If you’re responsible for fleet maintenance then you most likely face similar challenges year after year. To illustrate this point, Automotive Fleet recently published their pick of the key challenges facing fleet managers in 2017, and several of them impact fleet maintenance.
They’ll probably sound familiar to longtime maintenance managers – minimizing downtime, reducing tight budgets and managing the huge amount of data your fleet generates.
While the challenges haven’t changed a whole lot, the technology you can use to fight back has.
Keeping all those vehicles maintained ain’t easy
Ask any regular car owner and they’ll tell you, staying on top of basic maintenance can be a headache, and that’s just one vehicle – extend that to 5, 10, 25 or 200 vehicles and you have a full-time job.
Add to this that the vehicles are used every day in rugged work environments, traveling up to twice as many miles as a regular car, and you realize that keeping up with maintenance is not only challenging, it’s constant.
For some fleet managers it probably seems like yesterday when keeping maintenance records and scheduling services was a time-consuming and tedious process – checking hub meters, filling in log books and writing up service reports. Rinse and repeat for every car, truck and piece of equipment. Then do it all over again.
Along came basic GPS tracking and fleet managers were free to cross off ‘checking hub meters, engine hours and odometers’ from their to-do list. Vehicle mileage was automatically being recorded and reported on.
It was progress but there were still improvements needed to help streamline the fleet maintenance process even more.
Improving your fleet’s communication skills
We all know that vehicles record more than just mileage. As the technology advances, more and more data points are being monitored and can be reported on using fleet management software.
Anything from oil life remaining to a defective tail light, can now trigger an alert in near real time, notifying a fleet manager, service center or authorized dealer for follow up.
One key area we’ve been focused on recently is creating a tighter feedback loop between your fleet vehicles and the manufacturer. In particular, vehicle health data that can help fleet managers save money, improve uptime and extend asset life.
So, what are the benefits of a more streamlined, automated maintenance program?
Eight ways automated maintenance programs are making life easier for fleet managers
Over the years we’ve seen a growing number of ways that GPS tracking data can help fleet managers – and that it’s about more than just ‘dots on a map.’
Telematics data now includes a wealth of vehicle health data that can be used to automate a fleet’s vehicle maintenance program.
Our customers now have access to a growing database of vehicle diagnostics, service schedules and maintenance reports that offer a range of benefits from setting up vehicles and managing them through the entire asset lifecycle.
- Bulk setup of new fleet vehicles – Having to create service schedules for a lot of new fleet vehicles individually is a time consuming and tedious chore, especially when many of them are identical. We can offer a simple way to add service schedules in bulk. For any new vehicles that you add, with a couple of clicks you can add the full manufacturer’s recommended service plan for that model, saving a lot of time.
- Maintenance alerts can be sent directly to a dealer or service center – Depending on how your fleet vehicles are serviced, you can set it up so that any vehicle trouble codes are emailed directly to your dealer for their attention. This saves time and speeds up the resolution process, avoiding a more serious breakdown.
- Drivers can focus on their job – With vehicle health information automatically collected and sent directly to a fleet maintenance manager or service center, drivers can focus on their day-to-day work, knowing that any problems are being communicated to the right person without them having to take notes every time the ‘check engine’ light comes on.
- Fleet maintenance overviews – See at a glance (sorted by issue severity) all current and outstanding mechanical issues for the whole fleet. Includes helpful information on fault codes (DTCs) such as diagnostic information and possible fix.
- Better decision making with maintenance trends – With full reporting and web-based dashboards available to fleet managers, it is a lot easier to identify patterns in maintenance issues, grouping by vehicle model or location. This information can help managers make better decisions about which vehicles to buy, or which ones to assign where.
- Save on over-servicing – Sometimes vehicles get serviced more than they actually need to – with accurate vehicle health data (such as oil life remaining) maintenance schedules are more accurate, reducing servicing costs.
- Helps prevent voiding vehicle warranties – Keeping vehicles within warranty by conforming to the required service schedule (manufacturer service schedules are available for individual vehicle models)
- Authorized dealers or service centers can be easily navigated to – Setup service locations as map sites, making it easy for drivers to go directly to their nearest center for repairs or assistance while on the road.
By improving vehicle reporting and automating maintenance tasks, fleet managers are better equipped to see ways to help reduce fleet expenses and downtime, knowing exactly where the cost leaks are and preventing minor issues becoming major ones.
Is it time to streamline your maintenance?
If your fleet maintenance is currently a very manual process then why not look into how automating vehicle health data could save time and improve overall uptime? Contact us and we can walk you through how to upgrade your fleet, so you can enjoy a more automated maintenance program.