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Where your service operation is leaving money on the table

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Jason Morgan is the editor of Fleet Equipment. He has more than 14 years of B2B journalism experience covering the likes of trucking and construction equipment, real estate, movies and craft beer industries.

When it comes to where you can most improve the efficiency of your service and maintenance operation, Renaldo Adler, principal of asset maintenance with TMW Systems, said that warranty work is where many fleets leave money on the table.

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“Fleets can have trouble tracking warranty covered repairs,” Adler said. “They likely don’t have a warranty administrator or a method of tracking when they replaced an alternator, for example, or any other individual part.”

TMW Systems offers TMT Fleet Maintenance to help fleets control costs and improve uptime. TMT Fleet Maintenance is a maintenance management solution in which the software integrates management of all maintenance areas, including P/M schedules, parts inventory, fuel and tire usage, mechanic hours, billing, warranty recovery, and more. TMT Fleet Maintenance’s diagnostic resources also enable users to define and diagnose OEM fault codes and perform comprehensive diagnoses and repairs.

Case in point: Fleet trucks closer to the end of their lifecycle muddy the warranty issues—either they are out of warranty or it’s difficult to track if warranty service on a specific component as already been completed earlier in the truck’s operational life. With a maintenance software solution such as TMT Fleet Maintenance, fleets can easily track warranty repair work that might have been done two or three years into the truck’s life and even track it through aftermarket warranty coverage, if applicable.

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When you start having to perform more maintenance on trucks that are near the end of the cycle, tracking those costs is imperative for tracking the cost of ownership. From Adler’s view, the warranty recovery tracking could cover the ROI on the software investment.

Which brake pads are performing better?

It’s a seemingly simple question, but one that becomes increasingly more complex when you consider the brake pads’ total cost of ownership. For example, Scott Vanselous, TMW Systems’ executive vice president of marketing and strategy, pointed to a case in which a fleet was examining the cost of brake pads. The fleet couldn’t squeeze another cent out of the acquisition cost from the supplier, and so it asked the question, “Which manufacturer’s brake pads are performing better?” The fleet tracked brake pad usage through maintenance management software.

“When the fleet started looking at the total life span of the brake pads,” Vanselous said, “it realized that the lowest cost brake pad was actually costing them more than the pads with the more expensive acquisition cost because they weren’t getting the number of cycles out of their current brake pads.”

Fleets often negotiate the best initial price they possibly can with their suppliers, but Vanselous urged fleets to consider if they’re really doing the right thing by focusing on the acquisition cost.

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“Without the data you don’t know; it’s just someone’s impression or opinion that this is the right way to go,” he said. “By looking at historical equipment data, you can see how the lifecycle of one manufacturer’s product compares to another.”

Within historical data, equipment usage trends begin to emerge, allowing fleets to compare a similar group of trucks in similar applications utilizing different brands of equipment. Then fleets can chart how that equipment stacks up against each other from a maintenance point of view. It’s those types of questions that fleet managers are starting to wrap their heads around that will drive the integration of software solutions—from telematics and data-reporting to remote diagnostics and maintenance management software.

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