Combining preventive maintenance with telematics translates into savings and safety for your fleet.
One of the main areas telematics is known for impacting is fleet maintenance—with a variety of innovative strategies.
“Since we have a shop’s geofence, we can monitor the vehicles that are actually in the shops,” says Don Woods, Director of Client Information Systems at ARI. “If a vehicle has a preventive maintenance cycle that’s supposedly five months or six months, we can see if that car has entered a garage in that period and start flagging the fact if they haven’t had preventive maintenance done.
“Preventive maintenance is a huge predictor of spikes in cost—if you don’t get your preventive maintenance done, you see lots of costs later on.”
Utilization is a factor in wear and tear. “Telematics can tell you how often a driver has slammed on the brakes in the form of harsh braking alerts,” says Woods. ARI has developed a driver scorecard to weigh certain events and uses a weighting system to evaluate drivers. “Many companies will introduce a program to share that risk with the drivers to show where they rate against their peers.
“The gamification of the scorecard lifts the whole level of all the drivers so they’re paying attention,” says Woods. “Sometimes they’ll reward drivers who are doing well.”
It’s also an opportunity for driver managers to provide coaching opportunities. “If a driver has had many harsh braking events, they’re not only putting wear and tear on the vehicle, but also putting people at risk,” says Woods. “If drivers trigger a certain event, they may be assigned online training regarding that event. We create those modules based on a customer’s needs tied to the telematics devices.”
Telematics can also assist with avoiding downtime. “Keeping vehicles on the road is very important,” says Woods. “Sometimes, a vehicle will go in for service and linger in the shop for various reasons. Perhaps there’s no urgency in the shop to get it done, or a driver has gotten a rental which is nicer than their vehicle so they’re slow to pick up their original vehicle. That costs the company money.”
Each of ARI’s network of 60,000 garages throughout the U.S. and Canada is geofenced, so when a vehicle on a telematics program is driven in, they get an indication of where it is and when it’s down for service. “Being able to monitor that downtime is really important, especially for large, complex fleets,” says Woods.
Since telematics can pull trouble codes, if a check engine light comes on, fleet managers will know right away. “If a vehicle goes into service, we’ll be able to see that,” says Wayne Rose, senior vice president, Jim Pattison Lease. “It gives you everything that you can pull from an OBD-II port. It can tell you anything that’s wrong with the vehicle.
“Even when the shop calls us, we already know what the trouble code is, without having to wait for them to tell us.”