7 Myths of Fleet Predictive Maintenance, Debunked
02 September 2022
Read time: 4 min
Introducing Predictive Maintenance
Predictive Maintenance (PdM) is described as a fleet maintenance strategy to assess the state of in-use equipment and forecast when repairs should be performed rather than according to a predetermined timetable (preventative). Adding Predictive Maintenance into your operational workflow is powerful at boosting uptime, lowering operating and maintenance costs, and eliminating unexpected on-the-road breakdowns.
Why then, are some businesses still reluctant to move to predictive maintenance? The key to the solution is the discrepancy between how predictive maintenance is often understood and how contemporary predictive maintenance technology and procedures really work. Here are the top myths Pitstop found, debunked:
1. It’s expensive
In the past predictive maintenance was restricted to certain industries such as aviation engineering and sectors involving the use of heavy machinery. At the time, this specialized technology was expensive. However, with economies of scale, the trucking industry’s accessibility and booming flow of data, as well as general technological innovations and improvements, predictive maintenance software can cost as little as $5 per truck per month! For a 50-vehicle-sized fleet, that comes out to $8 per day (the cost of a Starbucks drink!).
2. Predictive maintenance is overly complex and time-consuming
Traditional data analytic system users frequently need a high level of knowledge to interpret raw data. “What is wrong with my truck, why did it happen, and how can I fix it?” These are common questions for many fleets, and that raw data is just a means to an end. Moving away from excel sheets can seem scary, as you can control and customize the data better. However, PdMs can do the work for you! There are ground-breaking solutions available that don’t require you to be an expert. Instead of relying on expert-reliant raw data, these solutions leverage machine learning and automated diagnostics to clean up raw, messy real-world data and give managers useful and actionable insights tailored to your fleet’s unique needs. In addition, a good predictive maintenance software will avoid data overload and provide informed recommendations.
3. It’s a pain to implement
If you’ve ever been in charge of maintenance on your fleet, you’ve probably seen a scenario where a solution appears to be a perfect match, but putting it into practice may be challenging. Predictive maintenance software automatically sends drivers notifications to report issues based on priority, allowing managers to plan maintenance visits more strategically and efficiently. As a result, it’s never been more seamless for managers and drivers to communicate, act on truck issue alerts, and resolve issues in their day-to-day operations. This simplicity of use allows predictive maintenance software to be successfully implemented internally.
4. The technology isn’t reliable
Vehicle sensors are incredibly more sensitive than human body sensors. Your driver may have spotted the issue, but wouldn’t you have preferred to know weeks, if not months, sooner and had solid evidence to back up your claim? Some of the best predictive maintenance technologies will have above 95% accuracy in predicting truck failures. Pitstop’s predictive maintenance solution was tested against some of the leading OEMs, and our predicted failure signals were shown to be more accurate.
5. “Doing it once a year is fine”
“I run a benchmark test once a year—I’m doing predictive maintenance.” That is not entirely correct. To truly embrace Predictive Maintenance and get its benefits, you must regularly re-assess your maintenance strategy. You’re in the business of collecting occasional data and benchmarking once a year. Based on a single data set every year, you cannot expect to make strategic judgments about your fleet vehicles and overall operation.
6. Preventive Maintenance is easier
It is not easy to make emergency repairs and unneeded work depending on miles driven or predetermined periods. It’s even worse when part shortages delay getting your trucks back on the road. Predictive maintenance involves paying more automated attention to the individual maintenance requirements of each asset as well as signs such as wear and tear. There will be no doubt about when you will be due for maintenance again because you don’t have to worry about under or over-maintenance. Maintenance can be postponed for trucks not utilized as often, resulting in less downtime than time-based preventative maintenance.
7. Predictive maintenance software will completely change my management strategy
Adopting predictive maintenance software doesn’t have to override your current management processes completely. Instead, it can complement it. A good predictive maintenance software is flexible and tailors to the unique needs of your fleet, fitting alongside regular maintenance schedules and workflows. Organizations may demonstrate success and identify obstacles that will make the switch for the rest of the company more successful by carrying out a pilot program.
Predictive maintenance in action
One beverage distribution company with a fleet of 120 heavy-duty vehicles went from manually updating spreadsheets to efficiently automating their maintenance flow. Read how they successfully integrated a predictive maintenance technology into their current operations, averting many on-road breakdowns that would have cost $5000 per year in this case study.