Best practices to ensure your fleet has the proper computerized maintenance management system

Operators of corporate and for-hire transportation fleets certainly understand the importance of maintenance and repair (M&R). It’s a vital aspect of keeping trucks operating and on the road throughout all times of the year, enabling drivers to stay safe and return home on time and of course, to deliver goods to customers in every corner of the country.

Why is a computerized maintenance management system important?

Maintenance and repair practices today include more than just checking oil, brakes and taillights. Heavy-duty trucks, similar to light vehicles, have become intricately technology-forward, and the maintenance required on each truck involves the proper diagnostic equipment and an up-to-date Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) for data analysis.

This is important because more fleets are utilizing in-house maintenance facilities, and technicians are getting harder to find. A recent industry survey highlighted that 64% of respondents utilize in-house resources for their M&R, and 27% said they utilize a third-party vendor. Unfortunately, 91% said they are still struggling to find technicians1.

It was positive to see that 95% said they are capturing more maintenance data on their vehicles, and this is critical because as M&R costs fluctuate, it’s important for fleet managers to provide details to senior management on component cost changes and provide alternate options and recommendations. There are variable data inputs that make up these costs, therefore, fleets must be able to dissect all critical M&R parts and components costs, such as tires, brakes, service and repair, etc. as they manage their Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

The survey respondents cited multiple providers such as Fleet Net, Cetaris, TMT Fleet Maintenance, Degama and others, but the majority stated they use an in-house/custom solution. Today's leading fleets view M&R as part of a more strategic element in their fleet management plans. As such, they’re seeing greater value in leveraging asset management partners who can incorporate various M&R and diagnostic platforms with advanced software data analytics as part of a broader Fleet Services and TCO initiative.

Best practices and what you need to know

It is imperative to have an updated CMMS so you can achieve the lowest Total Cost of Ownership for your fleet. Following is a list of key questions and best practices to help choose the right CMMS that will help you and your strategic asset management partner make data-driven M&R decisions for your fleet:

  • Does your current CMMS allow you to create, track, edit, and automatically communicate work orders?
  • Can you create web forms for vendors, technicians, or engineers to submit work orders for approval?
  • Can you efficiently manage preventive maintenance in a calendar format?
  • Can you create digital checklists for consistency, efficiency, and control of your assets and maintenance?
  • Will the system alert you and your staff when you run out of what you need? Does it make reordering material easy for parts inventory?
  • Will the system let you generate one-click reports and charts? Does it allow you to see the info the way you need it?
  • Will the system alert you when vendor insurance and warranty expiration are closing in?
  • Does the provider offer implementation training and continued support?
  • Will the system integrate with your current OBC provider? Will the system do Electronic DVIR and load them into the maintenance system?

Other critical items for consideration include comparing differing CMMS providers to see which ones have what you want versus what you need for functionality. It is also essential to understand each provider’s qualifications, their deep understanding of what maintenance managers need, and their history and track record in the industry.

With these tips in mind, fleet executives can ensure they have the right CMMS in place that can help them and their asset management partners achieve the lowest possible TCO for their bottom line. Also, with the ongoing supply chain issues, it has never been more important to pay close attention to M&R expenditures and metrics, with strategies to keep existing trucks on the road and on time. Asset management partners can help fleets take a closer look at each truck’s P&L to understand what has impacted costs down to the line-item VMRS code level and set a strategy for asset procurement, which is critical when all your baselines for the previous 10+ years are no longer relevant.

About The Author

Matthew Wiedmeyer, CTP, is Director of Fleet Services at Fleet Advantage, a leading innovator in truck fleet business analytics, equipment financing and lifecycle cost management. For more information visit [url=][/url].

Matthew Wiedmeyer, CTP - Director of Fleet Services at Fleet Advantage

1: Fleet Advantage online survey on the topic of M&R trends presented to more than 1,500 fleet executives during October, 2022.

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