By Michael Benedict on July 11, 2017
Tags: Data Collection
Mobile apps are designed to make everyday tasks more efficient. You can document and file car insurance claims directly from your phone, right at the scene of the accident. With a mobile boarding pass, you can bypass the ticketing counter at the airport and go straight to your gate. You can bank with an app, book hotels with an app, order pizza with an app.
Now, motor carriers — and any businesses that employ trucks and drivers — can experience those efficiency gains. With mobile inspection apps, carriers and drivers can trade in the burden of paper forms for the ease of mobile forms and cloud-based data. But those apps don’t only increase efficiency — they also drive additional revenue. Here’s how.
1. Eliminate Physical Documentation Storage While Increasing Accessibility
When drivers and carriers enter information in mobile apps, that data is stored in the cloud. With reduced paper files, carriers can eliminate much of their physical storage, including file cabinets and shelves. That means more space in the office, less clutter to work around, and an easier time accessing the information you need the minute you need it — especially if you’re pulled over for an inspection.
Cloud-based data storage also gives owners and managers instant access to inspection documents and maintenance reports as soon as drivers complete them — regardless of where the driver is — providing accurate, up-to-date knowledge on all equipment.
In the short term, the benefits of those changes may seem marginal — but if you aim to grow your business, a digital documentation system can help you scale efficiently and stay profitable as you expand.
We recommend creating invoices through our mobile app for Trucking Invoices for an easy way to keep track of your financials.
2. Increase Driver Compliance and Productivity
Drivers already work long hours — up to 70 hours in an eight-day period. For carriers to be the most profitable, however, that time must be spent driving, not fulfilling peripheral duties, like completing or filing paperwork. A mobile app on a smart phone or tablet can save time and increase convenience for both the carrier and the driver.
With paper forms, drivers must fill out duplicate information every time — like vehicle make, model, year, and DOT registration number. Mobile forms, however, may be pre-populated with this kind of information, saving the driver the headache from having to fill in that information time after time, and reducing the chance that they’ll get sloppy and skip portions of the forms completely. Mobile forms can also require users to fill out one field before they are able to move to the next.
The time savings can equate to additional driving time (and revenue), and complete paperwork is a win for everyone when it comes to roadside inspections, traffic stops, and especially if your truck is involved in an accident.
3. Demonstrate Accountability in the Event of a Lawsuit
Even though large trucks represent only 2 percent of drivers, they’re involved in 11 percent of road fatalities. Driver error accounts for 87 percent of those accidents, and vehicle issues, such as brake problems, account for 10 percent.
If one of your trucks was involved in an accident tomorrow, would you have accurate, up-to-date information readily available to prove that your vehicles have been inspected, have received regular maintenance, and your drivers meet all training and certification requirements?
This kind of information can be vital at the site of a crash, and may be able to help exonerate your company of any alleged wrongdoing in the event of a liability suit or lawsuit.
4. Increase Your Company’s CSA and SMS Compliance
The law requires truck fleet owners to keep records of hazardous material carriage, vehicle inspections, driver records, health management and more. The penalties for failing to do so can be steep — ranging from fines to termination as a business entity.
Companies that don’t keep maintain required documentation pay out millions of dollars each year. Recordkeeping violations, for example, can carry a fine of up to $1,100 per day while the violation continues, up to $11,000. Hazmat fines can stack up to $75,000 per violation.
If drivers receive a serious violation during a roadside inspection, their trucks can be placed out of service (OOS) — taking them completely off the road until the violation is remedied. And that can be an expensive delay, considering you’re losing revenue for every hour the truck is sidelined.
You also have to consider the broader impact to your business. The public can see carriers’ violations and fines on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website, and too many penalties against your company could cause your customers to take their business elsewhere. Using a mobile app to keeping updated, accurate, accessible records can help you avoid those penalties and keep your business profitable.
5. Improve Overall Driver Management
Drivers are expected to carry and manage a long list of documents — including a driver’s license, medical examiner’s certificate, a driver’s record of duty status, documentation of an annual inspection, hazardous materials paperwork, and permit credentials.
Rather than maintaining these documents on paper, a mobile app can streamline the process, helping drivers and carriers become more efficient. On a grander scale, that can help your company become more competitive and continue to attract drivers that will stay compliant and drive profitability.
Paper forms aren’t just inconvenient. Relying on paper forms can open your truck fleet up to fines, lawsuits, and downtime. Learn more about how mobile inspection apps can benefit your business in the interactive eBook, “4 Ways Mobile Inspection Forms Can Keep Your Trucks on the Road.”
Then get started by trying out GoCanvas free for 30 days (no credit card or contract required). We'll help you create your first app, whether it’s for regular inspections, maintenance logs, or managing documentation.