Coates Hire’s equipment servicing has been improved with digital innovation, and the winner is the customer.

Coates Hire is on a digital transformation pathway to improve its internal processes and enhance the customer experience. As part of the digital program, Coates Hire introduced the myFleet mobile application in early 2018.

It runs on Android smartphones and is used in around 150 Coates Hire branches, with more than 1,200 users, including external providers, says George Bekos, Group Manager – National Service Operations.

“With one scan of the equipment’s barcode into myFleet, the user can see all service history, safety-related bulletins and hire history of that asset, prior to it being hired,” says Bekos.

He says the myFleet system is updated by the mechanics in the workshops as the repairs, maintenance and safety checks are conducted, eliminating paperwork and putting real-time data into the system.

“This is the paperless system at its best,” says Bekos. “The previous system was heavily reliant on manual paperwork to track every asset by its type of service or safety bulletin. After the servicing was done at the workshop, the details were then uploaded into Baseplan and filed away. But with myFleet the data uploads live into Baseplan.”

The workshop employees can create a service job for regulatory and non-regulatory maintenance, service bulletins, damage and repairs, and conduct a  Fleet Inspection or Run Up Safety Check.

Equipment returned from hire can be logged and assessed for fuel, damage and cleaning and the mechanics can take photos of the asset and make notes, directly into their smartphones.

Crucially, service alerts are fed into the myFleet system, such as regulatory and non-regulatory maintenance schedules, service bulletins, outstanding items and open service jobs. Safety alerts and OEM alerts from manufacturers can be centrally fed into the database on a ‘live’ basis, ensuring every Coates Hire mechanic completes alerts as they are working on the asset, and prior to hire.

He says a percentage of Coates Hire’s servicing work is contracted to third parties, and they are also on the myFleet system.

“Everyone is starting to see the benefits and potential of the myFleet application and where it can take us. It’s ‘a tool of trade’ for our employees – they are the ones building and improving this app, so the engagement is very high and our challenge now is to prioritise and build the most value-adding ideas that best benefit our customers.”

The system drives efficiency in the workshops, but Bekos says there are other benefits:
  • customers now have greater access to equipment when they need it;
  • real-time data in myFleet allows branches to allocate mechanics’ time to equipment orders so more assets can be serviced in a shift;
  • real-time data in myFleet allows our Customer Service Centres to allocate gear quicker and more efficiently for customers;
  • and Coates Hire is improving its efficiency from off hire/pick-up to ‘green line’ (ready for hire) because mechanics are not slowed by paperwork or having to double-check the correct service on the computer.
“In the Melbourne workshops we’ve surveyed, we’re turning around the assets at a rate of 15 to 20 per cent faster than the old system,” says Bekos. “Across a fleet of a million assets or more, that’s a significant gain. On some assets, the change is from one hour to service the asset, to thirty minutes.

“The myFleet system allows us to create and share information in real-time – it improves our efficiency and improves safety outcomes for us and for our  customers.”

He says the digital transformation is a ‘continuous improvement’ approach, so more functionality is being added to myFleet as the benefits emerge. For instance, the system will soon support workshops by automatically allocating an asset to a customer hire once the hire schedule is raised through a Customer Service Centre. This will benefit the client with quicker delivery and also support the transport team in scheduling their deliveries in a quicker and more efficient manner.

“The system is being improved and expanded as the employees work on it and share their ideas,” says Bekos. “Coates Hire is committed to continuous improvement of our customer service and our internal operations, and the myFleet application is an important part in making this come to fruition.”

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