Think prescheduling

In the world of transportation, we all know that every second counts. Anyone who has turned a wrench or managed a breakdown event knows that speed and quality don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand in the world of equipment maintenance.

These are the challenges that those who manage breakdowns face every day.

One area that can help a breakdown manager strike that healthy balance between speed and quality is prescheduling service work. Whether calling ahead, arranging service online or even using a smart phone, scheduling a piece of equipment into a service location can save valuable time.


Programs such as eShop, an exclusive TA/Petro software program that allows service work to be scheduled ahead of time, can make a significant difference in wait time.

Prescheduling can work to the breakdown team’s advantage in many different situations.

For instance, a driver may be an hour away from the closest service center. While it is easy to just instruct the driver to call in when he/she arrives at the service center, prescheduling the work could make the process more efficient.

Why wait for the driver to arrive at the site when the service center could be called and the driver put in the service line?

Prescheduling work allows the driver to absorb his wait time while driving, allowing that unit to be productive while facing an unfortunate breakdown situation.


How about planned maintenance like oil changes or tire replacements? This area is a great example of the strengths of preplanning and prescheduling.

Planned maintenance can easily be scheduled into a service bay over the road when it cannot be completed at a home terminal.

Preventive maintenance should never be taken lightly. If one fitting goes ungreased, or one nut gets improperly torqued, a breakdown manager may end up needing to spend longer at a future service appointment.

This is why it’s vital to think ahead and schedule preventive maintenance service before it is due.

If a time window is identified as open, and a PM is due, why not put the driver in line, even days in advance? That kind of preplanning can save breakdown managers and drivers time and stress on the road.


A proper prescheduling tool can also prove to be effective on a road call.

With smart phone technologies and GPS tracking, sending a work order through a smart phone can prove to be even more effective than a simple phone call.

By typing in basic information and the possible problem area, simply hitting the “submit” button can send a wealth of information to programs like Road Squad - TA/Petro’s 24/7/365 emergency roadside service - which can pinpoint and track the exact location of a piece of equipment, call the downed unit’s driver and be on site with the proper parts and tools.

Whether planned or unplanned, breakdown events do happen. Prescheduling tools provide optimum efficiency in quality service allowing breakdown managers and drivers to maintain productivity while quickly recovering from a PM or service event.

Mark DeLima, Jr. is the shop fleet sales, eShop manager, for TravelCenters of America, a leading travel center business in 41 states and Canada operating under the TA and Petro Stopping Centers brands.