PeopleNet says a new integration between its Fleet Manager program and TMT Fleet Maintenance software will save money and help fleets deal with new tougher federal safety enforcement by automating truck inspection-ticket workflow.

The two companies are working on eDVIR (electronic driver vehicle inspection report) to automate the creation of inspection tickets. In this centralized closed-loop application, TMT Fleet Maintenance polls PeopleNet's message history and creates a work order when it detects a vehicle defect identified by a driver in an eDVIR form message. The system automatically red-tags safety-related issues for highest priority maintenance.

When the vehicle repair is completed, the system sends a message through PeopleNet Fleet Manager to dispatch and the vehicle's scheduled driver, identifying the mechanic and the corrective action that was completed. The complete eDVIR report, along with eDVIRs that do not require maintenance, are stored in TMT Fleet Maintenance.

Analyst Heidi Henderson of HP Hood Logistics, which will be beta testing the product, explains how eDVIR will help the company prepare for CSA 2010: "Automating creation and workflow of inspection tickets is a proactive way for us to avoid fines and heavy penalties associated with roadside inspections. By speeding up the workflow and notifying maintenance before a truck comes in, we can react as quickly as possible to shorten the time between when a truck comes in and getting it back out on the road. Paper buried in an inbox waiting to be sorted through by maintenance and dispatch won't bottleneck the workflow. Dispatch will have access to estimated completion time and can therefore make arrangements for an additional truck to ensure on-time delivery. Finally, the elimination of our three-part vehicle-inspection form for every vehicle everyday also helps us meet our sustainability goals."

Henderson emphasized that eDVIR system reports will be valuable in tracking the effectiveness of Hood's preventive maintenance program. "All inspection reports in TMT Fleet Maintenance become part of the maintenance history, tracked by driver, vehicle, driver/vehicle combinations and frequency. Essentially, we'll be able to manage by exception more easily. Chronic issues will stand out. We'll keep an eye out for drivers who never report maintenance issues and may need training about how to identify potential problems."

Plans call for Hood to begin eDVIR beta testing in December of 2010. It will likely be available for customers by the second quarter of 2011.

With PeopleNet's new optionally portable Tablet device coming available, as well, we could eventually see a system where a driver could walk around the vehicle with the Tablet and use it as a checklist during his pretrip inspection. It comes with a camera, so photos of problem areas could be sent to technicians. It also can be outfitted with an RFID reader; fleets could attach RFID tags to certain areas of the vehicle they want to be sure drivers pay attention to and require them to "check off" each one using the RFID scanner.