New online vehicle management tool

Drawing on its wide experience, brs Truck Rental has developed an internet-based vehicle management aid which can take the pain out of scheduling essential vehicle servicing programmes. LAWE Editor, Alexander Catto, explores the potential for this online system, launched recently under the tap™ banner

Volvo group company, brs Truck Rental has launched a new aid to vehicle and transport management that draws on a proven history of development in its own extensive operations.

Hailed as UK’s first online vehicle service planning and scheduling tool, tap™ is based on brs’ own successful online Operator’s Licence Pack which allows hirers of brs trucks to view the service history and documents of the trucks they rent simply by typing in the registration number. Managing Director James Walker says that the service is unique and well in front of anything available from other rental companies.

The “USP” which is already attracting customers since tap™ was launched on the market a few months ago, is that there is no need for software: one system “does it all” via the internet, tying together Scheduling and Documents.

The system automatically updates and archives service, maintenance and legal documentation in the form of scans of the actual documents. This physical record should provide reassurance and back up to transport and fleet managers seeking to meet “O”-Licence provisions.

Operators can also check on the status and progress of their individual vehicles’ maintenance and service schedules by keying in their registration number or other indentifier.


ccessible 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year from any location via an internet connection, tap™ can be tailored to individual operators’ requirements, both in terms of reports generated and features chosen.

The system allows operators to plan and schedule services for their fleet vehicles, check that they have been completed, check that documentation has been completed fully and resolve any problems.

Exception reporting immediately flags up missed services and incomplete documents. Repairers and service agents are then contacted to complete the documents while the web page where the document should be shows a holding page with explanation of the incomplete document with a notice that missing information is being gathered.

Security assured

On the security front, access to the operators’ secure section of the tap website requires a unique password to ensure security of service schedules and information.
All scanned and stored documents are digitally encoded for tamper-proof security. If required, hard copies of scanned documents can be printed out at any location.
The regulators have also accepted the use of the system. The Vehicle Operator Services Agency (VOSA) has examined tap™ to ensure it meets the requirements of its Code of Practice, the Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness. VOCA reports that tap™ exceeds the requirements by some margin and is stated to be happy to accept on-screen viewing of documents as work carried out or print-outs from tap™ as evidence in enquiries.

The tap™ system has the potential, brs Truck Rental maintains, to benefit many applications, extending beyond other vehicle related activity, such as, managing street sweeper fleets, to any operation requiring action scheduling and checks on maintenance.

Waste market assessment

brs Truck Rental, which became part of the Volvo organisation following the acquisition of the rental company from NFC in January 1998 has undergone major changes. In 2004, brs Truck Rental sees itself as a leaner organisation with a smaller but more flexible fleet.

The company will introduce more new services to improve customer support including a range of on-line product offerings. brs has the largest network of rental outlets in the UK. There are 41 dedicated brs locations – all available for business around the clock – plus 91 Volvo service points from where trucks can be collected or delivered.

Insurance and credit card booking facilities are available from all brs sites.
The fleet includes new generation FH and FM tractor units and FL rigids. The 6×2 tractor unit remains the most popular and versatile fleet spec for rentals. The total heavy truck fleet is around 1,800 vehicles.

As part of the Volvo organisation, which offers its own contract hire, contract maintenance and finance packages, brs Truck Rental is a dedicated rental company. One of the programmes offered by the company is Capacity Management – the supply of transport resources from vehicles to drivers to management support – to enable distribution companies to meet flexible supply requirements.

Looking at the wider role of brs Truck Rental, which has a major presence in the UK haulage and commercial market, James Walker, Managing Director, told LAWE, that, whilst the company is looking at the waste market, it would be taking stock of research it is currently undertaking into the sector before making any decision over whether or not to enter this specialist area.

The vehicle rental group, of course, currently numbers waste operators among its nationwide customers.

Both tap™ and brs Truck Rental are exhibiting in their own right, at the forthcoming CV Show 2004 at the NEC on stands adjacent to, but separate from, the parent Volvo group.

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