Skilled mechanics are declining
With the steady decline in trained technicians in the US, barely half the number of trained technicians are available to fill the 76,000 positions that open up every year. One of the contributors to the shortage of young adults pursuing a career as a technician is believed to be because of the minority of women in the industry. In 2022, only 12% of service technicians in the US were women.
As the shortage of qualified technicians continues, customers can expect increasing wait times and rising costs associated with maintenance repairs. With vehicles experiencing longer downtimes, the importance of optimizing a technician’s time and efficiency is a significant concern for fleet managers.
Luckily, real-time fleet reporting and data analytics have emerged as powerful tools to help combat and address these challenges, enabling both fleet managers and technicians to make data-driven decisions to streamline operations. While data analytics is generally known to make a fleet manager’s job easier, its benefits to the mechanics at the end of the maintenance cycle are not always addressed. In this blog, we will explore the benefits of real-time reporting and data analytics in reducing diagnosis times and enhancing shop efficiency to facilitate technician services.
Enhanced Maintenance Planning
One of the key advantages of real-time fleet reporting and data analytics is the ability to predict and plan maintenance requirements. A predictive maintenance software like Pitstop monitors over 10 billion data points from telematics devices installed in fleet vehicles, such as engine diagnostics, tire pressure, and fuel consumption, to help fleet managers identify potential issues before they escalate. Managers can then schedule repairs for vehicles with critical issues while allowing vehicles with minor issues to run the route, avoiding unnecessary downtime.
A static maintenance schedule is a reactive approach to vehicle maintenance, with most service visits occurring after an issue has already arisen, commonly resulting in a planned route not being driven. Vehicles that may not require service visits are unnecessarily brought in, while other vehicles that require more immediate attention break down in the middle of the road.
A proactive approach allows for automated PM scheduling that can be dynamically adjusted based on vehicle health for timely maintenance scheduling, reducing unplanned downtime and avoiding over-maintenance costs. Predictive maintenance is estimated to reduce operational costs by $2,000 per vehicle annually. This includes savings from proactively scheduling repairs before going on the road and delaying unnecessary scheduled repairs to avoid over-maintenance.
Reduced Diagnosis Time
The US is expected to see a shortage of about 642,000 technicians by 2024. There is severe importance placed on optimizing the time and efficiency of technicians to ensure vehicles are still repaired and maintained in a timely manner.
After a vehicle enters the shop due to an unexpected breakdown, reviewing and diagnosing the vehicle’s issue is a time-consuming and sometimes frustrating task. A predictive maintenance software analyzes data points collected from the vehicles’ telematics device, detects fault codes, and lists all insights on the vehicle, with alerts prioritized from critical to minor issues. With real-time notifications, active fault codes are identified remotely and notified immediately so technicians know what to do before the vehicle even arrives in the shop. This allows technicians to cut down on diagnostic time, pinpoint the issue quickly, and get straight to repairing the vehicle.
Optimized Asset Utilization
By analyzing vehicle usage, fuel consumption, and driver behavior data, fleet operators can identify underutilized assets and take necessary actions. For example, if a vehicle is consistently idle or used inefficiently, fleet managers can reassign it to a different operation or consider downsizing the fleet. This optimization leads to better resource allocation, avoiding excess maintenance expenses from underused vehicles.
Streamlined Communication and Collaboration
Real-time fleet reporting and data analytics facilitate streamlined communication and collaboration among fleet managers, maintenance technicians, and drivers. Access to up-to-date information on vehicle status and maintenance needs can reduce call friction, ensuring timely repairs and avoiding unnecessary ones.
Oftentimes, a driver receiving a non-critical fault code will rush to the repair shop when the issue is not urgent and the route could have been completed, an incident that was observed in our latest customer case study. Or, a driver will communicate with a fleet manager to discuss the course of action to take when receiving a fault code. With a predictive maintenance tool like Pitstop, fleet managers will receive information on the urgency of the fault code to then share with the drivers, giving confidence to whether the vehicle needs immediate attention or the route can continue to be driven. Removing the need to communicate directly between drivers and fleet managers during an alert results in improved coordination and faster decision-making to resolve the issue.
Get Real-Time Reporting and Data Analytics with Pitstop
Real-time reporting and data analytics offered by fleet maintenance software are powerful tools in leveraging the power of timely information and actionable insights to allow fleet managers and technicians to proactively manage maintenance needs and improve shop efficiency.
Pitstop can predict potential vehicle failures weeks in advance with 90+% accuracy and provide “smart” maintenance schedules that can be dynamically adjusted based on the vehicle’s health in real-time using sensor data. One specific feature that fleet managers and mechanics alike will appreciate is Pitstop’s fault code management feature which provides prescriptive alerts when fault codes are detected with added explanations and potential causes to help technicians and fleet managers make quicker decisions.
See the value in preventive maintenance by booking a demo with us!