Embedded technology can help


Today’s vehicles and equipment have embedded electronics and technology that offer opportunities to improve the way work trucks are designed and managed, according to the director of fleet relations for NTEA, the Association for the Work Truck Industry, Bob Johnson.

For example, data that can be retrieved from vehicle powertrain control modules can be useful both in vehicle maintenance and in helping fleet managers design better, more efficient replacement vehicles, he says.

With vehicle telematics, fleets can get real-time information on how their trucks are performing and can use that information to define individual vehicle drive cycles, he continues. The GPS tracking and geo-fencing features associated with telematics systems can be used to improve the operational efficiency of a fleet and to reduce fuel consumption, both of which directly help the bottom line.

Telematics systems can also be used to influence driver behavior.



Moreover, technology makes it possible to track replacement parts that go into a vehicle; a vehicle’s mileage and/or number of operating hours accumulated between failures; vendor part numbers for replacement parts; and maintenance labor costs, says Johnson. This data gives fleets the ability to:

- Accurately track failures by vehicle make and model.

- Track failures by both application and operating environment.

- Determine the mean time between failures for various components, tracked by vendor, part number and operational conditions.

- Optimize replacement parts inventory.

- Establish an accurate predictive maintenance program.

- Easily and accurately track maintenance costs by specific vehicle, make and model.

This information can then be used to further optimize vehicle specifications and make better purchasing decisions for chassis, vehicle-mounted equipment and replacement parts, he says.