5 Time Management Automations for Busy Fleet Managers - Pitstop

5 Time Management Automations for Busy Fleet Managers

02 May 2024

Read time: 6 min

Control the fleet management chaos with these tips

Every day in the life of a fleet manager is a relentless marathon against the clock, filled with unexpected challenges that can disrupt even the most meticulously laid plans. From the constant fault codes popping up to the non-stop back-and-forth communication with drivers, the demands of fleet management can be overwhelming. In an industry where time is as valuable as the cargo you carry, finding ways to streamline your operations and minimize busy work isn’t just beneficial—it’s essential.

With this challenge in mind, we’ve crafted some time management hacks for fleet manager busy work. These strategies leverage artificial intelligence (AI) in fleet management software and technology to cut down on manual tasks that are holding you back. Whether it’s refining work order management or reducing unnecessary communication, these tips are designed to significantly impact your daily workload.

1. Analyzing Work Order History 

Consider this: a shop manager might spend anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes per work order on review and initial planning alone, adding up to roughly 16 to 33 hours over the course of a week. A thorough review of repair and maintenance history can reveal recurring patterns of expensive or inefficient shop visits. For example, if it becomes evident that certain mechanics consistently require more time than average to complete similar tasks, there could be a golden opportunity for targeted training aimed at improving their skills and overall repair quality to prevent rework.

Integrating an AI-powered work order management system can drastically reduce the time spent on analysis. Systems like these excel at sifting through complex work order data and comparing fault code clusters that may help predict and avoid breakdowns. Take Pitstop, for instance: this system not only ingests work order data for predictive insights but also monitors the total and average costs of shop visits without needing to manually go through each and make the calculations. This capability transforms your work order data from a mere administrative record into a dynamic tool that actively works to conserve your time and resources.

2. Back-and-Forth Calls with Drivers

How often do you find yourself unable to sit down for more than five minutes without a driver calling in? Maybe one is dealing with an uncomfortable seat, while another reports rough idling and an illuminated engine light. This constant barrage of calls can disrupt your workflow and demands quick, expert problem-solving. While it’s impossible to eliminate these calls entirely, there are effective strategies to manage them so you can concentrate on more critical issues.

By implementing fleet maintenance software that prioritizes remote diagnostic and predictive alerts, you and your team can stay on top of high-risk assets, cutting down the volume of direct calls from drivers. This system allows you to monitor the status of fault codes that might cause an engine to derate, or determine if it’s safe for a vehicle to continue on its route. This way, you can eliminate the need to bring a vehicle into the bay just to connect a scan tool and diagnose issues.

Additionally, because you can see exactly what the drivers are seeing—like those warning lights on the dashboard—you’re in a better position to provide immediate reassurance and guidance, reducing driver panic and confusion on the road. This streamlined communication not only saves time but also enhances fleet safety and driver retention.

3. Logging into Too Many Fleet Management Platforms

We’re all too familiar with the hassle of logging into multiple systems just to manage your fleet effectively. It’s a common issue—juggling various platforms that don’t communicate with each other complicates everything, especially when we’re trying to integrate new software to solve specific problems. What you really need is a solution where everything seamlessly integrates with the systems we’re already using. This integration simplifies team training and allows them to fully leverage your investment.

Pitstop addresses this by consolidating various sources of fleet management systems, telematics/ELD data, work order history, and preventive maintenance schedules into one streamlined platform. For example, if you need to open a DVIR in Samsara, you can manage it directly through Pitstop, and it will automatically sync with the same status in Samsara.

Another great example is integrating Pitstop with AssetWorks for all your fleet management requirements. Pitstop can push its AI-driven fleet maintenance insights directly into the AssetWorks platform, giving you access to predictive alerts, parts inventory, work orders, and more—all within your team’s platform of choice. This integration doesn’t just save time from administrative tasks; it ensures all your fleet data is easily tracked and capitalized with insights.

4. Reviewing and Closing Fault Codes

A fleet with 500 vehicles might experience over 200 fault codes daily, totaling more than 1,400 codes each week that require a fleet manager’s review for severity and resolution. This process is not only time-consuming, but the manual handling of such a large volume of fault codes can lead to oversight of critical alerts. Missing these important warnings often results in costly breakdowns while vehicles are in operation.

Pitstop streamlines this process significantly through automation tailored to your specific fleet needs. One key feature is fault code prioritization. After analyzing over 17 million fault codes, Pitstop identifies which codes are most likely to result in component failure. This system also takes into account your fleet’s repair history and trigger counts, which helps determine the urgency of each fault code. Thus, when a critical alert pops up on the dashboard, you know it needs immediate attention, while less urgent codes can wait until the next scheduled shop visit. Pitstop provides you with extensive fault code information when opening an issue, including ChatGPT descriptions when fault code information is vague, reducing time researching through multiple sources on next-step recommendations.

When it comes to clearing fault codes, Pitstop’s rules based on engine hours come into play; if a fault code doesn’t reappear within five engine hours, it automatically closes, helping to keep your dashboard clean and focused. The ability to bulk close issues, which then updates across other fleet management systems, is another time-saver, cutting down an average of 10 hours per week in diagnostic time.

5. Dealing with Technician Repairs

It’s a common scene in the shop: technicians walking into the office unannounced to gather more diagnostic information for work orders, while the vehicle they need to fix is already in the bay waiting. Managing repairs is much more than just ticking off tasks on a list—it’s about being deeply involved in both training and guiding your technicians to ensure that repairs are not only completed on time but also done right the first time. Identifying the root causes of issues helps avoid the pitfalls of quick fixes that might only lead to further problems down the line. Moreover, when you’re overseeing multiple bays, standardizing repair quality across all locations is key to maintaining overall fleet reliability.

Pitstop’s vehicle health reports dramatically streamline this process. Without needing to plug in a scan tool, Pitstop automatically generates a detailed report that includes prioritized remote diagnostic fault codes, predictive issues, DVIR information, odometer readings, and comprehensive issue descriptions. These printable reports supplement the mechanics’ work orders, providing all the information they need upfront. According to feedback from our customers, this feature alone has cut down diagnostic time by about 20 minutes per shop visit. This efficiency not only speeds up repairs but also ensures that every fix is based on reliable, detailed data, significantly boosting the quality of maintenance work and ultimately, the uptime of your fleet.

Start Cutting Down Busy Work for Free with Pitstop

Our mission is to streamline your operations and free you from the constraints of busy work through the power of AI-enhanced tools like Pitstop. Experience firsthand how our solutions can reduce your workload and enhance your fleet’s performance. Start your free trial now and begin your journey to a more efficient and productive fleet management experience.