Maintenance Outlook Report

Insights into what the near future may hold for vehicle maintenance


Fleet maintenance software will be the hub for accessing an individual unit’s data and reporting the fleet’s cumulative data, compliances and other relevant statuses.

Government regulatory compliance is going to be especially difficult for the 34 percent of fleets that still use only pencil and paper for maintenance documentation or keep no records at all. The future requirements and attached penalties for non-compliance will drive these fleets to either comply or go out of business.

GENERIC SOFTWARE

The ongoing survey on our website shows fewer than 44 percent of fleets use software specifically designed for fleet maintenance management. More than 16 percent have reported that they use generic, off-the-shelf software, such as Word, Excel, or Access, while 6 percent use a module of their company’s accounting, purchasing or payroll systems.

Those off-the-shelf programs and make-due modules of other systems, excellent though they might be for generic use, simply cannot adequately perform the scheduling and recordkeeping or produce the reports that fleets will increasingly need.

One thing is for certain, and that is, in today’s challenging economy they won’t be able to do this too much longer. If they don’t do something to better control their fleet, they will be forced to either liquidate their fleet through a full service leasing arrangement, go to common carrier or find some other method of product delivery, and they won’t be alone.

It never ceases to amaze me that even in 2011, regardless of how big or recognizable the brand name might be on the front of the building, many of these company’s fleets, large and small, are still managed by little more than the seat of their pants and a No. 2 pencil.

The Star Trek programs may have looked unbelievable and even silly 40 or more years ago, but its vision of technology is considered commonplace today. The future holds great promise for those willing to get ahead of the curve and take action today.

Service Management Processes

By Dick Hyatt, President, Decisiv

Decisiv is the provider of the Decisiv Service Management platform, an advanced web-based technology that links fleets, manufacturers and dealers, distributor and roadside assistance networks, parts and service providers, and business and management systems. www.decisiv.com.

In the fast-paced world of fleet maintenance, where fleet managers are responsible for holding the line against downtime and keeping costs in check, an accurate, consistent and comprehensive means of communications is essential to reach higher levels of efficiency.

Vehicle service management platforms are evolving to address this need.

Many people in our industry talk about conflict resolution - how to clean up the mess created by an inefficient process.

We think it’s important to talk about conflict avoidance – how to facilitate greater control over the service process. This leads to lower costs, improved efficiency and productivity and a positive service experience for all involved.

VOICE COMMUNICATIONS

One culprit is relying on voice communications. The telephone simply won’t get the job done. Fleet maintenance managers are finding that basic voice communications has many flaws:

  • Wasted time is spent “on hold.”
  • Missed calls and waiting for return calls delays receiving information needed to move ahead.
  • We’re all human. We like to talk and ask about each other, the weather and other everyday things, but non-essential information can waste valuable time if you’re under the gun to get something done.
  • Interruptions from co-workers, employees and other customers can make completing a critical call difficult.
  • A lack of context. When only one party has all the information needed for the discussion when the call is made, the other party is left trying to catch up so they can provide an accurate response, and more often than not, needing to return the call later once the information is located.
  • Voice communications do not have a record. They leave no trail, or a poorly marked one at best.

From our standpoint, the objective is clear. There is the need to develop vehicle service management platforms that allow fleet maintenance personnel to communicate more effectively.

We Recommend