Fleet Maintenance - 25
From paper to digital
When transitioning from paper to digital documenting, there are a few important aspects
fleets should keep in mind: equipment, training, and time.
Depending on whether the fleet is partially digital already (using a CMMS or TMS in the office) or
handles all paperwork manually, some thought
will need to be put into whether the fleet has the
proper equipment to set up document digitization.
The type of equipment tends to be more of an issue
for the fleets who already have CMMS or TMS in
place and are looking to integrate a mobile app for
the drivers. Fleets should think about congruity
between the app and the equipment, image quality, retention, and range.
Ryan Sparrow, DocumentPower
product manager for McLeod
Software, a provider of transportation management and trucking
software solutions to the trucking industry, notes
that fleets must be sure the drivers have capable
handheld devices that are compatible with the
app. The decision to provide the drivers with a
tablet or other mobile device is up to the fleet, but
regardless of whether the drivers use their own
devices or have company-provided devices, fleets
need to ensure whatever mobile application they
choose will work with that equipment.
When drivers use a mobile app
for document scanning, the
image quality must be good
enough that the documents can
be used for the fleet's records, billing, or any
potential legal proceedings. McLeod Software's
Sparrow notes that their mobile app, McLeod
Anywhere, converts any captured images from
an 8-megabyte color image to a 20-kilobyte
black and white TIFF image, which is the industry standard for storing images in document
There are two advantages to having the images
stored in this way, says Sparrow. One, the driver
is not incurring massive data charges on their
personal phone plans. A small and transferable
file is key to keeping the drivers using the app.
Many fleets do not subsidize a driver's phone
Additionally, the image enhancement built into
the app will despeckle, deskew, and improve the
image color, making the whites brighter and the
blacks darker. This enhancement is essential, as
the environment these images are captured in
- such as the truck cab or at a rest stop - isn't
always well lit.
Another aspect to image quality comes from
the device being used. When comparing a smart
phone's camera to a tablet's camera, the phone is
likely to have better image quality than the tablet.
"Tablets, traditionally, have not been used for
taking pictures, so the camera quality on tablets
has not caught up to what we've seen on the latest
generation of phones," Eleos Technologies' Pollock
says. "As companies are now using mobile apps as
their driver interface, they're putting commodity-grade tablets in the truck."
The issue with these tablets, notes Pollock, is
most of them don't have a flash function for the
camera, which is helpful in getting a good image.
Fleets must carefully choose products before
purchasing and trying to put them to use.
"We have seen companies make that transition
only to realize that their image quality starts
suffering because of a poor-quality camera on a
tablet," Pollock says. "We always encourage our
customers to test multiple tablets and to test it in
a real-world environment to see what's going to
work best for them."
Every fleet is going to have documents
that are must-keeps and others that
can be discarded after a certain period of time. It is important for fleets to
understand whether their mobile apps and CMMS
or TMS have retention limits. If fleets aren't careful, documents they need could be deleted due to
the retention parameters on the device the documents are stored on.
Doug Schrier, vice president of product and
innovation for Transflo, a provider of an all-inone software for drivers and fleet managers, notes there are systems with built-in
If there is no retention built into the system, it
is up to the fleet to decide on a purging process
for unnecessary documents.
"With electronic files, retention rules can be
put in place based on document type, regulations,
company policy, et cetera, and the documents will
automatically be purged or hidden depending on
the specific rule," EBE Technologies' Nelson states.
"This eliminates the potential of maintaining
documents that should have been purged and,
since they exist, can be used as 'discoverable.'"
At some point it is likely a driver will
find themselves out of range and
unable to remotely send captured
images from a mobile device. Fleets must be
considerate of this when choosing a mobile app.
While on the road, drivers may not always have a
strong signal to a data network that is needed in
order to send these documents back to the office.
In some mobile apps, such as Vector Mobile, the
app will hold the image until the driver is back
in range and send the image automatically once
reception is found.
This will alleviate any worries the driver has
about whether they are in a good area or if it's a
good time to scan. The driver can just scan the
document and move on.
Once a fleet determines the best smartphone,
tablet, laptop, etc., for their needs, they should
make training a priority. Service providers offering document organization and digitization can
provide this training. For example, with the Vector
Mobile app, the company's customer success team
provides resource material and videos to the drivers, can host webinars, or go onsite for training
while the app is being implemented.
It is important to remember that the process of
transitioning from paper to digital will take time.
"Everyone is always looking for a silver bullet to
take existing files and convert them to digital, but
at the end of the day, it is somewhat of a manual
process to scan and index the document files,"
EBE Technologies' Nelson says. "Some companies choose to keep legacy files in paper and the
go-forward process is all digital. Depending on the
application or department, the legacy files may
become obsolete sooner than later and the energy
to convert them to digital is not relevant."
It should also be noted that there is no legal
reason to keep paper copies of documents. Since
the 1990s, the FMCSA has encouraged motor carriers to use digitized documents for information
collecting and record-keeping purposes.
Best practices for organization
After transitioning from paper documentation to
digital, fleets will need to decide how to organize
the documents in a way that works best for their
operation. To start, McLeod Software's Sparrow
says fleets must consider three questions:
ÜÜWhat is the document?
ÜÜWhere does it belong?
ÜÜHow can the document be retrieved from
"With answers to those three questions, [fleets
will be] able to architect the structure of [their]
document management system," Sparrow says.
For a fleet's CMMS or TMS, organization will
come from properly indexing each document.
"The key to the organization is being able to
attach as many identifiers (indexes) associated
with the documents [regardless of department or
archive] as necessary so that they can be easily
retrieved by personnel," EBE Technology's Nelson
says. "A document may be accessed by doc[ument]
type, driver code, order number, shipper number,
or accident ID."
As for document organization within mobile
apps, many apps come with a filtering option to
make searching for and finding documents easier. Drivers can filter by year, type of document,
company, location, etc. With this sort of search
functionality, drivers are able to access documents
quickly and efficiently.
Even as more fleets make the transition to digital
documentation, the importance of maintaining
those documents stays the same.
"It is critical for fleets to keep historical records
to ensure complete visibility of operations,"
says Matt Gunzenhaeuser, sales director, U.S.
and Canada, Webfleet Solutions, a Bridgestone
company that provides telematics and fleet
In utilizing document digitization, fleets are
able to greatly improve operational efficiency
through boosting productivity, enhancing accuracy, streamlining processes, and much more.
For related content, visit:
March 2020 | VehicleServicePros.com
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fleet Maintenance
Uptime: Get Involved
The Role of Composites in Heavy Duty Trucking
Best Practices to Establish a Total Vehicle Alignment Program
Document Management in the Digital Age
Smoke Out Cabin Leaks
Four Keys to a Successful Extended Drain Interval Program
Management: Be Aware of Maintenance Scheduling Challenges in the Shop
Training: What Does Trucking Have to Do With STEM?
Fleet Parts & Components
Tools & Equipment
Guest Editorial: The Ripple Effect of Unplanned Downtime
Fleet Maintenance - 1
Fleet Maintenance - 2
Fleet Maintenance - 3
Fleet Maintenance - 4
Fleet Maintenance - 5
Fleet Maintenance - 6
Fleet Maintenance - 7
Fleet Maintenance - Uptime: Get Involved
Fleet Maintenance - 9
Fleet Maintenance - The Role of Composites in Heavy Duty Trucking
Fleet Maintenance - 11
Fleet Maintenance - 12
Fleet Maintenance - 13
Fleet Maintenance - 14
Fleet Maintenance - 15
Fleet Maintenance - Best Practices to Establish a Total Vehicle Alignment Program
Fleet Maintenance - 17
Fleet Maintenance - 18
Fleet Maintenance - A1
Fleet Maintenance - A2
Fleet Maintenance - A3
Fleet Maintenance - A4
Fleet Maintenance - 19
Fleet Maintenance - 20
Fleet Maintenance - 21
Fleet Maintenance - Document Management in the Digital Age
Fleet Maintenance - 23
Fleet Maintenance - 24
Fleet Maintenance - 25
Fleet Maintenance - 26
Fleet Maintenance - 27
Fleet Maintenance - Smoke Out Cabin Leaks
Fleet Maintenance - 29
Fleet Maintenance - Four Keys to a Successful Extended Drain Interval Program
Fleet Maintenance - 31
Fleet Maintenance - 32
Fleet Maintenance - 33
Fleet Maintenance - Management: Be Aware of Maintenance Scheduling Challenges in the Shop
Fleet Maintenance - Training: What Does Trucking Have to Do With STEM?
Fleet Maintenance - Fleet Parts & Components
Fleet Maintenance - 37
Fleet Maintenance - 38
Fleet Maintenance - 39
Fleet Maintenance - 40
Fleet Maintenance - 41
Fleet Maintenance - Tools & Equipment
Fleet Maintenance - 43
Fleet Maintenance - 44
Fleet Maintenance - 45
Fleet Maintenance - 46
Fleet Maintenance - 47
Fleet Maintenance - 48
Fleet Maintenance - Classifieds
Fleet Maintenance - Guest Editorial: The Ripple Effect of Unplanned Downtime
Fleet Maintenance - 51
Fleet Maintenance - 52
Fleet Maintenance - B1
Fleet Maintenance - B2