Simplify Reporting with VMRS & Predictive Maintenance

Simplify Reporting with Vehicle Maintenance Reporting Standards (VMRS) & Predictive Maintenance

16 November 2022

Read time: 5 min

Pitstop Supports Major VMRS Code Keys

The History of VMRS

The Vehicle Maintenance Reporting Standards (VMRS) is an integral part of most fleet maintenance management software systems. The American Trucking Association (ATA) created VMRS in the 1970s as a standard communication tool within the fleet community between the fleets and OEMs. It is now maintained by the Technology and Maintenance Council (TMC) within ATA. It has been updated over the years as vehicle component profiles have changed across the industry. As a result, VMRS is now adopted by the vast majority of fleets operating all Classes of vehicles across numerous transportation industries, despite initially being implemented for heavy-duty vehicles primarily in the trucking industry.

What is VRMS?

In a nutshell, VMRS is a well-established coding convention (like area codes and zip codes) that offers a universal communication channel for describing the nature of a repair or maintenance service in a shop facility, such as what service was done and why it was done. It is a universal maintenance language that enables fleet management to produce reports easily,  look for trends, and conduct cost and reliability analyses. This standard transcends all types of anecdotal information. By implementing VMRS, all parties involved in fleet asset maintenance—including drivers, service writers, technicians, accountants, and board members—will be “speaking the same language” for both the fleets and OEMs. When a fleet complains to an OEM about a maintenance issue, it often is through VMRS, the standard communication tool.

VMRS Code Keys

The VMRS structure consists of several dozen Code Keys which define the vehicle components as well as the nature of a repair or maintenance incident. The fleets can select which Code Keys are most applicable to their operation. The most common Code Keys are:

  • Code Key 14 – Reason for Repair
  • Code Key 15 – Work Accomplished
  • Code Key 16 – Repair Priority Class
  • Code Key 17 – Repair Site
  • Code Key 18 – Technician’s Failure Code
  • Code Key 31 – 3 Digit System
    • System = 042 = Cooling
  • Code Key 32 – 6 Digit System / Assembly
    • Component = 042-004 = Water Pump
  • Code Key 33 – 9 Digit System / Assembly / Part
    • Part = 042-004-003 = Impeller Shaft

With just the above codes, the technician can communicate what was repaired and why. You can find the complete list of codes on TMC’s website.

How VMRS Helps to Convey The Results of Predictive Maintenance?

In its most basic form, predictive maintenance (PdM) uses real-time telematics data to detect truck or vehicle failures before they happen across all Class 1–8 vehicles. Accurate predictive maintenance also utilizes the data from the fleet’s vehicle maintenance system to help improve the accuracy of predictions. VMRS is the common denominator between the two primary sources of information.

A predictive maintenance platform learns from analyzing the vehicle and component data across all asset classes and uses hundreds of thousands of data points, including sensor data, driver usage, and more, to identify trends that have previously caused specific failures. The fleet manager is immediately informed of potential failure weeks before it occurs.

VMRS is the common link between the actionable insights of predictive analytics and the fleet management maintenance system.

Consider your telematics system that generates hundreds of thousands of vehicle health data points, such as DTCs and PIDs from ODB_II or J1939. This raw, unfiltered component health data may not accurately flow into your fleet maintenance system and needs to be categorized as VMRS Code Keys 31-33. Analyzing this overload of information can be overwhelming and redundant without being able to prioritize what data is essential to act upon. Not to mention, challenging to gather reports and keep track of data coming in.

With predictive maintenance, your telematics system’s vehicle health data is filtered, making gathering reports seamless. Predictive maintenance analyzes data patterns, predicts upcoming maintenance problems, and provides prioritized actionable recommendations. The filtered data is sent directly to your fleet maintenance system dashboard or fleet managers via text or email. The data is constantly monitored, sending you accurate, real-time data reporting.

Code Keys 31-33 is by far the most common link. It defines to the fleet manager which component has an actionable insight from the predictive analytics software. And it informs which component repairs were made as communicated by the fleet maintenance system.

VMRS Makes Validation Easy with Predictive Maintenance as it Reduces Unplanned Downtime

Optimize Repair Priority Class Code = 01 Scheduled (Code Key 16): Inform the organization (operator, fleet manager, shop) about high-priority vehicles ahead of time. It allows fleet managers to track the percentage of unscheduled repairs and why they are happening.

Minimize Reason for Repair Code =  01 Breakdown (Code Key 14): The percentage of breakdown repair costs can be minimized with predictive maintenance. And with VMRS as the common link, fleet management knows what is causing breakdowns. Breaking down maintenance costs by priority can help you identify areas where you can improve processes for a higher return on investment (ROI). Whereas categorizing maintenance by repair reason can help you recognize specific cost accumulation areas, such as predictive maintenance.

Case Study: Organizing Datasets with VMRS and Predictive Maintenance

Over a 45-day period, Pitstop identified breakdown events for 476 vehicles from a fleet with more than 10,000+ vehicles dedicated to telco services.

Probability of receiving the alert and needing service: 92%

Probability of vehicle not needing service and no alert: 94%

To develop the machine learning F-score chart, you must match the alert to the service/repair. VMRS-organized datasets allow for this validation process to be automated. Pitstop made a tool to classify the first 3-6 digits for unstructured datasets with only service and repair descriptions. As a result, Pitstop got 80% of the dataset organized, significantly reducing data overload.

Next, what is causing the breakdowns? Again, VMRS is the link to helping the maintenance staff know what the cause is:

VMRS x Pitstop

Fleets can more efficiently organize, report, and act on their maintenance data thanks to the widely used maintenance categorization system known as VMRS. Pitstop’s predictive maintenance sends prioritized, prescriptive, and predictive VMRS code keys to help you make better decisions about maintenance issues and reduce unscheduled asset downtime. Pitstop is a member of ATA and TMC. To learn more about membership, visit https://www.trucking.org/membership-types

If you want to see how Pitstop uses VMRS in its predictive solution, book a demo with us and get started with a free trial!