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Making The Move To Predictive Maintenance

Vehicle maintenance is a universal language in the transportation industry, or at least it used to be. For decades preventative maintenance has been, and continues to be, the predominant maintenance philosophy. As more technology is available to fleet managers, and millions of points of data flow into fleet management tools, a shift is occurring.

Improvements in technology and real-time data have streamlined how we gather and respond to a host of common fleet management challenges. Maintenance is simply the next domino to fall.

The days of waiting for a code to pop up, or a dashboard light to grab the attention of the driver are long gone. With modern telematics, fleets can now take a more proactive approach, keeping vehicles running longer, all while driving down maintenance costs.

Predictive maintenance is here to stay, the only question is are you ready to improve your fleet maintenance program?

Predictive vs Preventative Maintenance

When you look at predictive versus preventative maintenance from a 50,000-foot view, the goal is the same – to keep vehicles moving and costs down. While both have the same end goal, the approach and how each achieves this are very different.

The preventative maintenance model hasn’t changed for decades. Specific intervals, based on OEM specs, determine when certain maintenance items are addressed on each vehicle in your fleet. For example, having your DPF filter cleaned and baked should occur around 400,000 miles.

With a preventative maintenance program, you run the risk of these maintenance items wearing down well before their recommended mileage for replacement. Take a look at the DPF issues that plagued International Prostars a few years ago. While parts can fail on their own, driving conditions and driver behavior also impact how quickly wear and tear occurs.

Things like road salt, used during the winter months, can build up and prematurely deteriorate brake lines, suspension, and more.

It is also important to consider that when new vehicles enter your fleet, you may have fifteen units of the same make and model, that will require the same maintenance items to be addressed near the same time. Not only does it cost more, but it also becomes a logistical nightmare as your business scales.

The result - increased repair costs and lost revenue.

Predictive maintenance is the next evolution of preventative maintenance with data leading the way. Predictive is exactly what it claims to be – predictive. Rather than relying solely on set intervals, minute changes in data can trigger alerts allowing you to get out in front of the problem before it renders a vehicle inoperable.

This allows the driver and fleet manager to work proactively to avoid unnecessary downtime or delayed deliveries. Vehicles can easily be routed to a shop, and drivers can be armed with the knowledge of exactly which codes or issues need to be addressed.

Maintenance issues are simply part of the game, but by being proactive, problems can be resolved before they escalate.

4 Reasons To Adopt A Predictive Maintenance Program

As more fleets look at incorporating data-driven decision-making into the maintenance process, the benefits quickly add up. Here are four things that will immediately be impacted should you choose to move to a predictive maintenance model.

Increased Vehicle Uptime

Keeping vehicles moving is good for business, whether you are running an OTR fleet or a mixed fleet of public works vehicles. Predictive maintenance allows you to get out in front of issues before they grow.

The fact is – smaller repairs require less shop time. Taking a couple of hours to address a small issue is significantly better than seeing a vehicle go down for a week, or more, due to a larger one.

Reduced Maintenance Costs

Over the past couple of years, the transportation industry has been hammered by a lack of parts availability, driving maintenance costs through the roof. When problems can be addressed on your timeline, you can have parts ordered and ready to go, rather than being at the mercy of the shop with little option available.

The unplanned maintenance pieces are the ones that quickly add up. A truck that was just in the shop, is suddenly back in for an unknown reason. That not only costs time and money, but it impacts revenue streams and impacts your freight partnerships.

Lower Total Cost Of Ownership

Properly maintained vehicles are more efficient. Wear and tear is inevitable, but as maintenance items come up and are addressed in real-time, it keeps everything running smoothly.

Items like fuel efficiency can suffer greatly when maintenance is neglected. The more efficient your fleet, the less it will cost you to operate your business overall.

Longer Vehicle Lifespan

New trucks have been hard to come by over the last few years, forcing fleet managers to get extra life out of their vehicles. While production is slowly returning to normal, many are seeing the benefit of getting an extra year or two out of their fleet vehicles. With predictive maintenance, major breakdowns are less common, allowing you to lengthen your fleet's buying cycle.

One of the biggest benefits of this is that it provides flexibility for your fleet. If interest rates move up or down, you are not at the mercy of the market. You can simply weather the storm and wait for a window where it makes more fiscal sense to upgrade your fleet.

Predictive Maintenance With Argos

Predictive maintenance isn’t a magic bullet, but it can revolutionize the way that your fleet manages maintenance across the entire organization. There is still a place for preventative maintenance, but the fact is the benefits of a predictive model are only going to continue to grow.

At Argos, we know the importance of a well-rounded maintenance program. Our strategic partnerships with platforms such as Geotab and Uptake, allow us to build a maintenance strategy that is unique to your fleet. Connect with our team to learn more, and see why having a data-driven maintenance program is right for your fleet.

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