The Enigmatic QR Code

January 13, 2022

Article by: Chris LaBounty, Deputy Public Works Director/City Engineer (City of Plymouth, MN)

Have you asked a restaurant worker lately for the beer menu, only to be told to scan the QR code at the table? With the prominence of tablets and smartphones, this method provides an easy way for a restaurant to manage an ever-changing local brewery tap list. Well, the City of Plymouth is also proving this to be an efficient way to manage fleet maintenance requests, albeit not as exciting as the former. With a recent upgrade of the City’s fleet management system, a QR code reporting system was added to allow vehicle users a quick and simple way to report maintenance needs directly to the fleet division. The QR codes were installed on the City’s fleet in April 2021, and in just under a year the system has already improved internal customer service, scheduling, and efficiency.  

From the vehicle user perspective, when a vehicle needs fleet division support (e.g., faulty windshield wiper, warning light, etc.) the user can scan the QR code on or near the door and report the request via the mobile application. When scanned, the code automatically launches the application (app) and populates the vehicle ID for easy reporting. The app also allows the user to take photos to tie to the request. Once submitted the user receives confirmation their request has been received and again when the maintenance is scheduled, and finally when the request has been completed. 

From the fleet management perspective, when a vehicle needs maintenance, new requests are generated in the management software which minimizes the need for manual entry and allows the fleet lead person to prioritize the request with other active assignments. This approach also allows maintenance activities to be planned rather than be reactive to verbal requests throughout the day. The other major benefits discovered through the integration of the new approach are increased timeliness of vehicle need reporting and transparency back to the users on status and schedule of repair, not to mention a big savings in paper use.

Although a seemingly simple integration, the new system has been a resounding success by improving fleet division efficiencies and ensuring a proactive maintenance approach. 


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