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The right tool for the job

10 April 2012

According to Jeff Sibio, industry marketing director for Postal Courier Express, parcel & freight applications at Intermec Technologies, “For anyone who has spent a moment in a fleet maintenance shop, there is no doubt that it is grueling work. It is downright rugged. Over the years, I have worked in a number of fleet maintenance operations. From pumping fuel in high school in -10˚F weather to managing over 1,000 long haul vehicles with two locations and 75 hard-working technicians, no job was ever easy.”

Information systems however are making life easier. One good example is utilizing technology to do a “spring cleaning” on your parts operation. Moving from manual paper inventory, ordering and distribution to an automated barcode based-system can have a dramatic impact. The resulting clean-up can reduce your carrying cost on parts.

Automating processes can take thousands of dollars out of your cost, reduce the number of unique parts and provide much more room to work with. Not to mention that after the cleanup, you have the correct parts needed to do the job, resulting in more trucks on the road vs. waiting for parts and service. 

Sibio goes on to say that information technology also can help transform fleet maintenance by placing access to critical information in the mechanics’ hands. Giving your team the information tools it needs to get the job done right can have significant impact. When the mechanic manages the electronic repair order; parts are billed out to the correct truck; and vehicle repair history, inspection reports and other information are available, it allows the mechanic to knowledgeably fix the problem versus just solving the current symptom.

Also consider that rugged systems resistant to moisture, dust, grease and grime make your users less reluctant to accept the technology. More informed technicians who are confident in their tools lead to more repairs processed quicker and fewer hours spent shuffling paper. Better electronic records also result in more trucks on the road, less wait time for the drivers and more accurate decision making for fleet asset management needs.

“To attain these benefits, the information systems need to be up to the task,” Sibio said. “Rugged solutions that can fall off the step of a truck, scan grease-smudged and torn barcodes, and workstations that can resist the afternoon clean-up with an occasional pressure washer spray are not the same as the laptop off the IT guy’s desk. Your technician will assure you the wrong tool may get the job done eventually, but the right tool will get the job done well and more efficiently.”


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