The short answer? It varies. But what an inspection can mean for your organization should have you considering whether yours go too fast or slow, and what you can do to fix that.
Daily vehicle inspection reports are not just a compliance requirement that you have to fulfill as a fleet manager – they’re a very clear window into the health and functionality of your fleet as a whole, so it’s important to make sure that they’re being completed properly.
The question of how long an inspection should take is a tricky one to answer, but moving too fast through inspections or taking way too much of your drivers’ time to complete them are equally impactful problems that can have a huge ripple effect down the line. Having a complete vehicle inspection history helps you demonstrate compliance and diagnose repairs, and missing those key details can cost you in the long run.
Are your inspections too fast?
While it’s true that some drivers might be faster at inspections in general, or some fleet vehicles just require less time investment, there is definitely such a thing as spending too little time on an inspection. You might not be able to identify from the timing alone if your inspections are being done too quickly, but if you take a look at your fleet, there’s a few key indicators that might point to pencil whipping.
Inspections are your first line of defense in preventive maintenance, allowing you to catch major issues as failed inspection items before they result in drivers stranded or projects halted. If operators are speeding through the process, it could mean that problems that require a more careful eye are being missed and opening you up to increased downtime and costs on repairs.
If you find that your fleet struggles with reactivity and your vehicles are breaking down a lot, it could point to sped up inspections.
Are your inspections too slow?
If the primary problem with a fast inspection is that you miss out on information, you might assume that a slow inspection inherently assumes that it’s more detailed. But if your inspection process takes too much time, you could be sacrificing efficiency while still missing the fine details about your fleet health.
A slow inspection process that lacks efficiency will often look like this: Getting through each vehicle check in your fleet takes up a good chunk of your operators’ morning because of an overbulked form, and then, once all of those inspections are done, they have to find their way to your desk to be copied into a computer program and then stored in the office and in the vehicles themselves for use in audits and road checks.
The problem with that process is that it can cost your operation a lot of time just on procedure, as well as introduce errors into the reporting as information is relayed from place to place and from paper to computer. That means you risk losing time during your day doing the tasks that matter more than manual data entry, and you might miss important inspection failures that warn of breakdowns to come.
How do you improve driver inspections for your fleet?
Unfortunately, the answer isn’t so cut and dry. It’s going to take a little experimentation to figure out exactly what works for your fleet. Here are a few ideas you can use to improve your inspection times while also ensuring that they’re thorough and informative.
- Digitize the process. Fleet management platforms like Fleetio offer a vehicle inspection app with forms that are entirely customizable, can be accessed from a phone or tablet, and automatically forward all inspections to fleet managers and generate work orders immediately from failed inspection items.
- **Audit your inspection forms.**Make sure that you’re only asking for the information you need to stay compliant and keep your vehicles up and running, as a bulky form can often encourage more lax inspections.
- Walk through the process yourself. If your drivers are taking too long or too short of a time to complete inspections for your liking, make sure you personally go through an inspection to get a first hand glimpse into potential hang ups that might be preventing a more efficient process.