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Office 365 Vehicle Maintenance File Structure

User Guide


The aim of the file system is to deliver to the user an 'out-of-the-box' method of controlling maintenance and storing maintenance documentation for a small fleet of vehicles utilising the functionality of Office 365.

The File Structure.

The file system consists of two Office 365 Lists and one Office 365 library with a work flow that automatically generates tasks for designated users. Once installed the fields of the lists and the library are fully customisable using the Office 365 functionality. However, the basic file system will cover most of the needs to enable -

  1. Rapid location of any document by vehicle ID, date or cost

  2. Cost summaries by vehicle ID or date period

  3. Forward scheduling of maintenance requirement

The Elements

  1. The VAR list
    The Vehicle Asset Register is a list of vehicles in the fleet. There must be an entry here before the user can enter any maintenance events or import any documents. The key entry is the VIN or Vehicle Identification Number and this is related to the vehicle registration number. The system will allow multiple entries in the VAR list with the same vehicle registration number, but the VIN must be unique.

  2. The Veh Maintenance List
    This contains maintenance events and these can be either scheduled or non scheduled. Scheduled events, such as planned servicing, oil changes and annual road worthiness test, may be entered ahead of time in order to generate a work load plan. Non Scheduled events such as breakdown and repair may be entered after or during the occurrence.
    Only one entry into the list needs to be created for each maintenance event as a maintenance event ID is generated and this is used to tie all documents relating to that event together. A VAR entry must exist before a Veh Maintenance List entry can be created as the vehicle identification is selected from a drop list at the time of record creation.
    Creation of a Veh Maintenance List item or event will also generate a task and send an email to the Office 365 user selected to be responsible for actioning the event.

  3. Vehicle Documents Library
    This is a repository for storing documents, such as Word and Excel files, and images of documents, such as PDF or TIF scans of paper documents, relating to vehicles and vehicle maintenance.
    As each document or image is stored (indexed) certain item of meta data need to be entered into the library in order to record summary information about the document and to index it for future location and reference.
    Some meta data, date and time of import of the document, import user identification and date last modified, are already stored for you automatically, but other data needs to be entered so that the document can be tied to an entry in the VAR list and possibly an entry in the Veh Maintenance list. In addition any parts, labour and other charges listed in the document and the date contained in the document should be entered as this records essential summary information for future use.
    This will enable the user to list in Office 365 all documents indexed to a particular maintenance event, for any particular vehicle, between any two dates. From such a list data can be exported to a spreadsheet for printing or analysis.

  4. The Work Flow
    This is a simple background function configured to trigger an event at each of three stages of life of any item entered into the Veh Maintenance list.
    The events take the form of emails sent to designated individuals or groups in the Office 365 user list. When a new item is created in the Veh Maintenance list the key people will be informed that the process of maintenance on a vehicle has started. The designated individuals may be required to have this information or they may be required to act upon the information. For instance, when a Veh Maintenance list entry is created because an annual inspection for a particular vehicle is falling due. Emails can be triggered for the person responsible for arranging the down time for the vehicle to be off the road, for the person who schedules the daily activity of the vehicle, for the person responsible for making the workshop arrangements and any other individuals for whom the information is deemed necessary.
    Certain of these individuals will have access to change the status of the Veh Maintenance list entry from 'Not Started' to 'In Progress' and to 'Completed'. At each stage others will be notified by email of the change and at all times the administrator can track the progress of each Veh Maintenance list entry.

Using The Site

This section is intended to take the user through a step by step process from creating a Vehicle Asset Registry (VAR) entry, to setting up a maintenance task and then to indexing documents to the site using the core data already entered for both vehicle and event.

Creating A VAR Entry

Log into Office 365 and select the 'Vehicles' sub-site from the 'Sites' list.

Select 'Veh Maintenance' from the top menu of the 'Vehicles' Site

Click on 'VAR' in the left menu column and click '+ New Item' towards the top left of the page.

Enter the vehicle detail

Be sure to keep the details in a standard format for each vehicle entered, keeping the use of capital letters and spacing the same for each entry. These details will be used to link to vehicle maintenance events and to tie together maintenance documentation stored across the life of the vehicle.

Entries should not be deleted or changed unless the related vehicle maintenance records and documents are also changed or deleted.

When the details are entered, click 'Save'.

Repeat this process for each vehicle.

Creating a Maintenance Event

Note: A vehicle must have a VAR entry before you can create a maintenance event for it.

Maintenance events are raised in the 'Veh Maintenance' list.

Log into Office 365 and select the 'Vehicles' sub-site from the 'Sites' list.

Select 'Veh Maintenance' from the top menu of the 'Vehicles' Site

Click on 'Veh Maintenance'' in the left menu column and click '+ New Item' towards the top left of the page.

Enter the event detail

  • Title: This should briefly describe the event in simple language-
    'Transit Annual Inspection Sept 2014'

  • RegNo: This is selectable from a drop list which sources data from the VAR list. It will attach the registration number and VIN from the VAR list to the maintenance event being created

  • Sched?: This is a tick box to indicate if the maintenance event is planned or not. Generally speaking planned maintenance is that which occurs to a schedule, such as safety checks, annual inspections, oil changes and the like. The tick box should be unchecked when entering events for breakdowns and repairs

  • Repair Date: This is the date on which the repair process started. It can be a future date for scheduled maintenance.

  • Task: This is a drop list from which you can select 'Start', 'Running' or 'Completed'. This changes the status of the event, creates a task list entry and sends email to designated Office 365 users for information or action.

Click 'Save' when done.

You will see that the event contains all the data entered plus an ID number. This ID is the link between all documents that are to be indexed against this event.

A task will be created and notification sent to the designated Office 365 users

Indexing and Storing Maintenance Documents

Now that a VAR record and a maintenance event record both exist, you can import and index any documents relating to the event and tie them together for future reference.

Documents can be in the form of word processor documents like Word (.doc, docx, .odt), spreadsheet documents like Excel (.xls, .xlsx, .ods), text documents or image documents (.tiff, .pdf).

When paper documents, such as bills and invoices, vehicle inspection reports or quotations are received it will be necessary to scan them to .tiff or .pdf format and then import them to the system. The scanning process is relatively simple as most scanners come equipped with 'scan to image' software.

Note: Where large numbers of documents require scanning it is recommended to utilise a scanner with a bulk feeder bin. The documents can be scanned rapidly to date related file names and imported to Office 365 when convenient.

Vehicle Documents are imported to the Vehicle Documents library.

Log into Office 365 and select the 'Vehicles' sub-site from the 'Sites' list.

Select 'Veh Maintenance' from the top menu of the 'Vehicles' Site

Click on 'Vehicle Documents' in the left menu column and click the 'Upload' icon towards the top left of the screen.

You will be invited to browse the local machine to locate the document you wish to import. Once the document is located click 'OK'.

Enter the details of the document. Each separate field is an item of 'Meta Data' that will enable Office 365 to index and track the document throughout its life.

  • Name: This is the file name of the document. It is best to rename files before import so that the physical file name and the Meta name are the same. This means that files are easily located when replicated to local machines.

  • Title: Is the full Meta title of the document for the Office 365 displays and search engines. Always try to include a date in the title for ease of recognition when viewed in a list.

  • RegNo: This is selectable from a drop list. The data source is that stored in the VAR list.

  • Doc Date: This is the date of the document. In the case of an invoice, the invoice date.

  • Parts: Enter the cost of any parts charged on the document. This is reserved for invoices only and should be left blank for any other document.

  • Labour: Enter the cost of any labour charged on the document. This is reserved for invoices only and should be left blank for any other document.

  • Additional Cost: Enter the cost of any other charges on the document. This is reserved for invoices only and should be left blank for any other document.

  • MaintID: This is selectable from a drop list. The data source is that stored in the Veh Maintenance list.

Once complete, click 'Check In'

The document is now stored and can be retrieved at any time, from any location and on any Internet browser equipped device.

The Vehicle Documents list can be filtered to display documents in ascending or descending order. It can also be filtered to display only documents relating to a particular vehicle, document relating to a particular maintenance event or document relating to a date span. As the summary of costs (Parts, Labour and Other Costs) were entered as Meta data the filtered lists will contain useful cost information. Filtered lists can also be exported or copied into spreadsheet applications for further analysis.


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Chris Watkins I've been an IT professional for over thirty years. Most of that time has been spent helping large organisations with the evaluation, installation and maintenance of business software applications.
I have a wealth of knowhow on the subject of data management.
Advice is free and so are basic templates. If you need more just ask. I only charge for actual work done.
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