As fleets continue to grow, effective safety solutions that are easy to operate and built to retrofit are integral to preventing incidents and minimizing downtime — all essential for the management, safety, and maintenance of fleets. Not only in terms of keeping both the public and drivers safe, but also in terms of controlling costs related to insurance and liability, unplanned downtime, and maintenance. Furthermore, improved fleet safety can lead to increased driver efficiency, return on investment, and higher overall productivity. All of which depend on the installed system and your fleet service technicians.
In the past, downtime has been a significant issue many fleets have faced, dealing with a slew of issues and inefficient turnaround time as trucks roll in and out of heavy-duty shops. As a fleet manager, your needs may be growing, but keeping your trucks on the road generating revenue continues to be the basis of most of your decisions.
The More Complex the System, the More Difficult to Maintain
Technology is becoming more sophisticated across vehicle class segments, and skills and parts to maintain them are incrementally growing more complicated and expensive. In some instances, pieces take longer to service or require the need for electronic diagnostics.
Many service agencies can solve these issues, but commercial vehicles are continuing to adopt more advanced systems, and they are not becoming less complicated. As more solutions enter the market, it is crucial to understand the functionality of each technology, how to combat issues and the strengths and weaknesses of the system. Thankfully, with more complex systems, like Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), automatic braking, or radar, it is up to OEMs and system manufacturers to vet their solutions.
What Do You Do About Safety System Issues?
Through the vetting process, OEMs and system manufacturers send personnel to train service technicians. Onsite they should teach the team about the installation process, everyday issues that may occur, and how to troubleshoot these issues before requesting onsite assistance.
If an issue does occur, and the trained service team is unable to solve the problem on their own, the first option would be to problem-solve remotely. Problem-solving processes are all very similar, but with the adoption of new technologies across the board, it can vary. However, for a majority of systems, troubleshooting remotely is the first step.
Through troubleshooting, manufacturers and OEMs can help service technician teams find new and efficient solutions to streamline processes. Gathering information prior can be tremendously helpful in speeding up the process of achieving minimal downtime. If troubleshooting doesn't work, we get someone on site.
No matter the system, creating a platform in which drivers and service technicians can communicate system issues, establishes an open conversation about preventative maintenance. If you spec your trucks properly and develop awareness on both ends of the commercial vehicle and its systems demands, this is even more likely to occur.
Training & Education
The fleet industry changes rapidly, and so does the equipment fleets utilize. Understanding that to provide exceptional truck repair and maintenance, you must have the most experienced and certified group of technicians. Service technicians and shop mechanics are puzzle-solving, safety-ensuring, motor-skilled, innovation-focused professionals specializing in creating a better fleet experience for all those involved. For them, service comes first – so understanding how systems work and how to deal with any issues, should they arise, is a top priority for every team.
Training and education continue to be instrumental in heavy-duty shop success, especially as more and more safety systems are installed and required in the future. Implementing training programs and educational opportunities for fleet service technicians are both great value propositions heavy-duty shop managers should consider.
So, when it comes to training, you have to decide which systems you want to be able to support. Get in contact with truck manufacturers and the safety system manufacturers to find out how you and your team can become certified field technicians. By learning how these systems work, and staying ahead of technology trends, you and your team can provide the best value service.
Which Piece of the Service Pie do You Choose?
Over the last few decades, it has become apparent that by adding intelligent technologies to the existing real-time monitoring infrastructure, fleets can continue to deliver, reducing risk, minimizing downtime, and significantly boosting productivity.
Advancements in technology are improving the safety functions and features of all vehicles. However, they are still only as safe as the driver behind the wheel. It was not long ago when these systems weren't available, and drivers had to rely on their sensory-motor skills to operate heavy-duty machinery safely.
When choosing a system, operators preferred to have a removable or standalone solution. Standalone meaning if the system is not integrated into critical components, and is something you can turn off or take out without it affecting the operation of the vehicle. Meaning operations do not come to a halt if a safety system is down, allowing drivers to continue on their route without having to pull over immediately to call a service professional. For positive adoption, using standalone systems seems to be a great option.
Today, some safety systems are critical, and some are must-haves. Over time, safety systems have matured and become more reliable, requiring less service. Although this may be initially concerning, the truth of the matter is that skilled service professionals are always going to be needed. They are an essential part of maintenance and rest assured, the more complex the system, the more vital the service technician. Even with the future of automation on the horizon, technicians and mechanics are going to continue to hold a required skill set even when drivers may eventually not.
To avoid an incident or damage to keep costs and time in the shop to a minimum, you have to take preventative actions. PRECO's radar solutions are the ticket, especially for those looking for solutions that can withstand harsh weather and environments without needing to replace expensive parts. Durability should play a huge factor in your decision making when adopting solutions for your fleet.
Time in the shop means money lost, and advanced safety system radars, like the PreView family and vision systems, are designed to help prevent those expensive layaway periods. Although the price differentiation between safety systems can be off-putting, the cost of a single incident - which can never be predicted but are entirely avoidable – proving ROI. With the more advanced systems out in the market today, downtime can keep to a minimum with substantial training and a reliable shop crew.