Within the trucking industry, technology disruption has helped fleets realize efficiencies across operations run on archaic systems. This is evidenced by how digitalization has consistently helped companies improve visibility into workflows and leverage data to glean operational insights.
One of the significant efficiency climbs has been in the telematics segment, with cheap and robust solutions helping fleets transcend size to gain better control over operations. Telematics data finds its use beyond everyday operations — for instance, to understand when assets need to schedule their maintenance visits.
New Jersey-based preventive truck maintenance startup Fleetpal has introduced a mile-based asset-maintenance solution that can enable fleets to segment their asset maintenance based on the individual miles clocked by trucks and trailers. FreightWaves connected with Mike Valnev, the CEO of Fleetpal, to discuss how Fleetpal helps fleets avoid over-maintenance of assets.
“Fleetpal is built on the Vehicle Maintenance Reporting Standards (VMRS) system, a universal coding standard that tracks equipment failure and operating costs,” said Valnev. “VMRS helps fleets set up their maintenance plans correctly, while also giving the fleets a structured coding system for their expenses. This allows Fleetpal to turn the collected data into powerful intel.”
In general, fleets are habituated to scheduling preplanned maintenance visits, which is set based on the number of days an asset gets used. For fleets that operate a large number of vehicles, equipment utilization could vary considerably between assets, leading to unnecessary maintenance expenses.
“Fleets usually use hubometers to measure approximate trailer mileage. These are devices mounted on the axle of the truck to measure the miles it has traveled. This, however, is an unreliable way to measure distance, as these hubometers fall off or provide inaccurate data. Measurements also need to be recorded manually from these devices, increasing the possibility of data-entry errors,” said Valnev.
The VMRS coding system ensures fleets segment every component and monitor them individually, helping foster precision maintenance for all equipment. Valnev explained that the codes assigned to the components enable fleets to anticipate parts replacement and have proactive maintenance options via Fleetpal’s predictive analytics algorithms.
Fleetpal recently partnered with telematics major Spireon, having already joined hands with market incumbents like Samsara, KeepTruckin, Geotab and Eroad. Valnev contended that while Fleetpal is a solution that works ubiquitously across fleets of all sizes, the startup specifically develops products targeted at fleets running between 30 and 250 trucks.
“A common data model, VMRS system comes in handy, being easy to integrate with other systems as they speak the same language,” said Valnev. “When you look at individual fleets of 200 trucks, we do not have a lot of information. But combining anonymous data derived from different fleets in the ecosystem allows us to do good benchmarking. We can feed the AI algorithms this data, serving each fleet individually with good results.”
As an extension to providing maintenance scheduling, Fleetpal also has built a network of over 6,600 repair shops across the country. Registered repair shops get information about fleets that need service, including details on the unit numbers and issues. Valnev explained that this saved unnecessary phone calls between fleets and repair shops on service needs.
Transactions will be pushed through repair work orders that are added to the maintenance reports. Fleetpal collates exhaustive information on the components that were worked on at the repair shop, including model, part number, serial number and even the position of the replaced component.
“With custom dashboards, fleets can get specific reports based on assets, costs and categories. They can see what costs the most money for a certain period of time and all this turns into intel,” said Valnev. “Fleets can also create different inspection templates, which forces issue creation from failed items, making sure all failures are reported and added to the work order. This helps back offices to automate and streamline their maintenance process.”
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