Posted in Fleet Maintenance on June 27, 2016

All across the business world, people are talking about the great potential that big data holds for improving business practices and operations. The trucking and transportation industry is no exception.

In a recent Fleet Owner article, Martin Zeilinger, the highly respected director of advanced engineering at Daimler Trucks, predicted his company’s new data-powered vehicles would help create a future in which “the connected truck is always on, always driving, fully loaded, never stuck, never failing and with (a) happy driver.”

While Zeilinger’s prediction centered on logistics, fleet maintenance operations can also benefit greatly from real-time data and information sharing. The key to realizing those benefits lies in having a tool such as a Service Relationship Management (SRM) platform to make organizing and sharing important fleet maintenance data seamless, timely and highly accurate.

Keep reading to learn how real-time information sharing facilitated by an SRM platform reduces stress and creates operational efficiencies for multiple stakeholders across your fleet and your service supply chain.

How Real-Time Information Sharing Benefits Fleet Maintenance Managers

Through the SRM platform, fleet maintenance managers know instantly the status of their assets including:

  • Remote diagnostics including high-severity fault codes
  • Pending recalls or service campaigns as well as upcoming/due PMs (as well as most recent PMs)
  • Complete VMRS-coded service and inspection history
  • Truck location and nearest preferred service providers

This information gives fleet maintenance managers the insight they need to know whether a repair can wait or must be made immediately. Real-time data access also helps reduce triage time and downtime, which ultimately enables fleet maintenance managers to make a positive impact on profitability.

Plus, with real-time communications and updates, follow-up on service events and approval of estimates is faster and easier. With an SRM system, the fleet maintenance manager can also set up real-time alerts based on high-risk activities; downtime greater than two days; estimates greater than $2,000; unresponsive dealers; and more.

With information at his fingertips, this reduces stress and improves decision-making (getting out of the constant fire drill mode), and enables him to focus on those events that really need his attention.

How Real-Time Information Sharing Benefits Scheduling and Dispatch Personnel

When your trucks go down for unscheduled repairs, it can be extremely stressful and frustrating for scheduling and dispatch operations, not to mention drivers. With the real-time data visibility offered by an SRM platform, your scheduling and dispatch personnel have a much clearer and more accurate picture of where your trucks are in the service repair process and when they will be available.

You won’t get harangued by constant phone calls and emails asking about the truck status. Instead, your team will get real-time updates via their preferred communication method (email or text). They can even set their own specific thresholds for alerts including past-due promise times or delays in communication.

Real-time visibility to status updates and targeted repair completion times (ETRs) helps put trucks back into short-term planning cycles, which helps reduce downtime and boosts profitability, and makes the most effective use of available driver Hours of Service.

How Real-Time Information Sharing Benefits Financial Management Processes

Your accounts payable team is frustrated when they receive an invoice without a PO number or any information on who approved the repair and when. Without an approved estimate, how do they know whether to pay the amount requested?

Access to the complete details of a service event, including estimate and invoice details as well as audited activity and notes, makes their life much easier. Plus the service provider gets paid faster. In-context information sharing enabled by your SRM platform all but eliminates this frustrating and costly problem. Through the platform your AP staff knows which invoices are coming before they’re even mailed, and the repair information can be entered into your ERP, asset management or maintenance application via a simple integration before the invoice even arrives.

How Real-Time Information Sharing Benefits Breakdown Managers

Handling breakdowns can be one of the most stressful jobs in your entire fleet. But with the real-time information sharing enabled by an SRM platform, both your breakdown managers and your drivers are able to get a handle on what’s going on more quickly and feel less stressed.

The SRM platform makes your breakdown manager’s job easier with:

  • Fewer phone calls
  • Fewer stressed-out drivers
  • Faster and easier case management and setup
  • Real-time electronic updates on external service repairs
  • Remote diagnostics including high-severity fault codes and severity
  • Truck location and nearest preferred service providers

Additionally, the platform enables better quantitative insight into service provider and dealer performance, which helps breakdown managers select the right service provider every time, causing a ripple effect of reduced stress and downtime across your whole operation.

SRM: Leveraging Data for Continuous Improvement

As the real-time data available through your SRM platform allows your fleet to derive benefits as service and repair events happen, the historical data (such as VMRS codes) available through the platform helps you look back at past events to evaluate and update your standard operating procedures and rules of engagement.

This allows you to continuously make process improvements and achieve greater efficiency.

Fleet Managers, Join the Conversation

How do you use real-time data in your fleet operations? What benefits have you experienced from information sharing across departments? Please share your thoughts by posting a comment below.