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Fleet (Vehicles)

Overview

We all know that a company’s employees are its most important intangible assets but managing them successfully can be a complex and time-consuming process.  Not with BigChange. BigChange’s JobWatch allows you to easily manage both your human and vehicular Resources at both a macro or micro level, quickly and efficiently.  Here is a sample of the actions you can carry out:

  • Create/edit Resources
  • Create Resource Groups
  • Link Resources to Web Users
  • Manage skills/attributes, absences, pay rates, etc.

NB To read the sister article on Resources, click here.

Fleet

Administration

Overview and Set-Up

Overview and Set-Up

Vehicles are a key component of the JobWatch, mobile workforce system. JobWatch can be used to:

  • Track vehicles on the map.
  • Complete and store vehicle checks, and send alerts where an issue has been flagged.
  • Manage vehicle maintenance tasks and send reminders ‘X’ days before they are due.
  • Provide statistics on vehicle mileage, idling, MPG and more (some features require additional hardware and may be specific to vehicle make and model).
  • Record vehicle job and location history, along with other information.
  • Create a ‘Vehicle Consumption and Emissions’ Report to provide detailed information n your fleet and driver performance.

Setting Up

Begin by configuring JobWatch in Administration so that it is set up in a way to suit your business needs.  Although you might instinctively begin by adding or editing the vehicles you already own, it is actually best to begin by adding in the infrastructure for your fleet first ie Groups, Vehicle Attributes, etc, so that when you do add in your vehicles, you can immediately put them into the right categories.

Vehicle Groups

Vehicle Groups

Groups are used to organise your vehicles but how simple or complex those groups are will depend upon your business.  For example, a ‘van fleet’ and ‘HGV fleet’ might be enough for some, whilst those with a more complex fleet might want to break it down further eg ‘tractor unit’, ‘tipper’, etc.  It is worth spending time considering what you would need to filter for if you were assigning a Job and use that to inform your group divisions.  Conversely, although all vehicles must be assigned a group, if you don’t have many vehicles then creating a single group for all of them may be fine.

Using groups means you can filter lists and reports more effectively and different custom fields can be added specifically for each group.  For example, you may want to record additional information about HGVs but not for cars.

Groups can be created and edited in My Account → Administration → [side menu] Vehicles → Groups:

  1. Add: create a new group. You will be prompted to enter a name.
  2. Search: search vehicle groups
  3. Edit: edit an existing group name
  4. Delete: delete a group. A group cannot be deleted if any vehicles are assigned to it – move the vehicles to another group first, then you will be able to delete.

Please note, any newly installed tracker will automatically be added to a group called ‘New Install’. The vehicle can be moved to a different group of your choosing.

Vehicle Attributes

Vehicle Attributes

Vehicle attributes are vehicle characteristics and are the equivalent of skills for Resources.  Example vehicle attributes might be ‘sleeper cabin’, ‘curtain sider’, ‘tail lift’, etc. As with resource skills, attributes can be either permanent or given an expiry date.

As with Vehicle Groups, Attributes can be used to set restrictions for job scheduling. For example, if a tail lift is needed for a specific job, this can be specified when setting up a Job Type and then only vehicles with the attribute ‘tail lift’ will be considered for allocation. Navigate: My account → Administration → [Quick Links] Manage job types → Job types → [tab] Constraints → [icon] Vehicle:

It can also be used as a filter when using the Scheduling assistant:

Vehicle Custom Fields

Vehicle Custom Field

Custom fields allow you to add any information you need about your vehicles which is not included in JobWatch by default.  Navigate: My account → Administration → [Quick Links] Manage your vehicles → Vehicle custom fields → Vehicle group → Add: 

Bear in mind that any answers which are made mandatory here must be answered each time that you add a vehicle

Any Vehicle custom fields you add appear in a separate section at the bottom of the vehicle form, beneath the default fields when you view a vehicle’s information:


Although each vehicle group has its custom fields, if you wish to repeat some fields across multiple groups you can click (1) ‘Copy list to…’, compete (2) the popup form and (3) Save, to transfer all fields from one group to another:

Vehicle Checks

Vehicle Checks

Vehicle checks are customisable checklists to be completed at the start of the day before driving to jobs e.g. ‘check windscreen’, ‘check tyres’, ‘check oil’. Each item to be checked is referred to as a ‘defect’.  When a tablet user reports a defect, the system will log the defect as ‘open’ on the vehicle until it is marked as resolved.

Checklists can be grouped into categories, allowing you to make them as generic or specific as you like eg ‘vehicles’, ‘forklifts’.  By default, the list will be organised in alphabetical order within each category.  If you would like them to appear in a specific order, you can simply add a number before each defect you add:

When adding a defect, select ‘Add‘ in the ‘Vehicle Check‘ section and complete the form as desired.

If you check the ‘At risk’ box, this will categorise the result as high risk and can form the basis of an Alert, if desired or for some defects, a more appropriate response could be a photograph, eg scratches to bodywork. Once you have finished, click Send so that your Resources receive the updates.

To set an Alert for this, navigate: Alert → Alerts Programmed:

Many companies opt to enforce completion of a vehicle safety check daily and simplify the process by enabling a ‘check all’ option when there are no issues.  This can be achieved by navigating: My account → Administration → [Quick Links] General Account Settings → [section] Other Device Settings:

You can also set up vehicle reports in the Report tab on the main menu. The reports suite within BigChange collates and displays information collected during the general use of the system and comes as part of the standard set up.  The vehicle section is shown below:

Clicking on one of the reports will open a new screen:

(1) To see a quick snapshot report, click Report → [side menu] Display and filter using the relevant information → View.

(2) This report can then be exported by clicking Export and selecting your preferred method from the options shown.  Emailed documents will be in pdf format.

(3) This allows you to schedule a Report to be sent in advance or regularly, direct to your inbox. Click ‘Schedule’ on the side menu and then the ‘Create Schedule’ icon.  The form shown below will open and should be completed with the desired information.  Finally, press the ‘Schedule’ icon at the bottom of the form to complete the process:

The vehicles reports look specifically at vehicle checks, defects reported and also the MPG figures of the fleet. To report on the MPG figures vehicles must either be equipped with CAN or the fuel details can be manually imported. Example reports are shown below:

Sample Driver Check Report

The Driver check report enables users to view driver checks completed by resources from tablets.

Sample Defect Report

The Defect report consists of logged defects. The defects are logged by resources and can be resolved by web users. The report also looks at archived defects for specific vehicles.

Sample Vehicle Consumption & Emission Report

The Vehicle Consumption & Emission Report gives users the ability to view and compare driving data such as distance travelled and idling times. If fuel data is imported or collected by CAN MPG can also be reported on.

To view a comprehensive list and explanation of the Reports suite, including tracking reports, please view the separate article.

Adding and editing vehicles

Adding and editing vehicles

Now that you have set up your groups, attributes, custom fields and vehicle checks, you can add your vehicles.

Navigate: My account → Administration → [Quick links] Manage your Vehicles →Add – edit and you should see a list of any vehicles you have on your site as below:

  1. Add vehicle – add a new vehicle
  2. Add asset – add a new asset. Assets are similar to vehicles but less information is recorded against them (custom fields can be used to record any information required).  ‘Assets’ could be used for trailers, forklifts, tractors, etc and can be tracked on the map with AssetWatch.  With the excepting trailers, which may well have their own tracker, many other assets might be chargeable on an hourly or daily basis.
  3. Import – this allows you to import an Excel list of vehicles from your computer.

To create a new vehicle, click on ‘Add vehicle’ and the popup below will appear:

  1. Registration – input the vehicle registration number.
  2. Vehicle type – use the drop-down list to select the type of vehicle. This is used to determine speed limits applicable to the vehicle.
  3. Group – select the group this vehicle belongs to.
  4. Make – make of the vehicle
  5. Model – the model of the vehicle
  6. Year – the year that the vehicle was first registered
  7. Odometer unit – select whether odometer is in miles or kilometres
  8. Reference – you can optionally specify a vehicle reference. If you would like to use data import to update vehicle information, rather than just to add additional vehicles, then vehicles will need to have a reference to avoid creating duplicates.
  9. Tracking device – link this vehicle to a tracking device. Generally, this is completed by BigChange personnel when your vehicle tracking is set up – changing it may unlink the tracker from your vehicle.
  10. Used for Jobs – select whether the vehicle is used for jobs and should appear on the schedule tab. If no is selected, the vehicle cannot be used by resources driving to jobs, but you can still record maintenance and other information, set alerts, etc.
  11. Fixed Resource – if there is only ever one driver of the vehicle, eg a private car used for business, select yes. If this vehicle is ever used by more than one person, select no. Selecting yes means the linked resource will be allocated the vehicle by default and removes the ability to select other vehicles.  When you select ‘yes’ a new field ‘Resource’ will appear.  simply make a selection from the dropdown list and press ‘Okay’. If the situation changes, simply select a different resource from the dropdown list or go to the Fixed Resource field and select ‘No’, followed by ‘Okay’.
  12. Cost per mile – an estimate of how much the vehicle costs you per mile. You can estimate this using online tools or manually based on fuel costs, wear on tyres and brakes etc. and services. This field is important as it is used by the Scheduling Assistant to calculate the job costings and determine job allocation.
  13. Cost per day – how much the vehicle costs you per day if it does not move. This value would include leasing costs, insurance costs, MOT, etc, which have to be paid even when zero miles are driven.  Calculate annual costs and divide by 365 to find a daily figure.  The cost information feeds through to available reports. This field is important as it is used by the Scheduling Assistant to calculate the job costings and determine job allocation.
  14. CO2 – this value should be available on the vehicle V5 document and manufacturer’s information. This information feeds through to populate the ‘Vehicle consumption and emissions’ report
  15. Idling fuel consumption – this value should be available on the vehicle V5 document and manufacturer’s information and is used to populate various reports on fuel consumption and idling.
  16. Icon – choose the icon that will represent your vehicle on the map.
  17. Attributes – select any attributes that the vehicle has and specify expiry dates if applicable.
  18. Vehicle type for defects – select the type of vehicle for defects, determining the vehicle checklist which will be provided for the tablet user.
  19. OK – Save to add the vehicle to your fleet.

BigChange Tracker Installation

BigChange Tracker Installation:

When BigChange installs a tracker on a vehicle, by default we will do the following:

  • Create a new vehicle and assign the correct tracker to it.
  • The new vehicle will have the correct registration, make and model entered.
  • It will be placed in a group called ‘New Install’ for easy identification.

Once the tracker installation has been completed, you can re-assign the vehicle to a different group, fix it to a resource, assign vehicle checks, etc.

However, you can still carry out vehicle checks, or store information against a profile, for vehicles which do not have a tracker installed. If you have a fleet of vehicles which aren’t tracked (eg pool cars), or vehicles which do not leave the site (eg forklift trucks), these can be created using the vehicle set up described above and then used to record information such as service date, MOT and insurance.

AssetWatch User Guide

What is AssetWatch?

This is the BigChange® solution for tracking trailers and other mobile equipment which will sometimes have power available.  A small tracking device is fitted to each trailer, reporting its position at regular intervals into the website.

Why use it?

Trailers are an often-forgotten resource in the logistics industry.  They are not usually as valuable as tractor units and do not require an expensive driver resource to operate them.  However, utilising all resources efficiently requires the visibility of its current location and this is provided by AssetWatch.  With tracking in place, other benefits may be realised, such as load security, recovery in the event of trailer theft and management of servicing and MOT.

What’s important?

Installation

The tracking device must be able to have a good view of the sky for GPS operation, yet not be obvious to the casual observer or vulnerable to damage once installed. The usual place for installation is on the underside of the load bed at the front of the trailer; this area gives good reflected sky visibility when the trailer is parked in the yard and is protected from road spray by the tractor mudguards and aerodynamic features.  Even so, the tracking device must be waterproof (IP66 as a minimum) and rugged.

Cost

The lower value of the trailer asset, and the fact that an operator may have three times as many trailers as tractors, means they attract lower operating charges.  Customers often request to install the devices themselves to keep the unit cost down as no BCA install engineer call-out is required.

BCA AssetWatch tracking device

Unattended operation

The device must provide some degree of autonomous operation, so an internal rechargeable battery is a must. It is recharged by the 24v supply from the tractor unit when it is coupled. This must be a permanent supply (marker light feed is not acceptable), so the power is taken from the ISO-7638-1 ABS/EBS connector. It is a legal requirement for the driver to connect this when he picks up the trailer, ensuring a reliable supply.

What do you get?

The configuration on the device gives basic tracking features:

  • Start/Stop and breadcrumbs: reports sent as the trailer moves, regularly when moving and when it stops again.
  • Sleep: to save battery power it will sleep after a period if the trailer stops moving but will wake on vibration (when the trailer is being loaded or coupled to a tractor).
  • Daily wake-up: this is also scheduled to reliably locate trailers not used for extended periods.
  • Power status: reports to show when the trailer is getting power from the tractor and when the internal battery is low.

What can go wrong?

Operational issues

If the driver doesn’t plug in the ABS/EBS Susie lead the internal battery won’t get charged. It will track for a while until the battery is flat.

CANbus User Guide

CANbus User Guide

What is CANbus?

CAN or ‘Controller Area Network’ is a high-speed, serial data bus, designed for machine control solutions.

It is ideally suited to the automotive environment and is used to pass information and control between many onboard systems, such as engine management; dashboard, brakes; gearbox; cruise control; radio; door locks; wipers; heating; lights and ancillaries. It uses a pair of wires twisted together, to reduce the effects of interference that run between each device or ‘node’. At each end of the bus is a terminating resistor to eliminate signal reflections. Any node can place data on the bus and will only respond to data that is useful to it.

What does it give us?

Some of the parameters available on CANbus are of direct interest to fleet operators:

  • Odometer (vehicle mileage)
  • Fuel used
  • Fuel level (fuel tank gauge)
  • Driving time
  • Time in cruise

Collecting this information directly from the vehicles ensures that our reports are using the same data available to drivers and fleet managers.

How do we get to the data?

Collecting, processing and delivering CANbus data requires additional hardware: a Squarell ‘Flex’ device.

This connects to the BigChange® tracking device and uses a contactless pickup (called a CANcliQ).  This collects the data from the vehicle without any electrical connection, ensuring there can be no interaction with safety-critical systems or any impact on warranty coverage.

According to a Support Matrix published by Squarell, some vehicles may not provide all required parameters or may require additional pickups to get them from other CANbus lines; all of these connect into the Flex device.

The data is sent to the BigChange® website on ignition on (EON) and ignition off (EOFF).

Where can I see the data in BigChange?

The odometer, fuel used and fuel level, are displayed directly and used as terms for calculations in many places on the website and in reports.

Note that the units displayed for distance (miles or km) and fuel consumption (mpg UK, mpg US or l/100km) depend on those selected in: My account → My Settings → [section] Units:

Main Dashboard

The ‘Total Mileage’ widget reflects the total of the odometer changes (start-of-day to end-of-day) across your entire fleet.

The average fuel consumption for each day across the fleet is shown in the ‘Average cons.’ widget.

Fleet & Resources

When an EON or EOFF report is received, the (1) Odometer and (2) Fuel tank values on the fleet list are updated. The timestamp of that update is shown below the odometer value (3).  Estimated odometer (4) adds GPS distance onto the CANbus value as the vehicle moves around.

Clicking on ‘Fuel history’ on the context menu here shows a graph of the fuel level values over the past few days.

Note that the amount calculated for CO2 depends on the value entered in the ‘Edit’ pop-up in ‘Administration/Manage your vehicles’ under ‘My Account’ (on the Navigation Bar).

Driver Behaviour Report

The total distance, mpg, amount of CO2 produced and cruise time are shown for each resource. The cruise time is also shown as a percentage of driving time.

Driver Behaviour Report

Journey Cost Report

The total distance, driving time, CO2, mpg and total fuel used, are shown for each vehicle.

Journey Cost Report

Fuel and Emissions Report

The total distance, driving time, cruise active time, total fuel, mpg and CO2 are shown for each vehicle.

Fuel & Emissions Report

Front End

Day-to-day Fleet Management

Day-to-day Fleet Management

Once you have successfully configured the back end of your Fleet set up, keeping checks on your vehicles could not be simpler. From the Fleet & Resources tab, you can use the side menu filter to:

  1. View your vehicles or Assets
  2. Separate your vehicles or Assets into the Groups you created earlier
  3. Search for a specific vehicle by registration number
  4. Find vehicles of a specific make/model
  5. Find vehicles with an issue, eg lapsed MOT or insurance
  6. Find vehicles with opened defects  eg brakes, headlights
  7. Adjust the display to show more or fewer items per page
  8. Import Fuel Transactions
  9. Export a CSV file

Reporting Vehicle Defects and Adding Notes and Comments

Reporting Vehicle Defects and Adding Notes and Comments

As well as defects being reported through a device during vehicle checks (see vehicle check section above), they can also be reported from the back office.

Navigate: (1) Fleet & resources →  (2) Fleet [side menu] →  (3) Registration → (4) View:

The vehicle’s details will now appear on a popup menu:

Now click on the next tab to the right (1) Open defects and (2) Add:

This will open an ‘Add defects’ popup which can now be completed and Saved:

Vehicle Defect’s Notes and Comments

Adding notes and comments to defects on vehicles works in the same way as their equivalent elsewhere in JobWatch. If the ‘@’ symbol is used as a precursor to a resource’s name they will receive an emailed notification that they have been mentioned. Once they have been mentioned in a thread they will automatically be added to future comments in that dialogue.

Navigate: Fleet & Resources → [click on] vehicle → View → Open defects [tab] → [click on] defect → View:

 

Importing Fuel Reports

Importing Fuel Reports

To import your fuel report database into JobWatch follow these steps

Step 1

To begin you need to prepare your data for import into JobWatch. To do this, open and copy the database which you intend to import:

It is important to copy the database as it is likely that the data will need to be amended for a successful import into JobWatch and you may need it in its original format for internal usage.

The available headings in JobWatch are:

Columns which do not correspond to the above headings and any extraneous data or images should be deleted.  Checks should be made that the data is presented in a uniform way eg Vehicle Registration Numbers should all appear in the format ‘YB54 DFG’ rather than ‘YB54DFG’.

Navigate: RoadCrew → Help Centre → User Guides, Templates & Add-ons → Template Fuel Card Import.xlsx:

Or it can be downloaded here:

[download1]

 

Once selected, the template will download and the button will appear at the bottom left of the screen:

The template will look like this:

This is how the above spreadsheet would look after it has been edited for import (and saved under a new name):

Step 2

Next, you need to import your data.

1. To do this, navigate: Fleet & Resources → Fleet → Import fuel transactions

Clicking on the ‘Import fuel transactions’ icon will open the ‘Import fuel transactions’ popup:

2.  Click on it to download the relevant file, eg:

and  it will now look something like this:

3.  Amend the headings by using the JobWatch categories as shown below:

and then click the ‘Import’ icon.  The following informational popup will now open confirming that import is taking place:

You will then receive an email confirming that the data has been imported successfully:

The outlined area shows that all rows have been imported without errors.  If errors are shown on one specific row it will display as, for example:

You would then need to review Line 3 of the data and correct it for import.

Exporting a CSV

Exporting a CSV

To export a CSV simply click on the icon:

Decide how to open it – it will be Microsoft Excel by default:

And finally, click ‘Ok’.  Your file will automatically open:

Videos

Vehicle Used on Jobs

Vehicle Used on Jobs

Reallocate All Items on a Vehicle

Reallocate All Items on a Vehicle

Signing In, Timesheet & Vehicle Checks

Signing In, Timesheet & Vehicle Checks

Reallocate All Items on a Vehicle

Reallocate All Items on a Vehicle

Fleet: Recording of Live Tutorial

Fleet: Recording of Live Tutorial

Email This Post Email This Post

Downloads

  1. Fuel Card Import
Updated on 7th June 2021

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