Digital supply chain can help combat technician and parts shortages

Businesses are being urged to look at digitising their supply chain operation in order to mitigate the “perfect storm” of driver, technician and parts shortages afflicting many fleet, transport and logistics operations.

The warning comes from fleet management software provider r2c Online, which believes a digitally-linked supply chain is crucial.

Tim Meadows, managing director, r2c Online, said: “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.”

If, for example, daily vehicle walk-rounds are undertaken using digital reporting then any upcoming issues can be flagged up to management or the workshop on a dashboard before they become an immediate problem that needs to be dealt with.

“If a part is starting to wear, get it flagged and then you can get a timetable in place for ordering a replacement part and booking a workshop slot,” said Meadows.

He added: “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.”

Driver reported defects can quickly and automatically be routed directly to technicians and technical inspections and defect resolution can be monitored in real time and without the need for paperwork.

“As fleets digitise much of their processes through our community platform, time and cost savings can be made throughout the supply chain. As we have seen a significant lack of HGV drivers, we also have a technician shortage and through connected digitised process, we reduce the administrative burden on these highly skilled and valuable resources,” said Meadows

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 level of saving can be significant to all organisations involved, but are always individual to their structure and needs.

Meadows added: “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.”

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