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A Safer Start: The Benefits of Digital Pre-start Checklists for Fleet Operators

iphone daily driver - digital prestart formbird fleet

Safety and compliance are paramount concerns for managers of heavy council assets, especially in light of Chain of Responsibility (COR) legislation. The duty of care that local authorities bear for their equipment and, more importantly, their personnel, demands a rigorous approach to asset

management. A critical component of this approach is using digital Pre-Starts. The shift from traditional paper logbooks to digital solutions has revolutionised many fleet’s daily operations.

For many years, paper logbooks were the standard for recording the status and conditions of council fleet assets. While these logbooks served a purpose, they came with inherent limitations that often hindered safety and compliance efforts.

1. Delayed Auditing: Sometimes weekly or even fortnightly. Issues or reported damage to assets could go unaddressed for extended periods, increasing the risk of accidents and non-compliance under COR legislation.

2. Limited Documentation: Paper logbooks offered little room for comprehensive documentation. Precise details of asset conditions and photographic evidence are impossible to include.

3. Static Forms: Traditional logbooks provided no flexibility to adjust to the unique needs of different assets within the fleet. The one-size-fits-all approach was a mismatch for the diverse range of council equipment.

4. No acknowledgement: Frustration with drivers believing that reported faults were not being attended to, by reporting the fault a second or third time.

The Digital Pre-start Revolution

With the advent of digital Pre-Starts, the fleet management landscape has transformed. These systems offer many advantages over their paper counterparts, making safety and compliance a more achievable goal.

1. Mobile Access: One of the standout features of digital Pre-Starts is their accessibility on mobile devices. Drivers and operators can perform checks on-site in real-time. There’s no longer a need to wait for paperwork to be turned in, captured and audited, ensuring rapid response to COR compliance needs.

Formbird FLEET lets operators conduct checks and document issues offline on mobile devices. Entries sync automatically when the mobile device is back in range, providing uninterrupted safety and compliance assurance.

2. Real-time Reporting: Digital Pre-Starts provide immediate access to supporting evidence, reports and data. This real-time capability is a game-changer for safety, compliance, and COR legislation. It ensures that fleet managers are always alerted  to the current condition of assets, allowing for swift action when issues arise.

3. Photographic Documentation: Digital Pre-Starts facilitate comprehensive communication through the use of photographic evidence taken with the mobile phone or tablet onsite. Managers and workshops can assess damage or abnormalities, ensuring rapid response and repairs. This feature dramatically enhances asset safety and assists in COR compliance.

In a recent incident, photos taken by an operator helped the workshop determine which vehicle and team members should attend a recovery of a garbage truck that got stuck off the shoulder of the road. 

4. Customisation and Flexibility:  The ability to customise the fields in a pre-start checklist to meet the specific needs of each asset is important. With digital pre-starts, councils can tailor check sheets to the unique requirements of different vehicles and equipment, from a landfill compactor to a chainsaw. This level of flexibility is simply unattainable with paper logbooks.

Why Digital Pre-Starts Are Superior

In the realm of safety, compliance, and COR legislation, digital Pre-Starts have emerged as the superior choice for several compelling reasons:

1. Enhanced Safety: Real-time reporting and photographic documentation enable prompt attention to any issues, mitigating safety risks and accidents while satisfying COR legislation requirements.

2. Streamlined Work Requests: With FLEET’s digital Pre-Start system, operators can instantly initiate work requests when they flag an issue as urgent that will be posted on the Workshop Supervisor’s dashboard. 

3. Streamlined Auditing: Digital records are easily audited, allowing for timely identification of non-compliance and rapid corrective action in line with COR legislation.

4. Customised Checks: Tailoring Pre-Starts requirements of specific assets ensures that all critical components are inspected, reducing the likelihood of failures.

The transition from paper logbooks to digital Pre-Starts represents a leap forward in fleet safety and compliance. The ability to customise checks, access information in real time providing photographic evidence of an asset’s condition, and automatically triggering work requests are game-changers for councils managing heavy assets and navigating the complexities of COR legislation. 

The days of delayed audits and static forms are behind us, ushering in a new era of proactive safety. It’s a shift that reflects the evolution of council fleet management, ensuring that our communities are safer, more compliant, and better served than ever before.

As we at Formbird draw upon 30 years of experience in business automation, we understand the critical role that digital Pre-Starts play in this transformative journey. Our focus remains unwaveringly on our customers’ safety, compliance, and COR legislation needs.