FLEET MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
How to get the most out of fleet inspection data
By Kevin Price
Monitoring and ensuring the health of the fleet: it can be a well-managed, efficient process or something much more haphazard. Having vehicles out of service when least expected and possibly when needed most creates safety, cost and potentially legal issues. How can fleet managers keep their fleets running in a fixed, measurable way?
Leveraging inspection detail is paramount. Notice the word “leveraging” — not “collecting.” Nearly all fleet managers gather inspection information, whether manually, via mobile devices, or by using a telemetry system that can monitor the print diagnostics of a bus, for example. But how do they make the best use of the collected data?
Planning a maintenance program isn’t simply a matter of scheduling vehicles for service. What equipment will you need? Is it sure to be available during that two-hour window? Will special tools be required? How about parts—will you have what you need on hand? Can you count on the availability of a technician with expertise on that particular vehicle type? And if several procedures or repairs are needed, but not all can be accomplished within the scheduled timeframe, which are most crucial, and when will you be able to take that vehicle out of service again to perform the remaining work?
Considering all the factors that must be taken into account when building an efficient maintenance program, it’s not at all surprising that technology plays an increasingly critical role in getting it right. Manual systems are tedious and time-consuming, especially for larger fleets, and prone to error. It’s tough to make informed decisions if managers are spending all their time gathering data and don’t have up-to-date, accurate, timely reports on which to make decisions.
Asset management software can provide the missing piece of a fleet monitoring plan. Such systems can take the data managers provide—either manually or by integrating with a telemetry application—and quickly build operator checklists for both preventative and upcoming maintenance, among other things. Fleet managers will gain a better understanding of how a driver who regularly exceeds the speed limit, for example, is impacting tire wear, brake usage and fuel consumption. They’ll quickly determine when they can schedule each vehicle for service, based on the availability of tools, equipment, parts and technicians, as well as warranty schedules and any special circumstances.
Some experts think the fleet manager’s role will someday be at the board level—because of the ever-broadening skill set required to be successful. Fleet managers today need to know not only about vehicles and maintenance, but also about planning, finance, insurance and managing staff. Technology will help pave the way to this newly expanded role by supporting faster, more effective decision-making.
Kevin Price has more than 17 years in Infor’s asset management business, holding roles in sales and service, as asset solutions director for the Infor Public Sector group, and now product director for Infor EAM, MP2, Spear Technologies, and Infor Energy Performance Management. He is based in Greenville, SC. Kevin welcomes your feedback and questions. Please don’t hesitate to email him at firstname.lastname@example.org