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Unlocking Value through Connected Maintenance Solutions

While current economic pressures tighten margins for truck carriers, it’s more important than ever for fleets to run as smoothly and with as much uptime as possible. Connected maintenance activities that enable the seamless flow of information between assets, back office, and maintenance operations can prove crucial to streamlining maintenance workflows, reducing unexpected breakdowns and increasing utilization.

At the 2022 Insight Tech Conference + Expo, a group of four experienced Trimble customers and partners from industry-leading organizations joined a panel session moderated by Mike Keus, Trimble’s vice president of asset maintenance, to discuss their experience with Trimble’s fleet maintenance solutions, the value it brings to their companies and stakeholders, and more.

With more than 120 collective years of experience among the panelists, they dove into how connected maintenance improves efficiency and visibility for all parties involved, enables dynamic planning and re-planning, and more.

Reducing Inefficiencies

Running a successful trucking operation through rising fuel prices, equipment and labor shortages, and more, requires companies to find efficiencies wherever possible, including maintenance.

“Everything that we're talking about here just drives efficiency to the bottom line,” said Steve Grover, vice president of IT at Knight.

Connected maintenance greatly improves efficiency, cutting the overall workload in about half, allowing companies to fully utilize their current staff without scrambling to hire in a tight market. As Trimble’s Mike Keus shared, everyone is trying to do more with less.

“There's so much waste, and so much inefficiency,” said Brian Mulshine, director of digital service delivery, at Navistar. “The majority of the maintenance systems in shops don’t have the most robust integrations, and certainly aren’t platform-based.”

To address these inefficiencies, Trimble is working to enable its maintenance solution to connect with in-cab, back-office and third party provider technology to create workflows that automatically detect over-the-road service events. This allows maintenance and repairs to be dynamically scheduled in collaboration with the driver, fleet maintenance manager, dispatch and operations managers, and the service provider. Repairs can then be more efficiently executed over-the-road, while providing full visibility and collaboration between all parties and enabling dynamic planning and re-planning.

“We see a lot of opportunities particularly around recalls and campaigns,” Grover added. “To be able to, within my TMT software, click a button and have that process all happen on the back end… there’s great opportunities and synergies.”

Connected maintenance activities can also provide more proactive insights, reducing the number of unplanned repair events.

“We need actionable, asset-specific knowledge, so when we submit a repair order, we know it’s the right thing to do,” said Mark Ulrich, director of customer support for North America field sales and support at Cummins, Inc. “We use that data with the models to create it, and with those models, we can provide those at the specific insights that our customers can trust. And in doing so, we are taking unplanned events and turning it into planned.”

Standardization Could Be “Huge”

Mulshine and Homer Hogg, vice president of truck service at TravelCenters of America, shared more about an ATA Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) Service Provider study group they are serving on, which is working to find ways to improve maintenance and business processes between equipment users, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM)s and service providers.

“We’re working on uptime through digital exchange,” explained Hogg, who is the officer of the study group. “It’s a huge project. We’re trying to develop a standard so we all have the same approach, and we’re looking at the same data in the same way. There are a lot of moving pieces here – it’s not just as simple as just putting together a dashboard.”

Security is also something the task force is closely considering, Hogg added, in order to ensure the right people are seeing only the data they need to see.

“That's just the way I see this vision,” Mulshine added. “If we don't have a standard, the fleet management system providers and the dealer management systems cannot connect the nomenclature. They have to have digitalization.”

Working Together

Working across the industry with integration partners, OEMs and other providers is absolutely critical to standardizing connected maintenance workflow, the panel agreed.

Trimble’s Mike Keus likened this cross-industry partnership to the partnership Trimble has formed with Microsoft.

“Over at Trimble, we realize that we have to have a highly secure and extremely scalable system, and we couldn’t do that ourselves. We partnered with Microsoft and built out a platform strategy,” Keus explained.

With multiple players involved, ensuring the security of connected maintenance activities is key. Trimble and its partners have prioritized building an ecosystem customers can trust and partnering with Microsoft has been a key component of that effort.

Key Takeaways

Overall, the panelists are banking on connected maintenance changing how the transportation industry looks at repairs, reducing costs throughout the workflow, cutting out waste and inefficiency.

From a value perspective, connected maintenance activities and standardized data exchange can streamline workflows, improve efficiency and increase the bottom line. Technology is revolutionizing the way business is done across industries, including transportation.

While everyone is facing challenges with labor shortages, inflation and supply chain constraints, Trimble and its partners shared that they have the opportunity to maximize resources and bring transportation into the future through connected maintenance.

To learn more about Trimble’s fleet maintenance solutions, click here.