Fleet Maintenance Magazine (August 2015) –  Having a world-class maintenance operation means different things to different companies. Elements on most shops’ short list likely would be:

– All PMs are done on time.

– The majority of maintenance spending is planned instead of breakdown repair.

– Technicians are well trained and can do repair work within defined Standard Repair Times, whether those come from an OEM or are your own standards.

– Spend is analyzed compared to return the best parts, road service, tires, suppliers/partners, etc., are chosen.

– Assets are lifecycle managed and there is a solid repair/replace strategy rather than reacting to problems.

So, how can fleet maintenance management software help you get to world-class status?

– Make a plan and set goals – This is essential because constant firefighting and reacting will seldom yield world-class results. Put together a basic strategy and keeping on refining it over time.

– Make sure that your maintenance software can do what your plan requires long term – Look to the future with your goals and make sure that your software can handle them. If it can’t, now is the time to upgrade.

Remember that quote from the great professional ice hockey player Wayne Gretzy: “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” Get what you’re going to need, not just what you need now.

Also, your software shouldn’t just allow you to make your goals, it should help guide you. Choose software that your team can understand and embrace, and that gives you reports and scorecards to track progress.


Obviously, paper tablets and pencils, whiteboards, sticky notes or spreadsheets will not deliver your best results. But be careful that you don’t simply replace them with an electronic file cabinet. The difference between good and great is that good systems do the job, while great systems make it easy for your team to use them and save steps rather than creating extra work.

If your maintenance software adds more work than it saves, you will have an uphill battle with implementation and probably won’t achieve optimization.

For example, a very common goal is on-time PM completion. Breakdown repairs are very costly and disruptive, and are frequently the result of missed PMs. Here, a software product can help by proactively driving your PM compliance strategy without being burdensome. Otherwise, your staff will try to work around it.

The software should provide a notice when a PM is due, but also not allow that reminder to be simply dismissed and remind you again tomorrow if it is still due.

Further, if a unit has a repair order opened for some other work, the software should alert that the PM is still due or overdue. When you look at the unit status or open a repair order on it, it should automatically show you the repair history so trends and repetitive work are quickly visible.

The point is: the software should capture all relevant information as part of the maintenance workflow and also share the analysis of that information in the same way.

Finally, great software will give you reporting tools so you can make sure that you are making progress toward your goals.


When it comes to a software solution, trying to implement everything at once is usually a recipe for failure. Pick a goal or maybe two, and get those done before tackling the next one. No matter how good your software is, trying to do too much at once will overtax your staff, and they will likely blame that “new software” and decide it is too complicated.

Be sure that your software has analysis tools so you can verify that you are trending in the right direction.

The following are other key features to look for in a fleet maintenance management system to get to a world-class maintenance operation. Be sure that the functions can be implemented incrementally as you execute your strategy.

– Asset management.

– Maintenance planning and tracking.

– Warranty (asset and parts) management.

– Inventory management and planning.

– Shop management and operations support and budgeting.

Your maintenance system should also be:

– A safety resource – Predicts preventive and safety services and notifications of recalls and safety bulletins.

– A shop scheduling resource – Displays current and pending repairs and upcoming maintenance inspections.

– A licensing resource – Identifies all upcoming licenses, permits, skill sets and certifications.

– A utilization resource – Identifies under-utilized assets.

Remember, your software is a tool, and a tool can’t fix anything on its own. You need to use it effectively. Educate your team on their role and the benefits of using it and you will see positive results.

By, Bob Hausler, VP Marketing & Technology and Maggie Laird, Fleet Management Consultant  –  Dossier Systems


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