Fleets looking for a better way to streamline their computing infrastructure are finding it in off-premise, third-party hosting. And, one third-party hosting application experiencing widespread deployment is fleet maintenance software.
Current advances in fleet maintenance software and computing technology are delivering a more workable, streamlined, affordable platform. Adoption means improved efficiencies, timely upgrades, redundancies along with unparalleled uptime.
Fleets of all sizes and business models are realizing significant systemwide gains. Those gains are coming in the form of cost recovery, overhead reduction and critical security as companies adapt to a rapidly changing transportation and logistics market.
Fleets are finding they can better manage their in-house operations and streamline connectivity with outside service providers.
Bundling software and hardware solutions presents an excellent opportunity to transition from an on-premises system to an open, active, third-party hosted maintenance solution. Synchronizing every reporting level of the maintenance operation generates measurable time- and cost-savings systemwide.
Here are three reasons why local, regional and national carriers with varying tractor counts are migrating to third-party, hosted maintenance technology.
1. Fleet maintenance technology is affordable
According to a 2019 study by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), the third-highest vehicle operating cost per mile is repair and maintenance. Those costs include:
Repair and maintenance
Yet only repair and maintenance (R&M) has a direct effect on vehicle performance and higher potential for fleet control.
A modern maintenance solution provides high-level information processing, storage and reporting on an open, accessible, highly secure platform. Deploying the solution creates efficiencies in real-time and more rapid response to cost control. And with cloud-based hosting, licensed software resides on the internet and provides 99.5% or greater performance, security and flexibility.
With the introduction of software and hardware bundling—Software as a Service (SaaS) and Hardware as a Service (HaaS)—fleets can effectively outsource their entire maintenance computing infrastructure.
Essentially, SaaS resides on a hosted server, delivered over the internet, permitting ready access to a range of customized applications based on user need. It operates above the traditional in-house application server and is maintained as a proprietary system, continually updated and supported externally.
As a result, a fleet’s SaaS platform delivers high-level performance backed by multiple layers of redundancy through a network of co-mingled servers. Daily backups and upgrades are performed for the fleet—a level of security that virtually eliminates the risk inherent with an on-premise maintenance solution.
By migrating to a SaaS platform, users avoid continual reinvestment in software and/or hardware, along with system maintenance and upgrades. Bundling takes care of that for a convenient monthly fee.
2. Technology ups uptime
A third-party system not only secures fleet maintenance data, it facilitates vehicle uptime as downtime becomes increasingly costly.
Nowhere does downtime have more immediate and unexpected impact than roadside breakdowns. A survey by the Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) and FleetNet America found that, in 2018, fleets averaged 10,000 miles between breakdowns.
Breakdown costs add up fast considering roadside callout/tow charges, and third-party labor rates considerably higher than home-shop repair. Plus, towing events are increasing due to the added complexity of newer vehicles.
Factor in higher parts pricing due to tariffs, shortage of certified technicians, longer repair times and the added complexity of newer equipment and it’s easy to see why the average repair cost increased 24% in 2019 over 2018 according to recent TMC findings.
Cloud-based and SaaS-based fleet maintenance technology provides an array of software and workstation tools to manage today’s more complex parts inventory, track warranty claims and report every internal and external R&M event by VIN—which makes everybody’s job easier.
For example, techs no longer have to visit a central kiosk on the shop floor to access actionable data. They simply carry a tablet. Drivers and road techs have ready access on their mobile devices.
As new features are rolled into the system and more vehicle specifications are populated at the OEM level, uptime management is enhanced.
Moreover, as OEMs build maintenance modeling into onboard circuitry, notes and alerts can be uploaded to the cloud and seamlessly integrated into the maintenance platform, further reducing downtime.
3. Fleet maintenance software is relevant now
Maintenance technology is becoming increasingly valuable as transport and delivery models change to expedite burgeoning e-commerce.
Since 2011, the transport industry has experienced a marked increase in trips of 500 miles or less according to a 2019 study by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI). Many of those, start-and-stop miles in urban traffic, increasing wear and tear no matter the age of the equipment.
Fleets that keep equipment longer to offset other costs are deploying paperless online technology to better utilize a preventive/predictive maintenance model to reduce downtime and extend in-service intervals.
Likewise, advanced maintenance technology repays fleets that turn equipment frequently to stay within OEM warranties, but still face rising R&M costs due to component sophistication and higher labor costs for certified technicians. It can also support the growing use of alternative-fuel vehicles (CNG, LNG, electric), their specialized maintenance protocols and component inventories.
Discover how Trimble can help you optimize fleet maintenance
Overall, fleets are deploying modern maintenance-centered technology because it is affordable, it provides uptime security, and it is more relevant to how they operate today.
Everyday, Trimble is helping fleets just like yours utilize fleet maintenance technology to improve vehicle performance and uptime. Learn more about how agricultural hauler Brink Farms tracks repair costs and reaps other benefits using current technology.