Five ways for instant access to truck maintenance protocols, documents
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Five ways for instant access to truck maintenance protocols, documents

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We confound maintenance by believing the equipment doesn’t need repairing if it is working -but that’s not true. Maintenance is essential for any fleet management success. In light of the recent sequence of events, predictive maintenance has become the need of the hour.

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Companies are focusing on reducing downtime as they cost more than any other issues in their value chain. A study conducted by Atlassian found the average cost for downtime in high-risk industries, like the manufacturing industry, was upward of $5 million per hour. Even a fraction of that number is a great reason to implement robust maintenance techniques, backups, and full-proof contingency plans.

Why do you need robust maintenance techniques?  

For example, a fleet company with a fixed cost of the driver who faces an hour’s worth of downtime will result in a loss of around $100. This doesn’t seem alarming, but when you look at it from a company perspective, one that manages thousands of drivers and trucks, the numbers are staggering, and they quickly rise to a few hundred thousand dollars.  

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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 might even help you recover losses at times.

One of the fundamentals in creating maintenance contingency plans is to have preventive maintenance. For instance, in the above example of a driver facing downtime, let’s assume the downtime is due to battery issues during the winter season. Planning the replacement of truck batteries in a timely fashion is giving life to your trucks and enhancing their uptime. 

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Five ways to ensure access to maintenance documentation

1.vDeploy a modern Enterprise Asset Management software

A modern EAM software provides a business with detailed insights about operations and assets. Whether you need to assemble a fleet of trucks with drivers or pull out an instant maintenance report of a certain truck on a particular date–you have it.

EAM software covers the full spectrum of truck documents in one place and presents them when needed. EAM empowers you to stay lean by adopting pull methods from manufacturing, especially when you don’t need to stock up on a fleet of parked trucks. 

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2. Create a robust predictive maintenance schedule

Robust predictive maintenance is essentially an extension of automated preventive maintenance. It not only helps avoid downtime, but also creates an effective maintenance solution that avoids last-minute fuss in gathering relevant documents.

Because trucks vary greatly and so do their fleet routes, every vehicle undergoes a different maintenance treatment. As a result, every fleet vehicle must have a customized maintenance schedule – which makes it difficult to fetch the documents and work orders urgently. 

A good preventive maintenance plan includes:

  • Change of 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.
  • Maintenance of steering and suspensions
  • Inspection of rotating parts like wheels, rims, etc.
  • Inspecting and fixing leaks 

3. Ensure asset tracking with electronic field devices

During the transport, drivers need on-the-way maintenance which requires paperwork. Carrying important documents on a long journey is a risk, so, alternatively, leveraging equipment maintenance devices to generate documents comes in handy.

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Electronic field devices like RFIDs or systems such as CMMS [Computerized Maintenance Management System] or TMS [Transport Management Systems] do more than just timely maintenance. They give you real-time checks of the truck’s whereabouts, health, condition, schedule maintenance, etc. so you can cut overheads by eliminating guesswork.

According to Verizon, a typical heavy-duty truck burns approximately one gallon of diesel for every hour it idles, generating pollution, wasting fuel, and causing excessive engine wear. These situations were overcome by Verizon Fleet management Solutions [a type of TMS] by knowing the vehicle’s location, fuel consumption, etc.

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4. Deploy a centralized inventory management system

A vehicle’s parts costs directly impact maintenance costs. A central inventory system for all fleet vehicles helps you stay organized because it gives real-time visibility and part availability beforehand. Connecting centralized inventory management software with the central ERP system gets you a complete lifecycle of the part such as the date purchased, date arrived, warranty, etc. The entire work order management system is refined. Thus, it is advisable to track the value of inventory parts in fleet maintenance using reliable digitized software for enhanced documentation.

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5. Upload asset documentation, receipts, and proper O&M manuals for future reference

Going digital is one of the easiest and safest ways to keep your manuals, documents, and protocols handy. Cloud-based asset management software allows scanning and uploading documents that can be accessed from anywhere, at any time, and on any device. Right from the initial sales deed to current asset photos, and from warranty cards to user manuals issued by OEMs, everything can be saved, evaluated, and referred to.

AWS’s IoT-based services have enabled an Ontario-based fleet management company to gain better visibility into vehicle maintenance. All scanned documents can be saved on the Cloud to make informed decisions for the company which has 35,000 global customers, across various industry verticals in 15 countries.

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Tips for retrieving documents

Today, as businesses grow digital, fleet management executives should embrace the transition for maintenance too. Digitization in documentation is more than just paperwork: it offers data-backed decision-making for maintenance. Here are some questions that might come in handy the next time you are looking for a document in your database:

  • What paperwork should I search for in my Asset Management Software?
  • To which department does this issue belong?
  • Where is my problem in maintenance?
  • 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! 

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Eric Whitley has 30 years of experience in manufacturing, holding positions such as Total Productive Maintenance Champion for Autoliv ASP, an automotive safety system supplier that specializes 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, Timber, Construction, Chemical and Automotive to name a few. Currently, he’s a part of the L2L team.

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