What’s your definition of useful data?
By Gino Fontana
Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President, Transervice
As originally appeared in FleetOwner Magazine’s IdeaXchange
Data is important. In fact, having the right data can be critical, especially when it comes to vehicle maintenance and repair. Knowing how the vehicle was performing right before a failure, finding the root cause of the failure, and documenting the repair can provide a fleet with insights and help fleet managers spot failure trends.
However, there is so much data available to a fleet that sometimes it can seem overwhelming. And while I am a big proponent of having the right data and analyzing it to your advantage, there is something to be said for also listening to the voices of your drivers and technicians when it comes to asset health.
While drivers might not be able to cite the exact fault code, they certainly can provide intelligence on any operational changes they noticed—a new noise, the vehicle lagging upon acceleration, steering issues, etc. Those anecdotal comments can give technicians further insight into the problem.
Your seasoned technicians also have accumulated a wealth of knowledge about the kinds of failures your trucks typically experience. They are likely able to leverage their years of “turning a wrench” to quickly pinpoint the cause of the problem and the best way to repair it. They also have insights into which brands of replacement parts are easier to install and which suppliers offer superior technical support when there is a problem installing a replacement part.
Your service writers and service managers can likely provide you with intel on how to best interact with individual customers, especially when delivering bad news that a repair needs to be more extensive than originally thought. Consider what they’ve learned from years of interacting with customers as another data point.
Perhaps you should consider expanding your definition of useful data to not only include the “hard data” you get from sensors but also the “soft data” you can get from people. Doing that will give you new insights that you can tap into to improve repair outcomes and even prevent future failures.