We confuse maintenance by believing that equipment doesn’t need fixing if it’s working – but that’s not true. Maintenance is essential to the success of any fleet management. In light of the recent sequence of events, predictive maintenance has become the need of the hour.
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Companies focus on reducing downtime because it costs more than any other problem in their value chain. A study conducted by Atlassian found that the average cost of downtime in high-risk industries, like manufacturing, was over $5 million per hour. Even a fraction of that number is a great reason to implement robust maintenance techniques, backups, and rock-solid contingency plans.
Why do you need robust maintenance techniques?
For example, a fleet company with a fixed driver cost that faces one hour downtime will result in a loss of approximately $100. That doesn’t sound alarming, but when you look at it from the perspective of a business, one that manages thousands of drivers and trucks, the numbers are staggering, and they quickly add up to a few hundred thousand dollars.
At such a stage, making the right decisions is difficult. Having protocol documentation ready is like having a contingency plan to avoid further damage – it can even sometimes help you recoup losses.
One of the fundamentals of creating contingency plans for maintenance is to have preventative maintenance. For example, in the above example of a driver experiencing downtime, let’s assume the downtime is due to battery issues during the winter season. Scheduling timely truck battery replacement brings your trucks to life and improves their uptime.
Five Ways to Ensure Access to Service Documentation
1.vDeploy modern enterprise asset management software
A modern EAM software provides a company with detailed information about operations and assets. Whether you need to assemble a fleet of trucks with drivers or pull out an instant service report for a certain truck on a particular date, you have it.
EAM software covers the full range of truck documents in one place and presents them when needed. EAM allows you to stay lean by adopting extraction methods from manufacturing, especially when you don’t need to stock a fleet of parked trucks.
2. Create a robust predictive maintenance program
Robust predictive maintenance is essentially an extension of automated preventive maintenance. This not only avoids downtime, but also creates an efficient maintenance solution that avoids last minute hassles in collecting relevant documents.
Since trucks vary widely, as do their fleet routes, each vehicle receives a different maintenance treatment. Therefore, each vehicle in the fleet must have a personalized maintenance schedule, which makes it difficult to urgently retrieve documents and work orders.
A good preventive maintenance plan includes:
- Changing engine oil and filters at regular intervals
- Maintenance of fuel, cooling and exhaust systems
- Inspection of the engine and its parts like belts, shafts, axles, etc.
- Steering and suspension maintenance
- Inspection of rotating parts like wheels, rims, etc.
- Inspect and repair leaks
3. Track assets with electronic field devices
During transportation, drivers need en-route maintenance which requires paperwork. Carrying important documents on a long trip is a risk, so, alternatively, taking advantage of equipment maintenance devices to generate documents is convenient.
Electronic field devices like RFID or systems like CMMS [Computerized Maintenance Management System] or TMS [Transport Management Systems] do more than just one-time maintenance. They give you real-time checks on the truck’s location, health, status, scheduled maintenance, and more. so you can reduce overhead by eliminating the guesswork.
According to Verizon, a typical heavy-duty truck burns about a gallon of diesel for every hour of idling, generating pollution, wasting fuel and causing excessive engine wear. These situations have been overcome by Verizon Fleet Management Solutions [a type of TMS] knowing the location of the vehicle, fuel consumption, etc.
4. Deploy a centralized inventory management system
The cost of a vehicle’s parts has a direct impact on maintenance costs. A central inventory system for all vehicles in the fleet helps you stay organized as it gives real-time visibility and parts availability in advance. Connecting the centralized inventory management software to the central ERP system allows you to get a full lifecycle of the part, such as purchase date, arrival date, warranty, etc. The entire work order management system is refined. Thus, it is advisable to track the value of inventory parts in fleet maintenance with the help of reliable digitized software for improved documentation.
5. Upload appropriate asset documentation, receipts, and operation and maintenance manuals for future reference
Going digital is one of the easiest and safest ways to keep your manuals, documents and protocols close at hand. Cloud-based asset management software makes scanning and uploading documents accessible from anywhere, anytime and on any device. From the initial bill of sale to photos of current assets, and from warranty cards to OEM-issued user manuals, everything can be recorded, assessed and viewed.
AWS IoT-Based Services enabled an Ontario-based fleet management company to gain better visibility into vehicle maintenance. All scanned documents can be saved to the cloud to make informed decisions for the company which has 35,000 global customers, across various industry verticals in 15 countries.
Tips for recovering documents
Today, as businesses move digitally, fleet managers should also embrace the transition for maintenance. Digitizing documentation is more than paperwork: it offers data-driven decision making for maintenance. Here are some questions you might find useful the next time you search for a document in your database:
- What documents should I look for in my asset management software?
- Which department does this issue belong to?
- Where is my maintenance problem?
- What is the shipper number, accident ID, order number, etc. ?
Go digital for maintenance and give your team the right information at the right time!
Eric Whitley has 30 years of manufacturing experience, holding positions such as Total Productive Maintenance Champion for Autoliv ASP, an automotive safety systems supplier specializing in airbags and restraint systems. He is also an expert in lean and smart manufacturing practices and technologies. Over the years Eric has worked with all sectors of industry including food, wood, construction, chemical and automotive to name a few. Currently, he is part of the L2L team.