The right telematics system is the backbone of an integrated fleet maintenance and inspection program
Your safety program is critical to ensuring your people drive and operate your equipment in the safest manner possible and to mitigating the safety-related risks to your company. Your fleet inspection and maintenance program, meanwhile, is just as important when it comes to keeping your vehicles and equipment in service, ensuring your customers are happy, and driving profitability.
But – unlike safety – you may not think of inspection and maintenance in terms of an integrated program for fleets. Many companies don’t get all the inspection data they need out of their fleet, and even if they do, they don’t use that data as proactively as possible to manage their fleet's maintenance and keep their equipment operating at an optimal level and their customers happy.
The right telematics system can help you access, aggregate, and share inspection data across your entire fleet – even if it’s a mixed fleet – and link that data stream to your fleet maintenance software to better manage service and repairs, minimize unplanned downtime, and compile a complete service record for each of your individual assets.
But how do you know if you have, or are considering, the right telematics system?
Start with these questions:
Is fleet inspection automated? Pre- and post-trip or usage inspections are still done manually by drivers and operators in many companies. While vehicle inspection may be a required job task, human behavior can intervene, meaning that inspections are either rushed or incomplete. Automated inspections via telematics can provide a more reliable and thorough inspection by removing or minimizing the human element. And when the system can capture data from hardware installed on all types of assets across your fleet, you can conduct automated inspections on all your vehicles and assets and view that data in one place.
Can fleet vehicle inspections be customized? From having the right hardware for all your equipment to being able to build custom fleet inspection forms or checklists, customization is the key to having an inspection solution that truly fits your needs. Unfortunately, many telematics systems either aren’t customizable or offer very limited customization options. The result, in many cases, is that companies end up with multiple systems to get the full breadth of inspection data on their fleets. With the right system, however, all the needed inspection data is accessible through a single platform with fleet maintenance software.
Does the provider utilize third-party tools? While they may not disclose it, many telematics vendors offer solutions provided by third parties. Inspection is a capability that is often provided by someone else other than the primary vendor. This can potentially cause issues, including a lack of clarity around who provides technical support, the inability to integrate the capability seamlessly into your telematics ecosystem, and even the use of different terminology than you use in your inspections, which can lead to confusion and inaccuracies.
Can inspection and maintenance be integrated? When it comes to fleet and vehicle inspection and maintenance, the real magic is in the ability to integrate them into a seamless preventative maintenance program, in which inspection informs maintenance. With the right telematics system, your fleet inspection data stream is connected with your fleet maintenance tracking software to easily schedule needed repairs and preventative maintenance, log service or repair completion, and compile service records for the vehicles and equipment that can help maximize returns when the equipment is sold.
Making Integration Possible
Inspection and maintenance for your fleet of vehicles and assets should be viewed – and managed – as intertwined activities. But to bring them together into a true fleet inspection and maintenance program, you must have the right data, the right telematics system, and, as the above questions make clear, the right information.