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Digital fleet supply chain could mitigate technician and parts shortages

Ensuring a digitally linked supply chain could help fleets counter current business interruptions from driver, technician and parts shortages.

Tim Meadows, commercial director, Epyx

Tim Meadows, managing director, r2c Online

Alongside the headlines on the HGV driver shortage, parts and new vehicle supply is also being hit at the moment, due to the chip shortage and Brexit, while the longstanding issue with a lack of technicians is putting workshops under pressure as well.

But by planning a digital supply chain, fleets can mitigate the issues, fleet management software provider r2c Online believes.

“There is no doubt these issues are going to be around for some time to come,” said Tim Meadows, managing director, r2c Online. “But the problems are not insurmountable if all your supply chain is linked and you have a long-term strategy in place. This means taking a close look at every part of your operation that could be affected by the shortages and understanding where any time and efficiency improvements could be made.”

Meadows cited daily vehicle walk-rounds as an example – using digital reporting to undertake these would then mean any upcoming issues can be flagged up to management or the workshop on a dashboard before they become an immediate problem, and ensuring a timetable is in place for ordering a replacement part and booking a workshop slot. This brings time and cost savings.

“If you find out too late, then you could have a valuable driver off the road for a day and a vehicle unusable; waiting for a part and a technician is money down the drain. If you are strategic, rather than tactical, then you can free up these important resources,” Meadows said.

He added that digitisation of the entire supply chain, from road to workshop, can help because it can show where there are potential problem areas more quickly, and also provide solutions.

“Fleets can see where workshops are struggling to control downtime, while workshops can see where there are parts supply issues or surges in work, and plan their scheduling accordingly,” he added.

R2c Online’s automatic mapping capabilities allow it to take inspection sheets from workshops and close off associated digital tasks, updating key dates and highlighting any upcoming work. The firm said the level of saving can be significant to all organisations involved, but are always individual to their structure and needs.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.

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