Taking transport solutions to the max
When Wakefield Council required a comprehensive fleet management transport solution that went beyond the norm, it turned to Maximus for inspirationTwo years ago, Wakefield Metropolitan District Council's transport services manager Peter Johnson identified the need for a new fleet management system as one of the council's top priorities.
The need to balance compliance, safety and accountability with efficiency and utilisation meant that the solution needed to go beyond just a computer software system to an all-encompassing transport solution.
The system chosen was the web architected M5 Maximus fleet management solution and according to Johnson, response from staff involved in operating the system has been extremely positive.
"The system has created calm - our employees are very relaxed about it and feel comfortable with it, which is good news for us. Efficiency improvements are being made especially with staff who are dealing in vehicle operations at the sharp end.
"Longer-term we will see improvements in efficiencies in turnaround times because we will have on-screen information about where we are up to and this will help staff make a valid judgement on what they need to prioritise."
The system comes with a number of features. These include a web browser and customer portal. The transport services unit provides a service to the council's departments - customers with whom the unit needs to communicate progress.
By using the customer portal, again using a web browser, customers can log-in to the system and view real-time progress on their vehicles. This has led to a reduction in time spent chasing queries.
All records related to an asset are held against a core record - these include multi-media attachments which can be anything from pictures to training video clips. Time is saved because all the information is in one place and readily accessible.
Maximus' asset centric record stores all history for the vehicle, so when a vehicle needs replacing, a detailed assessment can be made beforehand. For example, was it the right vehicle for the job? How did it compare to other vehicles on the fleet of a similar type? How reliable was it? Will the history record make it worth more at auction?
The system can also be integrated with the desktop. While almost everyone is familiar with the web browser, most office-based staff are comfortable using standard Windows/Office facilities such as 'cut and paste' and Excel.
Building interfaces to other systems with Maximus is simple. Firstly, definition screens are built in to the functionality of the system, and secondly, it speaks the common language of the internet XML. Hence interfaces can be built, delivered and run in a fraction of the time.
Lastly the digital dashboard function delivers real-time alerts to the desktop. These are defined by role or for individuals. They can also be used to protect the integrity of the database by raising alerts when valid but unlikely data is encountered. Consequently, decisions can be made earlier and the system protected from misleading information.
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