What is a Post-Trip Inspection?

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Introduction

Post-trip inspections are a critical aspect of fleet safety, as an array of issues can arise when a vehicle is in service. The only way to ensure that a vehicle is truly in proper working order is through detailed, routine inspection. 
Combining post-trip inspections with pre-trip inspections allows fleets to ensure that their vehicles haven’t taken on any significant wear and tear during their service that may impede quality on the next trip.
Pre- and post-trip inspections can save carriers money by reducing downtime, roadside repairs, fines received from regulatory bodies, and incidents of towing. 

What is a Post-Trip Inspection? 

A post-trip inspection is an examination of a fleet vehicle for faults, defects, and damages. This inspection takes place when a driver finishes their shift. Post-trip inspections are an integral component of fleet safety. They are also legally required under The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR). If an issue with a fleet vehicle is found during a post-trip inspection, the maintenance shop can be made aware of the problem in a timely manner, potentially allowing them to fix it in time for the vehicle to return to service without interruption. 

Pre- and Post- Trip Inspection Requirements

Under Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, carriers must make sure drivers examine their vehicles for faults and damages before and after each shift. 
If an issue is found, it must be written up in a Daily Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR) and fixed before the vehicle goes back into service. DVIRs can be either paper or electronic. 

Pre-Trip Inspection Requirements 

A pre-trip inspection is meant to be a diligent check of the fleet vehicle, load, and trailer if applicable. The inspection is done to make sure that the vehicle is in proper working condition and the load is safe before hitting the road. 
Any serious issues or damages that are discovered during the pre-trip inspection must be fixed before the vehicle is cleared to leave. A pre-trip inspection generally only takes between 10 and 15 minutes. During a pre-trip inspection, drivers are also responsible for ensuring that any previous issues that were identified by the vehicle’s previous driver—in their post-trip inspection—are now resolved. 

According to the Department of Transportation’s regulation 396.13, “before driving a motor vehicle, the driver shall:

  • (a) Be satisfied that the motor vehicle is in safe operating condition
  • (b) Review the last driver vehicle inspection report if required
  • (c) Sign the report [if applicable] to acknowledge that the driver has reviewed it and that there is a certification that the required repairs have been performed.” 

Post-Trip Inspection Requirements 

Post-trip inspections have been a requirement under DOT for a long time. However, during DOT audits, failure to prepare a post-trip inspection report is one of the most frequently cited critical violations in the United States. Drivers always need to conduct post-trip inspections. But they don’t always have to write up a DVIR. DOT regulation 49 CFR 396.11 stipulates that drivers don’t need to write up a report for their inspection if “no defect or deficiency is discovered by or reported to the driver.” 

The same regulation outlines that if an issue is found it must be documented and that “the report must identify the vehicle and list any defect or deficiency discovered by or reported to the driver which would affect the safety of operation of the vehicle or result in its mechanical breakdown.” 

Daily Vehicle Inspection Report

When an issue with a fleet vehicle is found during a pre-trip inspection, a DVIR report needs to be drafted and submitted. Trailers also must be included in DVIRs when an issue is identified. 
A DVIR has to contain an identification of the vehicle (such as its license plate number), a list of any damages or issues that could cause a breakdown or affect the vehicle’s safety, and space for three signatures. 

DVIR reports must also cover at a minimum: 

  • Service brakes including trailer brake connections
  • Parking brake
  • Steering mechanism
  • Lighting devices and reflectors
  • Tires
  • Horn
  • Windshield wipers
  • Rear-vision mirrors
  • Coupling devices
  • Wheels and rims
  • Emergency equipment 

Taking Corrective Action 

When problems arise during an inspection, fleets must address them before the vehicle can return to service. 
According to the FMCSA
, if a problem is identified during a post-trip inspection, “carriers must repair any defect or deficiency before the vehicle is dispatched again, and certify on the original driver vehicle inspection report that the defect or deficiency has been repaired or that repair is unnecessary.”
The driver who prepared the DVIR is required to sign it. If no issues are noted, this is the only signature necessary. 
If a problem is detected, then a mechanic must sign the DVIR and note either that the vehicle has been fixed or that repairs were not necessary. In addition, if an issue is found, the next driver of the vehicle has to sign off on the previous post-trip inspection’s DVIR. 
Carriers have a responsibility to keep records. The original DVIR has to be kept on file for three months after it is prepared. Drivers are not required to carry records in the vehicle.

When to Keep Records 

Commercial motor vehicles that carry passengers must submit a DVIR report after every trip. These rules apply in all situations and there are no exceptions, even if no issues or damages are reported or found by the driver. 
For all other commercial vehicles, they must only submit a report if an issue occurs if the driver reports an issue with the potential to affect the safe operation of the vehicle. 
Single-vehicle operations are not required to submit DVIRs. 

Conclusion

Pre- and post-trip inspections are crucial for fleet safety and legally mandated. 
When drivers perform solid pre-trip inspections, it ensures that fleet vehicles do not go out on the road with existing issues. 
When effective post-trip inspections are completed, the maintenance team has enough time to address the identified problem and fix it before the vehicle goes back into service. This saves your entire team downtime, thereby enhancing your bottom line.

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Fleet Dispatching

If you manage a fleet, you probably already understand the delicate dance that is fleet dispatching. If not, you may not realize just how crucial this process is to the success of any fleet-based business. 

What Is Fleet Dispatching?

Simply put, fleet dispatching is the process by which commercial fleet drivers are sent out into the field to make deliveries, service customers, and handle other business-related tasks. But it involves so much more than simply telling drivers, “you go there.” Good fleet dispatching may also involve considerations for traffic conditions, road hazards, driver skill sets, customer preferences, and onboard equipment. When done correctly, it’s a skillful juggling act that helps a business reach its daily goals. When poorly handled, it can be a disaster for all concerned.

What Is a Fleet Dispatcher?

A fleet dispatcher is a person in charge of scheduling and arranging dispatch for a commercial fleet. Small fleets may have a single dispatcher to manage all calls, while larger enterprise fleets may employ an entire team. 

A fleet dispatcher must clearly understand schedules and routes, job proficiencies, fuel management, fleet maintenance, and regulations related to hours of service and other fleet compliance issues. A good fleet dispatcher knows the drivers in the fleet well and can anticipate their scheduling needs and which jobs they are most suited to handle. Fleet dispatchers must be masters of communication and have elite organizational skills.

Fleet Dispatch Software from Azuga

Fleet dispatching is as much an art as a science, and it can be overwhelming at times. The best way to support the fleet dispatchers on your team is to give them tools and technology that make the job easier. Fortunately, Azuga offers the answers to all of your fleet dispatching conundrums

Our GPS Fleet Tracking software can keep track of all the vehicles in your fleet along with large equipment and other assets. Dispatchers can use this information to see which vehicles are nearby when a job pops up. What’s more, we offer top-notch route optimization tools to help guide drivers around road construction, accidents, and other hazards that might prevent them from getting to their destination on time. We can even help you schedule routine maintenance, promote road safety, and automatically deliver dispatch notifications to drivers in the field. 

Learn about all the ways Azuga Fleet can help your commercial fleet stay productive and efficient while simplifying maintenance schedules and creating a culture of safety on the road. Schedule an Azuga demo today!

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Last Mile Delivery

Last mile delivery is the step in delivery when something moves from a transportation hub to its final destination, such as a residence or a retail store. This step must be as quick and efficient as possible to ensure that customers are satisfied, and products move as much as possible. What is last mile delivery, and how can businesses perfect it? 

Steps of Last Mile Delivery

There are five steps to last mile delivery to go through to ensure it is accurate and efficient. 

  1. Enter orders into a centralized system
    You've been tracking the order all along. At this point, the customer is most likely also tracking it through a tracking number. It’s essential that you track the order to know precisely where it is if they have any questions along the way. 
  1. Orders arrive at the transportation hub. 
    Last mile delivery begins at this step. From here, the business must ensure that the order gets to the customer as quickly and efficiently as possible. 
  1. Designate delivery personnel. 
    Designate delivery personnel to deliver the parcel using a last-mile logistics solution. 
  1. Load orders onto delivery vehicles. 
    Scan each item before loading them onto the delivery vehicles. This is an important part of tracking as it updates the sender and the recipient as to the order's status. You don’t want anything to get lost along the way. 
  1. The order reaches the recipient. 
    Once the order reaches the customer, the last mile delivery process is complete. Be sure to update the tracking information to indicate the item has been delivered. 

Last Mile Delivery Challenges

Big-name companies like Amazon and Walmart are replacing last mile delivery with middle mile delivery. With middle mile delivery, the company owns the fulfillment, so the delivery process goes from the port to the fulfillment center. The problem with last mile delivery is that it is expensive: it can account for 53% of a shipment’s total costs. Supply chain inefficiencies are increasing as need grows, and so costs are only going up. It’s vital to optimize last mile delivery if you want to use it for your business. 

How to Optimize Last Mile Delivery

Technology is the answer to optimizing last mile delivery. Route planning software, for example, can minimize delivery costs and cut the time that it takes to deliver. Auto dispatching also helps to cut down on mistakes and time. Finally, gathering data and getting detailed reports can help identify problems in your operations and tell you how to improve upon your weaknesses. Fleet management software like Azuga offers all of these features and more to help optimize your last mile delivery options. 

Conclusion

Last mile delivery is still the standard way smaller businesses do their deliveries, and Azuga makes it possible to keep last mile delivery, even while competing with big retailers. Find out more about Azuga by reading our blog or visiting our website.

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Last Mile Carrier

Last mile carriers are the shipping companies that carry out last mile deliveries. Examples of last mile carriers include UPS, FedEx, USPS, and regional carriers. Last mile delivery is the step in delivery when something moves from a transportation hub to its final destination, which may be a residence or a retail store. Last mile carriers offer many benefits, which we will outline below. 

Tracking

Many last mile carriers allow customers to track their package on a map or see how many stops away it is. Other providers give customers a very specific estimated arrival time. Previously, it could only be estimated within windows of several hours, so this is an impressive and essential feat for customer service. 

Ability to Communicate with the Driver

If anything is needed when delivery drivers are on the road, it used to be impossible to get in touch with them. Now, apps allow customers to communicate directly with their drivers to update them on any changes that come up during the delivery window. 

SMS Updates

One benefit of tracking drivers is sending SMS updates if a package is ever delayed, and even update customers on when it arrives so they can plan their day accordingly. They no longer need to worry about expensive packages being lost or stolen, since they can pick them up right away. It’s ideal for keeping customers updated and satisfied. 

Delivery Ratings

Customers can rate how their deliveries went and leave feedback that delivery companies can use to improve their methods and improve customer service even further. Customers appreciate their voices being heard, and companies need to hear how their employees are doing. 

Conclusion

Last mile carriers are an integral part of the last mile delivery system. Last mile fleets must have the technology to track delivery drivers and update customers with necessary information. Azuga offers this technology and more to help streamline operations and keep everything running smoothly with the entire last mile delivery process. Find out more on our website.

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