Across the industry, an increasing number of fleet managers are looking to maximize road time for their class 8 trucks through data generated while their trucks are on the road.
The use of technology, including fleet management software, is transforming how the industry works. Fleet managers turn to software that can help minimize empty runs, improve predictive maintenance, and manage routes better by tracking vehicle data while their cargo is in route.
HOW REMOTE DIAGNOSTICS WORK
Take Kenworth’s TruckTech+, for example. The company’s web-based Remote Diagnostics and Service Management system was designed to streamline service and repair processes through improved communications between operators, fleet managers, and repair technicians.
The technology solution allows fleet managers to monitor engine health remotely for any class 8 Kenworth vehicle fitted with a PACCAR MX or Cummins diesel engine. Should a service light come on while a driver is on the road, the TruckTech+ Remote Diagnostics system sends a signal alerting the fleet manager and local dealership. Based on real-time diagnostic information, the fleet manager can make repair and maintenance decisions as needed.
If the problem demands immediate attention, the fleet manager can alert both the driver and the local dealership using the TruckTech+ Service Management tool. The diagnostics system can even suggest a potential fix to managers, dealers, and drivers.
SPEEDING UP THE REPAIR PROCESS
The data gathered by the TruckTech+ diagnostics tool can help speed along repairs—a dramatic improvement according to Kenworth, which says up to 80 percent of the time spent at every service visit is wasted on poor communication. But for trucks fitted with TruckTech+, when the vehicle arrives at a dealership for service, the technician can skip the diagnostic tests altogether and get straight to work using the truck's onboard diagnostic tool to pinpoint both the cause of and solution to the issue.
Through this system, service technicians can also access the vehicle’s warranty status and repair history, which help them track and correct ongoing problems. Fleet managers can monitor the repair process remotely and alert drivers when it’s time to return to the road.
ADVANTAGES OF PREDICTIVE MAINTENANCE
Drivers and fleet managers have traditionally been reactive in maintenance activities, scheduling repairs when a problem can no longer be ignored. More proactive companies have switched to a preventive or predictive mindset to improve uptime, scheduling needed repairs on to prevent the higher costs later.
So rather than letting drivers push past alerts to clean the emission system, for example, fleet managers will receive a notification that soot is near critical levels. This way, action can be taken when it’s needed, but before a truck is de-rated and the fleet manager loses valuable drive time.
DEMAND IS DRIVING MARKET GROWTH
Previously only an OEM aftermarket option, more manufacturers see fleet management software as a differentiator to help savvy fleet managers get an edge in productivity. And the market is growing. Forecasters expect the demand will continue to grow for systems that monitor and track vehicles, particularly as fuel prices increase. A recent report from MarketsandMarkets says the growth in adoption of fleet management software is driven by demands for increased operational efficiency, coupled with a continuing decline in hardware and connectivity costs.
As options improve and the technology becomes more widespread, fleet managers are likely see tangible benefits from these system datasets. Contact your nearest Papé Kenworth location for more information about TruckTech+ fleet management technology.