehicles and doing PM services, says Bob Nolan, fleet manager.
“If they notice something or don’t have a part, they will pull out their phone and enter a work pending. It is quick and simple,” he says.
Dossier 6.6 comes with new integrations with third-party systems as well. One is an automatic import for Technician Hours data from timekeeping systems such as Kronos. It also has a new pre-packaged General Accounting Export that groups maintenance costs into standard accounting GL buckets for easier import into business systems, the company said.
The system supports additional integrations with telematics providers through the Dossier On-Board module. Through Dossier On-Board, diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) enter the Dossier system as a work pending items. With one click a user can create a repair order.
Likewise, integration with electronic Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIR) from telematics providers give users a simple workflow to approve and create repair orders for items that fail drivers’ pre-trip inspections. Once the repair order is completed, a message is sent back to the driver to confirm the work was done.
Dossier On-Board now integrates with Omnitracs XRS, adding to existing integrations with Zonar and others.
An integration that Hausler would like to see in Dossier in the near future is with Decisiv, a system that tracks service event information by integrating with the maintenance systems used by fleets, dealerships and independent repair centers.
Decisiv captures and communicates event information to fleets through an online platform. The information includes all relevant information about the repair, from what triggered the event—a diagnostic trouble code, for example—and the status details from start to finish, says Michael Riemer, vice president of product and channel marketing for Decisiv.
The Decisiv platform gives fleets visibility of each step in the repair process that include cost estimates, approval processes, and updates of who did what, how long it took, and when the repair will be completed.
“All of that information is critical and it follows the process all the way through until asset is done,” Riemer says.