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Pre-trip inspections

Drivers and hauliers all over the world start their day with pre-trip inspections. They are a required practice by many commercial vehicle regulatory bodies such as the CVRT in Ireland, DOT in the USA, and DVSA in the UK. The pre-trip inspection has become an integral part of the driver’s daily responsibilities as it could mean the difference between life and death.


Why complete them?

The goal of the pre-trip inspection is to ensure everything on the vehicle, the trailer, and the load is in good, safe working condition. The driver is ultimately responsible for ensuring the asset is safe to take onto the road. If the driver identifies an issue, the issue should be addressed before departure, and recorded in the logbook. Some typical checks include:


  • Check fluid levels
  • Check for leaks on the ground under the vehicle
  • Ensure airlines are connected between truck and trailer
  • Check headlights, taillights, and indicators for damage
  • Check tyres for excessive wear on truck and trailer
  • Ensure load is correctly tied down



The paper-based approach to pre-trip inspections

Many organisations with fleet still use inefficient paper slips to complete their daily pre-trip inspections. The main advantage to the paper-based approach is the materials are cheap to buy. However, those companies using pen and paper do not consider the indirect costs and related disadvantages associated with the paper-based approach. 


Disadvantages of using pen & paper

  • If new steps are added to the pre-trip inspection list, then new slips or defect books need to be printed and distributed.
  • There is a time delay between identifying the issue and reporting the issue. This can be the difference between addressing a small issue or participating in a post crash investigation.
  • There is considerable administrative work associated with a paper-based approach such as distributing new defect books, dropping slips off at the office, filing away the slips, recalling defects etc
  • Some defects will inevitably fall through the cracks when slips are misplaced. Small defects can quickly turn into something more serious.
  • It is virtually impossible to provide metrics, KPIs, or reports on reported defects.
  • Audits become a nightmare. Searching through folders full of paper slips to find all the records is difficult and time-consuming.
  • With a paper-based approach, your transport manager has a very limited visibility on the defects across the fleet.
  • A paper-based system leads to pencil whipping. Drivers complete the slips anytime during the day without actually doing the pre-trip inspection.
  • Another consideration is the environmental impact of all the paper that is used.

Take your pre-trip inspections digital

Fleet is mobile so it needs a mobile solution.  There are lots of good cloud-based CMMS applications with mobile apps that simplify pre-trip inspections. More and more organisations are going digital and using CMMS mobile applications like Assetminder to streamline the inspection process. Drivers can complete the pre-trip inspection on their mobile device as they walk around the vehicle.


Advantages of going mobile

There are a number of advantages to using a mobile app for pre-trip inspections. Here are just a few:

  • Drivers can associate a severity with each defect, helping maintenance managers better prioritise, plan, and schedule the repair.
  • Drivers can record comments and images when completing inspections giving the mechanic greater context.
  • The time delay between identifying and reporting is virtually eliminated.
  • The system automatically notifies the supervisor immediately when serious defects are identified.
  • The checklist can be customised for individual asset types which leads to more detailed inspections for each vehicle.
  • The inspection can be changed quickly if new steps need to be added to the list.
  • Drivers can log an odometer reading during an inspection which could automatically trigger a meter-based PM.
  • Transport managers gain greater visibility on the fleet. They can see instantly what inspections were completed on a daily basis and what issues were highlighted.
  • Reports can be generated quickly giving important key metrics and KPIs.
  • Digital inspections help create an organisational culture with greater accountability. The inspection is time-logged ensuring the driver completes the inspection before the trip. If they log the inspection during the day, the system will show they started their journey without completing the inspection.


The bottom line

Digital pre-trip inspections simplify the inspection process by eliminating the headaches and inefficiencies associated with paper. A badly performed or missed pre-trip inspection could lead to a fatal crash. Employers now have greater peace of mind knowing trips begin as safely as possible. Going digital also garners more buy-in from drivers as it makes their lives easier.


When selecting a CMMS vendor for pre-trip inspections, be sure to select a vendor with a native mobile app. “Native” means the app can avail of the functionality built into the device such as camera, NFC communications, GPS etc.


For further reading on why a modern CMMS trumps pen and paper for managing maintenance and inspections, see our CMMS versus Pen and Paper – The Drive For Efficiency blog on the Assetminder website.

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