Fleet Maintenance Woes? Automation Is the Answer
As fleet owners make investments to reduce diesel costs, they often find that automation is the answer. For trucking, trucks and fleet managers are often plagued with equipment failures caused by poor parts management. That’s a big concern given that the trucking industry generates about 2.5 million related service calls every month, according to the American Trucking Association (ATA).
The good news is that the answers may not be as difficult as you might think. Over the past couple of years, commercial fleets have struggled to determine whether they are maximizing the use of their trucks and resources, and whether they are maximizing the value of their customers. The ideal solution is a large fleet of trucks that function like the robotic phone company, doing everything the customer needs at the best possible value.
The ATA suggests implementing electronic logbooks to make a driver’s entire workday more accurate, but experts say most fleets would prefer not to do so. Nonetheless, they argue that many fleet managers are under-investing in maintenance, and that the solution can be found in technology such as fleet management systems.
Some fleet management experts say that trucking businesses that want to maximize their bottom line must upgrade their fleet management systems to meet future demands for new equipment, extended maintenance cycles, and driver availability. Often, maintenance resources are expensive and the lack of efficiency in fleets makes it difficult to fully capitalize on a truck’s existing fuel efficiency.
One of the best technologies for achieving high levels of reliability in fleets is the introduction of fleet management systems. Essentially, fleet managers can manage their entire fleet by connecting it to an electronic device. This allows them to run and optimize the entire fleet through existing resources. Even if they do not fully rely on the information provided by the new technology, they can use existing information and analyze that data to develop a better business model and management process. That is especially valuable as commercial fleets have been criticized for taking longer and more expensive maintenance routes to maintain their trucks and fleets.
Detecting Faulty Equipment
There are many reasons a truck could break down, and in some cases, the initial failure may not be from a faulty part or faulty maintenance. For instance, the recent problems of a Nissan truck involved a misconfigured electronic device. It caused significant problems as the truck needed to be taken to multiple locations to remove and install new equipment.
Circling back to trucking, the automation found in modern commercial trucking management systems can improve the efficiency of the entire trucking business. It reduces the time and costs associated with dealing with breakdowns. Just imagine a fleet manager that is able to predict the level of fleet downtime before it actually occurs. Even if the vehicle breaks down, the equipment will work at its optimum and maintenance costs will drop.
This can be a huge issue with fleets that spend heavily on maintenance. And as the trucking industry seeks to improve the overall efficiency of their fleets, the trucking industry is under constant pressure to lower maintenance costs and keep vehicles and equipment in better operating condition.
Managing Fleet Maintenance
Just as with mechanical systems, fleet maintenance systems are in constant contact with the equipment. That is the benefit of modern solutions that connect to a fleet’s existing maintenance and service history.
From a financial perspective, modern fleet management systems allow fleet managers to set budgets to support the future use of vehicles, equipment and drivers. Like electronic logbooks, they allow a fleet manager to maintain a much better understanding of how their fleet is operating. For example, fleet management systems can collect data about engine performance and maintenance. Those operations can be tracked through all the driver’s reports to make sure they get proper attention.
Ultimately, fleets can implement a management system to ensure they have a long-term future of equipment maintenance without relying on inaccurate data. For a management system to work, the fleet must always be operating. And that means making sure that they have the proper equipment and drivers that allow the fleet to operate efficiently and effectively.