Predictive Maintenance Changes The Game

Let’s face it, since March of 2020 everyone has been forced to do more with less. The trucking industry is no exception. Regardless of size, most fleet employees have had to don multiple hats to ensure the job gets done.

The world relies on trucks to move everything. From food needed to stock the shelves of your nearby grocery store to military supplies needed to keep our country safe. When trucks stop rolling, so does the world.

Keeping trucks healthy and on the road is a vital task for every fleet but how it gets done varies greatly. The type of maintenance program used determines the effectiveness of each fleet.

Let’s take a look:

Reactive Maintenance

Fleet and maintenance managers using this “run to failure” approach react to truck breakdowns, broken parts or failing systems as they occur. Doing so often leads to costly on-demand parts shipments, expensive road-side repairs or unplanned towing costs to get the truck to a nearby shop, often exceeding $2,000. Perhaps most damaging is the impact this has on the relationship with the drivers. Drivers rely on quality equipment to earn a living. Side-lined equipment prevents this from happening, spurring the urge to look for new employment.

Preventive Maintenance

Perhaps the most common maintenance approach utilized in fleets, includes routine equipment checkups to ensure trucks are properly maintained. In an attempt to keep the minor from becoming major, fleet managers schedule trucks to come through the shop based on a calendar, timing or mileage. The challenge comes when a checklist directs the inspection, providing no visibility to the truck subsystems. Fleets often report having a truck come through for a scheduled PM, give it a stamp of approval, sending it down the road, only to have an unplanned breakdown 2 days later. This truck, now miles from the shop, is faced with the same risks and costs of reactive programs. “This is when I change out warranty parts” is a commonly heard refrain from terminal floors. Problem is, too many fleets are pulling trucks off the road, simply to change warranty parts not yet faulty.

Would you change the faucets in your house simply because the 1-year warranty was coming up? The impact on operations and drivers makes this practice nonsensical.

Predictive Maintenance

Rather than performing maintenance when a truck breaks down or when a calendar tells you it is time, fleets adopting predictive maintenance, use “behind the curtain technology” to provide insights as to when a failure may occur. Arming technicians with the data to know when a NOx sensor is likely to fail, allows him to create a work order so when this truck comes through the shop, everything gets addressed in one visit. This lead time is what gives these fleets the competitive advantage in the industry. Why predictive maintenance? The better question is why bring in a healthy truck or multiple trucks, when only a small portion of your fleet is at risk?

For the last 7 years, Uptake has been working with both private and for-hire fleets, keeping healthy trucks moving, while placing focus on high-risk equipment ensuring the needed repairs are known, repairs are timely and drivers stay in their seat. See below for the results recognized by Uptakers:

12% decrease in maintenance costs, 8% increase in operational uptime, 20% reduction in roadside breakdowns, and 9% increase in technician efficiency
12% decrease in maintenance costs, 8% increase in operational uptime, 20% reduction in roadside breakdowns, and 9% increase in technician efficiency
How healthy is your fleet?