It's Best When Everyone Is Talking The Same Lingo

Webster’s dictionary defines efficient as “performing or functioning in the best possible manner with the least waste of time and effort.” Can you honestly say your maintenance department is functioning efficiently? Are there areas you need to improve? Have you tried just about everything with limited results? Have you tried Vehicle Maintenance Reporting Standards (VMRS)?

VMRS was developed as a communication tool for maintenance professionals. It sets the standard for communicating maintenance information within a service organization.

VMRS brings clarity and direction to any maintenance facility. It contains precise codes that can be used for benchmarking and tracking any type of repair while defining repair functions in a user friendly format that can be used by any maintenance facility. VMRS puts everyone on the same page, playing the same notes in harmony.



The VMRS codes help eliminate the need for extensive written communication with all the inherent problems normally associated with the written word. The coding structure encompasses most equipment found within today’s transportation activities including trucks, tractors, trailers, forklifts, shop equipment, off-road and utility vehicles.

The flow of maintenance information starts with the technician. He or she is the first step in collecting the correct data.

In order for a fleet to operate smoothly the data must be precise and the repair order complete. If the wrong information is collected on the repair order, eventually the wrong information will end up as being factual. Using VMRS takes the guesswork out of collecting maintenance repair data.

VMRS brings continuity to any type of repair. VMRS is organized into Code Keys. These are data sets of individual codes that describe a given maintenance function. This makes filling out a repair order a much simpler task.

The codes are a brief description of labor tasks and parts that make it easy for a technician to choose the proper work that was performed.



It should be noted that VMRS is much more than numbers. It’s a standard method of recording daily maintenance operations.

A technician’s task is repairing equipment not dwelling on or filling out complicated repair orders. VMRS can help speed up the process, plus assist any maintenance facility in reaching its full potential and profitability.

Fleets using VMRS have a standard by which they can analyze their entire maintenance operation and costs, including historical data. VMRS can pinpoint areas of excess expense and premature failure, increasing efficiency and equipment utilization. It also enables benchmarking of equipment experience, expenses and the overall performance of the maintenance department.

Furthermore, VMRS provides a sound basis for budget preparation and forecasting based on fleet mix, projected utilization and historic performance. It helps control costs by providing detailed records of where monies where spent and at which point in the life of a piece of equipment repairs where performed.

VMRS also helps a fleet in determining the effectiveness of their PM program. Are PMs performed too often or not often enough? Should PM intervals be modified based on specific failures reported through true maintenance reporting and not on anecdotal information?

Any size fleet can benefit by implementing VMRS into their daily maintenance routine. VMRS codes help track labor distribution covering both direct and indirect labor. Plus, VMRS provides complete details as to parts usage, identifying which part should be inventoried and which should be procured on an “as needed” basis.



VMRS is licensed exclusively by the TMC. There several ways a fleet can get started using VMRS. First and foremost is to contact the staff at TMC to discuss your maintenance needs.

We highly recommend discussing VMRS prior to any decision making, as it will make the implementation go much smoother. Many people have preconceived notions about VMRS and a discussion with the TMC staff will help dispel any wrong ideas.

VMRS creates a single process to document when, why and how maintenance is performed on equipment. It will improve parts inventory control and identify where money is spent. VMRS provides a logical, easy-to-use maintenance language that ties together all the operational information a fleet needs.

The power of VMRS is its ability to connect all parties within the equipment repair ecosystem. VMRS has been a powerful tool for over 35 years and continues to evolve to keep maintenance departments as efficient as possible.



How many different ways can a technician describe tasks on a repair order? As many ways as there are technicians. That’s why it can be difficult to extract consistent data from vehicle repair orders to generate maintenance cost reports.

VMRS simplifies the process by ensuring industry standard codes are used to alpha-numerically describe maintenance functions consistently and accurately. For example, consider the following alphanumeric characters and Code Keys: 03 043-001-053 FRGHT 64 01 02 01.

03 - Shows that the work has been done with a replaced or new part.

043-00-503 - This is the Component Code. The first three numbers define a system on a piece of equipment. In this case, 043 is the exhaust system. The second three digits represent the assembly within a given system; 001 is the exhaust aftertreatment device. The complete nine-digit number is the exact component, in this case the diesel particulate filter.

FRGHT - Indicates that the piece of equipment is a Freightliner.

64 - Designates the filter was plugged.

01 - Specifies a breakdown.

02 - Denotes a non-scheduled repair.

01 - Shows the repair facility.

To find out more about VMRS, contact me at 703-838-7928 or


Jack Poster is VMRS services manager for the Technology & Maintenance Council of the American Trucking Associations. He has worked in the transportation industry for more then 30 years, beginning at his family-owned Chrysler-Plymouth agency in Western Pennsylvania. He later went to work for Merchant’s Tire & Auto and then took a position with Mancon Inc., a parts procurement firm for the Virginia Department of Transportation. In 2007, he became TMC’s caretaker of the VMRS coding convention, working with fleets, OEMs, software firms and all users of VMRS to ensure the integrity of the codes.