An Ultimate Guide to Fleet Maintenance With Whip Around
A first-class fleet maintenance operation is the only way to ensure that your fleet will continue to reliably drive the profits home. Anything less can drive down profits and cause your fleet to lose its competitive edge in today’s very demanding business environments. When old-school fleet maintenance programs rely on 20th Century legacy processes encumbered by paperwork, the maintenance team frequently finds itself in unending emergency mode.
Lack of real-time fleet data can result in a chaotic, never-ending state of unplanned corrective maintenance which drives expenses up with overtime for labor, and reduces vehicle availability percentages in this most competitive period in the transportation and logistics sectors when every truck in the fleet needs to carry its load. Fleet managers who resist the crucial digital transformation for fleet operations and maintenance can be sure that their competitors have already deployed it in today’s era of smart fleet management.
That’s where Whip Around comes in.
Careful implementation of corrective, preventative, and predictive maintenance is crucial but happily it’s much easier to achieve now in the digital “smart age”. Generally, preventative maintenance is performed while the machine in question is still running perfectly. Nipping minor maintenance issues in the bud before they evolve into catastrophic over-the-road breakdowns is the key. Collecting the Big Data numbers which enable preventative maintenance to evolve into predictive maintenance just isn’t possible with paper-based maintenance programs. Fleet managers in the smart age need these critical elements to operate a first-class fleet maintenance program in the 21st Century including:
Real-time reporting from DVIRs from every driver in the fleet.
Reduce unplanned corrective maintenance to the minimum.
Stay ahead of fleet operations by tracking mileage, hours of operation, and driver performance trends.
Access to fleetwide data for purchasing and deactivation decisions. (Should we rebuild these assets or replace?)
Ability to bring mechanics into the loop as early as possible when critical faults are flagged and corrective maintenance needs to be prioritized.
Ability to send alerts when fleetwide issues are discovered with analytics. For example, a certain make or model prone to specific breakdowns, or trailers from a specific carrier with common air hose connection, brakes, or tire defects.
Ability to customize the program to include all assets, such as heavy construction equipment, specialized CMV’s for utilities, forklifts, and other high-value assets which support fleet operations.
All fleet maintenance, even the old-school paper-based programs, must include these general steps which must be taken to keep the fleet rolling reliably.
Identify individual vehicle issues as well as common problems fleetwide.
With Whip Around the electronic DVIR makes this step easy to accomplish with the convenience of a smartphone. Drivers can conduct inspections anytime, anywhere, and generate professional reports with comments and images for real-time decision making by fleet managers. Paper reporting simply can’t measure up, requiring the driver to fill out forms by hand without the benefit of images, not to mention the unavoidable lag time while the paper form makes its way to fleet managers at a snail’s pace.
Communicate alerts to the fleet and maintenance resources.
When every driver can conduct an inspection at any time from any location fleetwide problems can be promptly addressed and avoided. Problems with batches of OEM or replacement parts and frequent failures can be flagged by drivers and mechanics throughout the fleet, keeping everyone up to speed so corrections can be made in real time. This is important for parts small and large, ranging from engine caps that loosen to windshield wiper blades that aren’t holding up for the trip, to alerts concerning vital parts such as tires, brakes, engines, fifth wheels, and trailer connections. When fleetwide faults are discovered, Whip Around’s custom form capability allows fleet managers to direct the drivers’ attention to doublecheck specific issues, and they can easily be added to pre-trip checklists.
Unplanned corrective maintenance is arguably the most disruptive factor to fleet operations. This is the costly practice also known by the terms “breakdown maintenance”, “reactive maintenance” and even “run-to-failure” maintenance. While eliminating all breakdowns is impossible, having a comprehensive plan in place to deal with emergency maintenance situations goes a long way to minimizing downtime. With fleet-wide data available, fleet managers can spot issues and trends and prepare teams to deal with problems before they happen. When they do, repairs can be quickly prioritized, and internal and external mechanics responsible for leased equipment know exactly what action must be taken. Breakdown plans can include parts, anticipated costs, downtime requirements, and facilities best suited to handle certain repairs.
Whip Around collects and enables access to Big Data from the entire fleet, using the convenience of the smartphone and the power of the cloud. Preventative maintenance procedures can be fine-tuned to minimize scheduled downtime. Here we begin the transition from preventative maintenance to the smart age evolution of predictive maintenance. Analytics can reveal which parts last for a certain amount of time or miles, and which driver behaviors are affecting vehicle and parts life cycles.
Performance can be tracked and analyzed to see exactly which preventative maintenance processes are showing the best results and planned maintenance can be scheduled when it is most convenient and least disruptive to fleet operations. The most efficient mechanics can be assigned to specialized teams for certain procedures, and even the sequence of planned maintenance steps can be refined to streamline fleetwide maintenance on common assets. Predictive maintenance based on data-driven decision making simply isn’t an option when that critical data is buried somewhere in mountains of paper reports.
The most effective way to create a first-class maintenance program is to get everyone in the fleet involved, bringing everyone from drivers and mechanics, to managers and external leasing parties into the maintenance loop. Streamlining the reporting process is critical for streamlining fleet maintenance. When drivers flag faults they are acting as the fleet’s first line of defense. That means they need a digital reporting tool that is user-friendly and convenient to use. Real-time reporting keeps maintenance teams ahead of the problems while ensuring rigorous DOT compliance.
When drivers can conduct inspections at any time or location with the convenience of their smartphones, inspections get done reliably and faults are flagged for action in real-time. When mechanics have access to images and comments from drivers on the scene they can make informed estimates of repair parts and time required. When fleet managers have access to Big Data and the power of the cloud is in their hands, data-driven decision making takes the guesswork out of important decisions such as when to repair or replace high-value assets.
When you’re ready to put a first-class, industry-leading, digital tool to work to upgrade your fleet’s maintenance management you’re ready for Whip Around, so please don’t hesitate to contact us.