It’s probably safe to say that on a high level your main goals are quick, efficient and effective service. If your fleet owns its own shops, this question becomes one you have to not only ask, but answer and then make the goal a reality.
The phrase “time is money” perhaps applies to no other industry more than the trucking industry, where every second your trucks are not out on the road running routes is revenue lost. A big part of this is maintenance-related downtime; specifically, unplanned maintenance. You do your best to ensure PM practices are performed, but unplanned maintenance events still happen on the open road.
And when they do, and your truck has to be taken into the shop, the ideal result is an accurate diagnosis, a thorough repair, and an efficient process all the way through.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
It starts with the diagnosis
Think of all of the hours an incorrect diagnosis adds before the repair even begins, never mind the cost of harmful or incomplete repairs.
So how do you ensure that the diagnosis is both quick and correct?
Having access to complete truck repair information is the key to ensure an accurate diagnosis and to avoid “throwing parts” at the problem. With today’s advanced vehicles, technicians can no longer rely on their experience and gut instinct alone. They also need the right technology tools to get to the proper diagnosis.
Electrical issues are a perfect example. As systems become more complex, so do the wiring diagrams. It takes time to trace out a circuit in the diagram. And for many experienced techs a wiring diagram will be the starting point for familiarizing, and to some extent diagnosing an electrical problem. Having state-of-the art wiring diagrams readily available — like the interactive wiring diagrams in the Mitchell 1 TruckSeries truck repair software — allows technicians to click on components within the wiring structure and see a pop-up menu with selections to learn more about specifications, component location, connector views, and guided component tests, to name a few.
Fixing the Problem
Once the cause is identified, there’s the matter of going through the correct steps to fix the problem.
One challenge that many heavy-duty shops face is prioritizing repairs—some may take a couple hours, some a couple of days. Knowing which is which and how to tackle it is why many shops have triage lanes, a dedicated space for repairs that take less than four hours to complete. This ensures those jobs are moving through the shop quickly and not getting stuck behind trucks that may have gotten there sooner but will take days to fix.
Another solution can be having the right repair software.
Dive Right in with Confidence
Minutes spent on repair guesswork add up over the course of the day, week and month. One reason many shops use repair software is so that, once that root cause is identified, the technician can immediately and confidently begin what he or she knows is the correct repair procedure. In addition to the knowledge that the repair is being done correctly, there’s no better way to ensure a speedy and accurate repair than to simply know the steps you need to follow — and follow them.
Take TruckSeries, for example. The software includes diagrams and images like wiring diagrams and photos of component locations, as well as testing procedures and estimated labor times. Complete, targeted data is presented in a user-friendly interface that brings together the exact information the technician needs, enabling them to understand the repair steps and plan their day in a more efficient way.
Being able to look up repair procedures and specifications in advance to understand what the job entails is valuable when scheduling a tech’s time and setting priorities for certain jobs. This includes things like the expected time to complete the job, special tools and/or equipment needed and potential skill level required.
Now that you know what you want out of the service process, how are you going to get it?
If your fleet owns its shops, it’s worth considering the difference it could make to invest in software, on both the fleet side and the service side of the business. If time is money, then the time your shops will save by properly utilizing software is just money sitting in the bank, waiting to be withdrawn.