Cutting downtime with SRM technology

Last fall, more than two dozen U.S.-based fleet maintenance supervisors and service managers took part in a survey conducted by Service Relationship Management (SRM) platform provider Decisiv (www.decisiv.com) about downtime associated with unscheduled maintenance and repair events.

This survey revealed that across internal and external shops, wrench time for service or repair work was on average just 16 percent of the entire cycle time. In other words, nearly 84 percent of the process involved tracking down documents; waiting for input, feedback or approvals; and entering data into multiple systems.

Clearly, there is much to be gained by more effectively managing the service event process rather than just focusing on the time associated with the actual repair.

SRM technology, which provides timely access to people and content at the point of service, streamlines maintenance and repair activity. This eliminates unnecessary downtime while also integrating with existing warranty, parts, dealer, business management and fleet maintenance systems to minimize organizational change.

PROCESS AUTOMATION

Automating processes associated with inspection, maintenance and repair programs is key to eliminating downtime. That is one reason Volvo Trucks North America (www.volvotrucks.com/trucks/na/en-us) and Mack Trucks (www.macktrucks.com) are now putting QR (Quick Response) codes on new vehicles.

The unique matrix codes enable almost any mobile device to automatically, quickly and easily check-in a vehicle and launch OE- or customer-specific inspections and build a service case with operations and parts based on specific inspection failures.

DEPLOYMENT BY SAIA

Recently, LTL carrier Saia (www.saiacorp.com) began deploying QR codes on 17,000 tractors, trailers, converter dollies and forklifts at its 36 shops and three trailer yards. The codes are being used with MVASIST (Mack/Volvo Automated Service Initiation System), the SRM platform developed by Decisiv.

"Our technicians are now using iPad tablet computers to scan QR codes on vehicles and access and conduct pre-loaded inspections," says Charles Rozelle, regional maintenance manager at Saia's shop in Dallas, TX. "The QR codes take away the possibility of data entry errors, and by automatically transferring inspection results via a Wi-Fi network to the shop, we can instantly see if service or repairs are needed.

"The platform also gives us easy access to inspection histories for DOT and internal use."

ANY TYPE OF EQUIPMENT

The QR codes being applied to Saia's equipment can be used on any type of commercial asset, says Dick Hyatt, president of Decisiv. The application also allows service technicians to add odometer readings to trigger and send pending preventive maintenance operations and simultaneously send any operations based on inspection results to shop personnel and the parts counter so they can be ready when a truck arrives in a service bay.

QR codes are also in use with the MVASIST version of the SRM platform at Mack Trucks and with the newly renamed WheelTime LINQ nationwide customer service platform at the network's nearly 200 North American locations. WheelTime (www.wheeltime.com) is an organization that offers service support training facilities, service centers, mobile repair services and on-site truck care.

TIME SAVINGS

"Using QR codes is a significant time savings for our service writers and diagnostic technicians," says Bryan Best, service advisor at Smith Power Products, a WheelTime group member. "On average, four to seven minutes is the combined check-in and job creation time per vehicle. When you are checking in 20 vehicles before lunch, the time savings by using the QR codes can be as much as three minutes per vehicle."

That reduction in downtime from using SRM technology can add up quickly, notes Decisiv's Hyatt. Increasing the efficiency of the entire service and repair process go a long way toward reaching the goal of continuous maintenance improvement.

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