When you manage a fleet — whether it’s a bevy of vehicles designed to carry staff to job locations or a lot full of lease cars waiting on new customers — it’s easy to find yourself caught up in the minutia of the management. And not seeing the big picture or the relevant details at the right time can lead to issues such as unnecessarily high expenses, production shortfalls, customer dissatisfaction and low employee morale.
Those are just a few reasons strong fleet management is important. Visual Planning 8 helps you improve fleet management using intelligent technology tools, integrations, and automations. Find out about some specific ways Visual Planning 8 and its new features can help you strengthen your fleet management processes below.
1. Provide Mobile Access for Team Members Who Are On the Road
VPGO is Visual Planning’s mobile app. It syncs with critical relevant information and functionality the software offers and provides easy-to-use and view features for users on smartphones and tablets.
Schedule and calendar views can be easily toggled between landscape weekly views and portrait task list views, ensuring drivers can make the most of a quick stop or check things with a glance before they get back on the road after a job or delivery.
Comments can be viewed and entered right from the mobile device too, which means fleet personnel can easily respond to threads or update teams or supervisors on progress.
2. Easily Align Resources to Fleet-Related Tasks
In a TomTom global study about how fleet managers spend their time, 42% said they spend a large amount of time identifying which people are right for each job. Sorting through printed lists, spreadsheets or even cumbersome databases to find the drivers or workers with the right skills for a task takes time. And once you’ve compiled a list, you can’t even be sure those workers will be available, so you have to start a separate hunt for that purpose.
Visual Planning’s resource allocation tool puts a stop to the shuffle of resource management. You can set up rules for various types of tasks to define what skills, authorizations or certifications are required. When fleet managers or schedulers need someone for a certain task, they can find the relevant workers with a few clicks.
Even better, you can filter by availability, so you’re never setting up a task or quoting something to a customer relying on workers that may be out sick, on vacation or busy with another assignment.
3. Set Up User Dashboards for Fast Visual Updates
Dashboards are a go-to tool for leadership, but when it comes to providing relevant information or access to the most critical functions, they can be a great tool for everyone. Except…the most important information or function for one person isn’t the most important for another.
Visual Planning 8 steps into this conundrum with a simple solution: the ability to customize dashboards at the user level. You can make as many dashboards as there are user profiles in your account!
Set up user dashboards so workers can get to information fast. This improves productivity whether they’re in the office, on the road or on a job site. You can create unique dashboards for various team supervisors, schedulers and managers too to provide everything they need to oversee and support their fleet.
4. Rely on Simplified Designs for Efficiency
One of the changes in Visual Planning 8 is an attention to simplified design. The update aims to support utmost efficiency by cutting down on clicks and making functions intuitive and easy. Drag-and-drop options, custom dashboards and the ability to hide inactive users so they don’t gum up the process are just some of the ways Visual Planning 8 helps fleet organizations get more done in less time.
5. Let Automations Help Handle Event Scheduling
Automating repetitive or tedious tasks can save everyone a lot of time and cut down on potential mistakes too. The ability to add skill and availability rules, for example, allows automation of one critical scheduling task: finding the right resources for each job. You may even be able to set it up so that work is automatically assigned to the next available resource with the right qualifications.
But Visual Planning also automates one aspect of event scheduling. The system can automatically adjust the timing of existing scheduled events when a new event is inserted. For example, if you insert a job that takes an hour to complete into a scheduled day, the system can bump all future items for that day by an hour to accommodate for the change. That can cut down on a lot of manual changes.
6. Keep Track of Potential Drifts and Intervene Proactively
Dashboards, automated updates and other system tools can help you keep track of potential drifts and intervene proactively to support employee morale and customer satisfaction. For example, if one van in your fleet gets stuck in an interstate traffic jam, you can easily dispatch another van and reassign some tasks to balance the load given new time parameters.
Plus, the resource management tools in Visual Planning 8 aren’t limited solely to people. You can manage equipment, vehicles and other resources too.
7. Integrate SMS and/or Email Alerts for Real-Time Updates
Remember that TomTom global study? Around 40% of participants said that keeping customers informed took up a significant amount of time. But you can integrate SMS or email alert functionality with Visual Planning 8 to keep all of the relevant stakeholders updated in real time. Let customers know drivers are on the way, give increasingly accurate time estimates on when someone might arrive or update them on any changes in the plan due to unforeseen circumstances such as traffic or weather.
Speaking of issues like traffic and weather, real-time updates are also valuable for fleet staff who might need to know whether a downed tree blocked one road or if weather in an area is concerning so you want to reassign them to a different area for the day.
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