Comparative Tests of Products & Parts

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Steve Kirkland and Maggie Laird, Fleet Management Consultants.

Every few days there is a “new”, “improved” or “better” product available on the market. And of course, vendors want you to buy it instead of what you are currently using. Testing products is a strategy that you can use to validate claims made about new products. In most cases, you’ll want to test the product(s) and make your own determination as to which worked best in your application, and was the best overall value. Product testing should compare a product’s performance, safety, quality, and compliance with established standards.

To test new products, you have to conduct a comparative test between the old and the new, and measure the performance of each. When creating the product test, identify the vehicles or equipment with the same attributes, and determine the conditions. This is referred to as a controlled test and Dossier has the functionality to help you analyze the different products and make the best selection based on your results.

For any study or test that you are going to conduct, you need to establish the baseline, expectations, and time frame for the study. 1) Start by documenting and identifying the products you’re testing, the time frame for the study, and the result(s) that you are testing for. 2) Create Units Sets in Dossier that identify the two groups of vehicles or equipment you are tracking in the study. Create one unit set with the existing product and another unit set with the “new” product. For best results, the units you are comparing for each product should be the same year, make, model, and application. 3) Install the new “test” product in the appropriate units and install a new “existing” product for a clean start in the other units. 4) Track maintenance and operating costs by unit sets. 5) Run the Dossier standards reports using the Search and Select feature on your reports to analyze the cost by VMRS against the benchmark/standard you established for the study.

As in any study or product test, there are a few variables to keep in mind; changes in assignment of the units in the study, seasonal and geographical changes, or utilization of the units, can impact the end results.

For more information on the Dossier system or how to set up comparative test using Dossier, contact us at

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