Abbey Logistics is rolling out a new fleet maintenance system across its four workshop locations to help improve vehicle reliability and slash downtime.

The haulier’s engineers and technicians are being equipped with rugged tablets for digitally recording time and work activity, supplied by Freeway Fleet Systems.

Under the new system technicians will also be able to use the tablets to digitally record their timesheets, inspections and job cards.

The mobile devices and management software will give Abbey around the clock visibility of the status of all maintenance work and costs associated with parts and labour.

The new system has been installed to meet growing demand as the business continues to expand. Abbey said it also offers greater integration and a more comprehensive management information system as well as providing a platform for future expansion.

Abbey Logistics Group operates nearly 1,000 liquid and powder trucks and tankers and recently invested more than £4.5m on new vehicles and trailers.

Paul Jamieson, head of finance at Abbey Logistics Group, said: “When it came to managing the fleet, our previous system was fine for monitoring vehicle and parts costs but that was only giving us half the picture. Missing was any information on arguably our most important single asset and that is labour.

“With Freeway’s tablets in the workshop, we have visibility of all work in real-time allowing better co-ordination with the workforce, improving uptime. We also gain vital insights such as an accurate cost allocation per asset. That allows us to make properly informed decisions on how to improve the way we work.”

As well as the core functions of managing services, inspections, defects and compliance, Abbey is also implementing Freeway for managing stores for digital parts issuing and stock control, with automated replenishment on impress stock.

Abbey will also use the Freeway driver app so drivers can use their mobiles to record their walk-around safety checks, which are immediately visible to the workshop allowing the technicians to prioritise any urgent repairs.

Jamieson said: “Crucially Freeway joins up the dots between the fleet team, the operations team and drivers. For example, the introduction of a live, paperless defect system is one way we can ensure the fleet is proactively maintained and 100% compliant at all times.

“Freeway is brilliant as it gives us a single point of access to all the information we need; it is fully integrated and represents a significant step up in our system capability. It is particularly good at providing an insight into our performance and costs, down to individual parts and people, so we can be fully informed when making business decisions,” he added.