“By measuring all aspects of a service event, not just actual parts and labor costs, fleet mangers can understand the true causes of downtime, identify potentially costly trends and take steps to improve the process,” Riemer says. “Having all the right information and a service event management process that provides transparency goes a long way toward reducing asset downtime and lowering total cost of ownership.”
Mining breakdown data
Tracking downtime through the study of fleet operations was the subject of a recent online article by Byron Lay, NationaLease and AmeriQuest’s director of Road Rescue, the group that handles over-the-road events. “Properly recording and analyzing data generated during over-the-road events can impact every aspect of a fleet’s operation,” Lay states.
“The most successful fleets are learning that the data they are collecting can be mined and analyzed in a variety of ways that will help them optimize fleet operations,” Lay adds. “One of the richest sources of valuable data is what’s learned when over-the-road breakdowns occur. When this information is gathered into a vehicle data platform designed for recording breakdowns, it may lead to decisions that can impact asset utilization.
“There is much that the data can teach fleet managers about how they manage their operation,” Lay says. “Look at what’s learned when downtime is tracked and analyzed. At the end of the month, year or lifecycle of a particular batch of units, properly gathered breakdown data will show the dollar spins associated with the components of a particular truck or trailer. At the end of that time period, you can know exactly how much maintenance money you spent on that unit and exactly where you spent it.
“That gives you the intelligence you need to determine if a particular system or component has a lot of problems late in life and whether it makes more sense to dispose of it earlier than what was previously intended,” Lay continues. “The data might show, for example, that a particular starter goes bad at 300,000 miles so you can investigate if a better value starter will result in a longer productive lifecycle.“
Lay goes on to say that using data generated by Vehicle Maintenance Reporting Standards (VMRS) coding in the platform lets fleet managers identify things within the analytics that can have a big impact on minimizing downtime. For example, from a lifecycle standpoint, companies can look at miles-per-breakdown at different intervals. Gathering and analyzing tire data is another good example of how breakdown data can benefit a fleet.
“If you’re recording information correctly, you may see that a given shop or set of shops have more tire-related failures than another,” Lay explains further. “This might require a new look at a variety of factors, including your current level of preventive maintenance and technician training. Maybe a new tire program needs to be put into place to help prevent service events.
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