One of the most effective ways to improve a fleet’s bottom line is by minimizing equipment downtime. New remote diagnostic technology, available on some of today’s engines, can address that issue by saving one-half to a full day in repair time, says Jim Sweeney, Vice President of Capital Equipment for AmeriQuest Transportation Services.
“Manufacturers that can successfully take cost out of operating EPA 2010 trucks will be the ultimate winners of the ‘truck wars,’” Sweeney says in a recent blog posted on the AmeriQuest website. “Manufacturers are staging a counterattack on higher truck costs by using emergency technology to boost fuel economy and cut costly downtime.”
Two remote diagnostics programs by the manufacturers of Detroit and Volvo engines are good examples of how the engines use on-board sensors to identify engine faults. The data is transmitted in real time to the manufacturers’ customer support centers, which analyze the data and then notify fleet owners of the nature of the problem. Drivers of trucks that need immediate service can then be directed to the closest dealer, which has been alerted and is prepared to deal with the issue.
“Fleet owners are given the choice of getting immediate attention or scheduling a repair for less serious problems at a dealer at a later time. Even in the second situation, the problem has already been diagnosed, the parts are ready, and the service bay prepared; so even in this situation, the downtime has been minimized,” Sweeney says.
The blog explains other features of remote diagnostic systems and how they can improve what are already razor-thin profit margins, especially for medium-sized and smaller fleets.