Increasing Efficiency for Your Fleet’s Back Office

While your fleet’s drivers are on the front line, keeping the wheels turning every day, there’s an entire team working behind the scenes to ensure fleet operations are running efficiently, safely, and optimally. The tasks that often fall to your back office are incredibly important, but can also be fraught with busywork and tedious tasks.

The good news is that many technologies and tools are now available through fleet management software that can help your back office staff complete their tasks more accurately and with fewer frustrations. This can support retention of your best and brightest back office employees, while also keeping your fleet running more smoothly and safely than ever, ultimately benefiting your bottom line.

Unassigned Drive Time 

One of the most time-consuming tasks for your back office is most likely researching, updating, and annotating unassigned drive time (UDT) events. The FMCSA requires that any recorded drive time in your ELDs without a properly assigned driver must be researched, updated, and annotated with an explanation. Excessive amounts of UDT raise red flags for the FMCSA, triggering costly and time-intensive audits for potential hours of service (HOS) fraud.

The various causes of UDT can require extensive detective work for Safety and Compliance Managers. Whether it was a yard move, a shop move, a lost signal between the ELD and servers, or simply a driver who forgot to log in, tracking down the causes of UDT can represent hundreds of work hours for your back office.

Platform Science recently introduced the UDT Manager 2.0 tool as part of its HOS offerings, designed specifically to lighten the load of UDT research and correction. For example, faceted filters allow customized sorting by truck, distance traveled, location, and other key variables. Its bulk annotation feature automatically labels UDT events containing specific attributes assigned by the user as a “shop move” or “yard move,” while the bulk suggest feature recommends a specific driver for UDT events associated with a specific truck. Additionally, audit trails and expanded data exports make maintaining compliance simpler than ever, while the single screen view makes multiple tabs a thing of the past.

From the perspective of the back office, these features for UDT events can mean a big difference in daily tasks. Platform Science customers have reported an up to 30% reduction in time spent on UDT events from using UDT Manager 2.0.

Forms and Data Entry

Another key culprit of busywork in the back office is manual data entry – or dealing with errors caused by manual data entry in the field. Legacy macros can waste valuable time for drivers and back office alike, causing team members to re-enter information multiple times or spend time filling in fields that aren’t really needed.

Additionally, drivers using a variety of terminology can make form answers confusing and difficult to mine for data. Similarly, incomplete forms cause back office staff to spend time backtracking or contacting drivers for missing information. 

Tools using conditional logic – also known as “if-then logic”— save back office and drivers time by populating new fields only when the answer given in the previous field necessitates it. Customizable forms and libraries of premade forms also help streamline the process, while drop-down answer fields add consistency to terminology being used.

Platform Science form builder tools offer these helpful features, as well as form history features that allow drivers to review and use their previous form responses instead of starting over each time.This functionality not only saves drivers hassles but improves the quality of data by reducing the potential for typos or errors. 

More accurate and complete forms coming into the back office make it easier for your staff to complete their tasks, trusting that the information is clean. Platform Science customers have reported that by using the form builder tools, they have reduced 40-60% of the errors previously caused by legacy macros in daily reporting. This immediately lightens the load on the back office, so they can instead spend that time on more proactive tasks or training.

Analytics and Reporting

Smarter trucks mean a large amount of data streaming into the back office, full of potentially helpful information to keep fleets safer, more efficient, and compliant. However, the volume of data can be daunting if your back office team doesn’t have the proper tools to process and share key takeaways.

Suffering from a “data deluge” is a real problem that can prevent you from accessing your fleet’s rich, real-world data for more effective decision-making. It can also leave your back office spending countless hours attempting to manually crunch numbers and manage spreadsheets, leading to burnout and potential processing errors. Finally, team members must be tasked with compiling and sharing out reports on a regular basis, another time-consuming task.

Platform Science’s automated analytics tools include powerful functions for filtering, comparing, tracking, and sorting the key metrics your fleet wants and needs from daily operations. With easy-to-understand dashboards and scheduled reporting, you can mine your most valuable data points and easily share them with stakeholders. This means less number-crunching and fewer spreadsheets for your back office.

Additionally, automated analytics benefit driver safety and fleet compliance as well, since alerts can be sent when predefined thresholds – such as excessive speeding events or HOS violations — are exceeded in real time, empowering your back office and leadership to take prompt action when needed.

Supporting your back office

Technology continues to make life easier and more efficient for commercial fleets, from the driver's cab to the back office. With tools for more accurate and customized data entry – and the power to then process and use it for more informed decisions – you can reduce wasted time and free your team up for proactive projects and innovative work. 

Learn more now about PS Workflow and other tools designed to improve efficiencies across your fleet.