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by
Pooja Patil

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced organizations to tweak their processes and policies for efficient and effective working. The fleet industry isn’t an exception to these ever-growing challenges. While the whole world is being forced to operate virtually, digitization and automation have played a crucial role in shaping an efficient fleet. Digitization in fleet management enforces a software system that simplifies admin work and eliminates time spent on a manual setup. In addition, this emerging change in fleet management integrates an effective communication system with enhanced efficiency for fleet drivers and reduced expenses. In a nutshell, digitization in fleet management is helping reduce human error, and save time and money with adequate accuracy, accessibility, and speed to logistics and transportation.

Successful fleet management has several aspects, from purchasing vehicles to maintaining regulatory compliance, maintenance, and resale. There are three significant challenges to effective fleet management in this ever-changing landscape:

  • Safety
  • Reliability
  • Cost management

However, the Electronic Signatures and National Commerce Act, also known as the E-Sign Act, has emerged as a savior. The law grants legal recognition to electronic signatures and records if all the parties to a contract agree to use electronic documents and sign them electronically. It essentially streamlines fleet management while reducing mailing and paper handling costs. Companies adopting electronic signature solutions reported an 85% cost reduction in paper handling. Moreover, companies save 80% on shipping costs when they go paperless. Dive into this blog to know three major challenges the fleet industry faces in effective fleet management and how the new electronic signature act is streamlining fleet management and helping save company capital.

Major Challenges for the Fleet Industry

  • Safety

Safety is the top priority for effective fleet management. However, enforcing safety practices and policies can be a big challenge without proper oversight. Lack of robust management, poor visibility into operations, and erratic communication of safety policies with staff are often the main reasons why fleet managers often face difficulties with safety issues. These mistakes might result in additional costs and sometimes accidents. Increasing digitization has improved visibility into fleet assets and made it easy to monitor safety with real-time data regarding your assets. Moreover, the comprehensive preventive maintenance (PM) program can be the most efficient and cost-effective way to maintain your vehicles. Properly maintained vehicles tend to have fewer unexpected failures, keeping safety the top priority.

  • Reliability

In logistics, time is money. Hence, it is very important for fleet companies to make deliveries on time. Every minute of vehicle downtime costs you not only money but your reputation in the industry, which makes effective fleet management more crucial. There are two primary ways to improve reliability for the fleet; a good PM program to maintain the safety of vehicles and strategic planning of maintenance priorities to resolve issues before they become a headache. It is equally essential to ensure the vehicle is in good condition and you aren’t running it past its life to improve fleet reliability. Every asset has a point where the downtime and maintenance cost exceeds its original value that shouldn’t be crossed. Determining the total cost of ownership (TCO) can help you decide the best time to replace the assets. Automation has made it easy to track your assets’ lifecycle, generate cost analysis reports, and plan preventive maintenance strategies to improve the reliability of your fleet.

  • Cost management

Efficient fleet management not only requires safety and reliability; cost management is also an integral part. Fleet managers strive to enhance productivity while maintaining safety and reliability, even with a tight budget. Effective cost management requires tracking all the costs associated with your assets. Tracking the expenses related to your vehicles and determining the budget spent on maintenance can give you a broader view and help manage costs. Acquisition costs, ongoing financing, and leasing agreements are also considered parts of the fleet’s budget. You might also need to consider expenses such as fuel, insurance, and repairs. Manually tracking all these expenses involves the risk of human error that can badly influence your future decision-making. Electronic handling of all your documents, cost analysis reports, and cost management strategies can help you make informed decisions based on real-time data.

Also Read: Digital Signatures in Foreign Trade

How is the new electronic signature law helping to streamline fleet management?

The United States Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce (E-Sign) Act has four substantial requirements that make electronic signatures valid under U.S. law. Below are the four requirements:

  • Intent to sign:

Electronic signatures are valid if each party intends to sign the electronic documents, resembling a traditional signature.

  • Consent to do business electronically:

Both the parties to a contract must consent to do business electronically.

  • Association of signature with the record:

For an electronic signature to be recognized as valid under the E-Sign Act, the system used for the transaction must keep an associated record.

  • Record retention:

Under the U.S. laws of signatures and electronic transactions, authorized persons to retain the contract must ensure the records are capable of retention and reproduction.

Electronic signatures can bring a sweeping change in fleet management by adhering to these requirements. Using valid and law-compliant electronic signatures can streamline the sales process, reduce paper costs and the risk of human error. It is more convenient to fill and process documents with electronic signatures and needs zero human intervention. As safety is the primary concern for the fleet industry, providing policy documents and communicating them well with the staff can tremendously help prioritize safety. Documents having myriad pages are often complicated to handle and manage. At the same time, automation has made it all accessible with just a click of a button. With the electronic signature law, fleet managers can easily do business, get into agreements, perform electronic transactions, manage vehicles, and maintain safety without the hassle of paper handling. In a nutshell, electronic signatures play a significant role in streamlining fleet management with fewer costs, and more productivity.

Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA)

Except for general U.S. laws regarding electronic signatures, federal and state regulations may impose additional requirements depending on your industry or use case. For instance, the Uniform Law Commission drafted a legal framework, Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA), in 1999, for the use of electronic signatures in each state. Since then, 49 states have adopted UETA, except for New York, which has its own law concerning electronic signatures:

New York’s Electronic Signature and Records Act (ESRA). Below are the fundamental principles mentioned in UETA, regarding electronic records, signatures, and contracts:

  • A signature or record can’t be denied legal just because it is in electronic form.
  • A contract can’t be denied legal just because an electronic signature or record was involved in its formation.
  • If any law asks for a record in writing, then an electronic record satisfies the requirement.
  • If any law asks for a signature, then an electronic signature satisfies the requirement

Below are the best practices to ensure a secure and hassle-free electronic signature experience:

  • Make sure records are protected.
  • Limit access to authorized individuals.
  • Operational system checks.
  • Device checks.
  • Ensure the persons developing, maintaining, or using electronic systems have the proper experience, education, and training to perform the assigned tasks.
  • Generate accurate and complete records in electronic and human-readable format for review and inspection.
  • Make sure to use computer-generated, secure audit trails to record the date and time of entries that create, modify, or delete electronic records.

Get, Set. Sign!

Most fleet companies use apps, smartphones, or tablets to manage work-related orders. Electronic signature makes it easier for your customers to sign the order-related documents and consent forms easily on the tablet or a smartphone. Using electronic documents and signatures will essentially end up reducing time, complexity, and costs and increase the productivity of your fleet. DrySign provides a cloud-based electronic signature platform that seamlessly integrates with your business and complies with all the regulations as per U.S. laws.

Instead of a traditional pen and paper system, start DrySigning today to streamline your fleet management.

DISCLAIMER: The information on this site is for general information purposes only and is not intended to serve as legal advice. Laws governing the subject matter may change quickly, and Exela cannot guarantee that all the information on this site is current or correct. Should you have specific legal questions about any of the information on this site, you should consult with a licensed attorney in your area.

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