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How To Use Fleet Tracking for Fleet Maintenance

Preventative maintenance is critical to expanding the lifespan of commercial fleet vehicles. It’s more than just doing an oil change every specific cycle of miles driven. Using a telematics system to manage fleet maintenance can increase a company’s ROA (Return On Assets). This is the rate at which a business is able to leverage its assets to generate revenue. Poor fleet maintenance can lead to accelerated depreciation of assets.

Managing fleet maintenance with a telematics system automates otherwise tedious tasks. For example, receiving alerts versus conducting manual checks saves time and decreases human error. Using the intelligence of software instead of paper and old-school spreadsheets increases productivity. Of course, the greatest benefit is how the use of telematics increases profitability. 

Telematics is used for easy management of commercial fleets

The word telematics is derived from telecommunications and informatics. A telematics system integrates both into a comprehensive management tool. It leverages the ability to store and receive information that helps managers make better decisions. The best tools integrate accurate technology and a robust set of features that identify and record the maintenance needs of your fleet vehicles. Here are some of the benefits:

  • Extend the life of commercial fleet vehicles with a proactive approach to maintenance
  • Reduce fuel costs by conducting preventative maintenance based on telematics insights
  • Identify & document failure trends happening with vehicles of the same model
  • Review & document technician repairs
  • Track and manage documentation for warranties and claims
  • Receive alerts about unprecedented maintenance issues
  • Efficiently collaborate with internal teams and departments

Protect your bottom line with improved maintenance management

Profits increase when fleet management tools are used to improve maintenance programs. It’s especially important when your vehicle types and models vary. Although repairs are a necessary part of fleet management, the time between repairs can be greatly reduced through preventive maintenance

Ongoing evaluation of vehicle conditions and proper documentation builds historic data that can be used for real-time decision-making. Realtime data eliminates communication gaps. Fleet telematics systems go beyond the use of industry best-practices. They empower fleet managers to make both data-driven plans and on-demand decisions. 

How can telematics be used to track commercial fleet maintenance needs?

Proper maintenance of fleets involves a full spectrum approach to management. Even preventative maintenance can be complicated. With telematics fleet systems, it doesn’t have to be. There is a difference between street miles versus highway miles. Every driver handles a vehicle differently. Some vehicle makes and models require standard maintenance sooner than others. These are all factors that must be considered in order to protect company assets. Using telematics technology, you can identify and anticipate both preventative and repair maintenance needs. Tracking can and should be done in a variety of ways,  including the following options. 

Service Fleet Maintenance Schedules

This form of maintenance scheduling is familiar in both professional and personal use settings. From annual maintenance tasks to seasonal ones, schedules are the standard. For example, you can create a time-based schedule for when you prepare commercial vehicles for winter routes. Time-based preventive maintenance can suffice for scheduling seasonal work. However, when used alone, it’s inefficient. It doesn’t respond to utilization, changes in performance, maintenance alerts, and more.

Fleet Vehicle Mileage Tracking

From timing belts to oil changes, some maintenance is prioritized based on the distance a vehicle has traveled. Odometer based schedules assume maintenance is required at specific points and intervals of miles driven. While this is a reasonable factor for some maintenance needs, it also falls short. Fleet managers have a fiscal responsibility and need reliable data to protect company assets. Distance alone cannot properly indicate the complete maintenance needs of a fleet.

Performance Evaluation

Declines in vehicle performance can result in costly repairs if they are not identified early. Even neglected repairs turn into necessary replacements. Poor performance can also cause route delays, dissatisfied drivers, and customer cancellations. Increased gas consumption can indicate a multitude of problems from simple maintenance items to costly repairs. 

Fleet Truck Diagnostics & Technology

A telematics system can function as a robust diagnostic tool and uses enhanced technology to communicate findings. This can happen in the form of alerts sent to fleet managers, event tracking, and maintenance predictions.

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Use Case Analysis

Usage-based preventive maintenance allows for triggers to be developed that alert fleet managers when it is time to perform maintenance. This method also allows for the prediction of future maintenance based on utilization. Being able to make predictions for maintenance allows you to also budget to prepare for when maintenance will be needed for your fleet.

Creating a Preventive Maintenance Program Using Telematics

Using a telematics-based maintenance plan can help to mitigate the issues and concerns that come with sudden breakdowns. The shelf life of the vehicles in your fleet depends on repairs being done properly as well as on time. Telematics technology uses vehicle diagnostics data, time-based, odometer based and utilization together to gauge scheduling and alerts for preventive maintenance. This well-rounded approach allows you to prevent:

  • Emergency maintenance costs
  • Missing duty deadlines
  • Delivery issues

Fleet telematics for preventive maintenance keeps you well-informed by delivering the details of the diagnostic data in a convenient dashboard for your review. When seeking to incorporate fleet telematics technology there are some important points you need to cover to ensure that you are getting the most out of your purchase. The following tips can help you to make the right decision when looking to improve your maintenance scheduling with telematics:

Creating a Predictive & Preventive Maintenance Program. This program should identify issues early so that you are able to be as proactive as possible at scheduling maintenance and repairs. Waiting for vehicle breakdowns related to preventable issues can be quite costly. Fleet management tools can help you to schedule check-ups and maintenance in advance. The point here is to be proactive rather than reactive to the needs of your fleet.

Scheduling your Maintenance. Smart fleet managers and owners have moved away from the task of manually scheduled maintenance. Tracking metrics like fuel used, miles driven, time on the road and vehicle history becomes much easier with telematics tools. Whether your fleet is large or small, coordinating maintenance for several vehicles should not be taken lightly. Using telematics to assist you will help you to identify key issues immediately and follow-up on completed repairs.

Annual Maintenance. There are several important maintenance duties that need to be done annually to ensure optimal vehicle performance. Telematics technology keeps track of all of these moving parts so that you can focus on more pressing matters in your business. Vehicle maintenance tasks like checking battery terminals, fluid levels, air filters and engine oil become less time consuming with telematics.

Leveraging telematics to handle fleet maintenance can help you get more out of every aspect of your business as well as prevent unnecessary hits to your bottom line. Your vehicles are your biggest asset and should be treated with plenty of care, taking into account regular wear and tear. 

Consult with one of our expert Fleet Advisors about how you can save your fleet time and money with telematics-based fleet maintenance management. You can also get our guide on How To Reduce Fleet Maintenance Costs With GPS Fleet Tracking.

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