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6 ways fleet management solutions help during COVID-19

6 ways fleet management solutions help during COVID-19
When the going gets tough, technology gets you going.
The onset of the pandemic has boosted the need for essential goods. Food, medicine, and medical equipment are more relevant to people at this stage that anything else. But fear of spreading the pandemic has also prompted many countries to control and restrict the movement of people and goods. 
The new restrictions have amplified the necessity of following safety guidelines with the utmost care. According to Ric Bedard, CEO of Cetaris listed six aspects that need to be considered when transporting essential items. 

1. Safety and cleanliness 

Ric Bedard, CEO, Cetaris
Proper hygiene and sanitation is clearly the most critical measure against COVID-19. Bedard advises adding extra cleaning and distancing policies inside any essential operations – increased access to alcohol-based sanitizers, PPE, and all employees should be positioned at least 2m apart. Fleets should schedule reoccurring standard jobs to sanitize vehicles before service, loading and unloading.
Daily inspection of the fleet can ensure that these practices are being followed. Fleet management solutions often have mobile inspection forms in which managers can add extra templates or questions about steps related to COVID-19. Some fleet management solution providers are already providing this template in the wake of the pandemic. 

2. Automation and mobility 

Most freight companies have moved on from the traditional methods of record management. If they have not, this is perhaps the crucial time to do it. Fleet management solutions allow companies to avoid contact as much as possible and even enable employees to work from home. 
“Having a paperless organization has never been more critical for fleets to reduce physical touchpoints using paper, and to allow a percentage of the workforce to work remotely,” Bedard explained. 

3. Food safety 

Perishable items have their specific requirements. Fleet managers should ensure appropriate sanitization between loads and perform inspections to ensure the correct temperature for sensitive supplies. With a fleet management system that is connected through the cloud, managers at any level can monitor these guidelines are being practiced. Consumers across the world are now concerned about the quality of food they eat, and companies can survive the pandemic only if they can guarantee this. 

4. Predictability, reliability, and uptime 

This has always been at the heart of fleet management. However, the stakes are even higher when 
fleets are delivering critical supplies such as PPE, medicine, and food. 
“The implications of an untimely breakdown are stark,” Bedard said. “According to a survey we conducted, many transportation companies have reported a decrease in worker availability, meaning route scheduling, driver management, uptime, and the vehicle in-service hours have become more critical than ever.”

5. Route management 

As governments enforce lockdown, movement becomes a hassle. This means that drivers should know which route to take and if there are any restrictions in specific areas. A fleet management solution allows them to do this, providing accurate information as early as possible. 
“Many fleets are reporting delays due to shutdown areas, states, or municipalities,” said Bedard. “It is critical to plan and optimize routes. And in case of a breakdown, check for the nearest open repair facility.”

6. Cost optimizations 

Finally, we also need to address the financial implications of the ongoing pandemic situation. A considerably prolonged recession is inevitable. This means that companies have to consider stringent austerity measures. Here too, fleet management solutions can help. 
“Many fleets have reported a decrease in new sales,” said Bedard. “This is a crucial time to leverage productivity tools that help to optimize wrench hours, increase driver availability, and decrease downtime.”

The final word

Summing up, Terrence Wang, Head of Marketing at FreightPath points out that the major difference between normal fleet management and fleet management of essential goods is the risk involved. While the technology used is fairly similar, when its essential goods, there is a small-time window and things must be delivered on time. 

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