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1st February 2017
Commercial Motor Magazine Article Jan 2017
CheckedSafe has created a simple and inexpensive digital alternative to recording walk-around checks on paper.
SOFTWARE COMPANY CHECKEDSAFE beat off some stiff competition to win the Workshop Innovation Award at the inaugural Commercial Motor Dealer Awards with its daily driver walk-around check app. The Burnley-based company’s app digitises the paper-based system and enables real-time reporting to the workshop to enable engineers to prioritise defects. Director Darran Harris says: “I’ve represented clients at public inquiries where they have got a telling off for allowing drivers to record walk-around checks incorrectly or not at all. On one occasion a traffic commissioner told an operator that because his drivers had used the app it had kept its 0-licence when it was in danger of losing it. “Over the years the paper-based system has been unpopular with many operators and we thought we could solve this problem and make it work.” Using the CheckedSafe app, which records the date, time and location, drivers can use smartphones to take photos of defects. A driver can also report a defect while in transit and report back to the depot/garage in real-time with a detailed description.
heckedSafe believes the paper-based system for daily walk-around checks – involving monitoring drivers, getting the defect cards to the workshop and making sure the records are filed – is unnecessarily complicated for hauliers to manage. “When we were researching the market for the app we were surprised to find how unpopular paper systems are,” says Harris. “One-man bands love the CheckedSafe software because of its simplicity and some older operators have thanked us for finding an alternative to paper.” Catching cheats The app can help operators weed out drivers who are not carrying out the checks, as well as those only paying lip service to them. It can also monitor defects relative to specific drivers and vehicles or even specific routes, perhaps ones that might produce more wing mirror damage due to overhanging trees on the route. “The app means that drivers can’t cheat the system as they are being monitored electronically,” says Harris. “We believe the whole process raises standards.” Google mapping can help engineers identify the location of a parked vehicle, enabling them to get to the driver more quickly with the required spare parts. The app also allows a full audit trail of the process from defect to rectification.
“At the moment with hauliers it’s about 25% digital 75% paper when it comes to driver walk-around checks, but in five or six years’ time operators will be 100% digital,” predicts Harris. “It will be just like the way people shifted to digital tachos and telematics.” The system also allows the workshop to advise drivers on the seriousness of defects. For example, it can monitor a damaged windscreen by examining photographs taken daily by the driver. Once a defect has been rectified any repair invoices or documents can be uploaded to the system for the specific vehicle, enabling the history of any vehicle to be retained. “We are proper road transport people – we have market experience. Our competitors are simply software people,” says Harris. “We put in hard work and we are passionate about it as we believe we are selling something that will really help operators. We believe we are market leaders in vehicle compliance.”•
Darran Harris says the app costs £1 per week per vehicle, we charge per vehicle and not user, this is great for fleets where they have a 24 hour operation and have up to 4 times more drivers than vehicles, the conversion rate from a trial period to becoming a fully paid-up member is 90%. “The cost per week of doing it on paper can be as much as £2 per vehicle, which is double the expense,” he says. “A pound a week covers our updates and we haven’t increased the price since we launched in November 2015.”