Guest writer Dale Hanna continues his writing on preventative maintenance with this week’s blog post – “Preventative Maintenance Agreements: A Great Thing Deserves Great Execution.”

In our last blog, Preventative Maintenance Agreements – A Necessary Hero, we spoke about the important contributions PM agreements can make to dealer bottom line.  They can drive high quality revenue, income and customer satisfaction.

They key word is “can”.  As with all great things, they are only as good as the execution.  In this blog, we will focus on four areas of PM agreements and how we might increase the efficiency we deliver the services to our customers.  This has always been vital, and especially now with the significant labor shortage.

Do Not Miss a PM Service and Do Not Lose Sleep Over It

There is nothing more stressful than missing a PM service on a customer’s machine under a PM agreement.  There is nothing more annoying than trying to call customer multiple times to get the hour reading.  How do we do better?

For newer machines, more and more of them are coming with factory installed telematics devices.  Factories provide software system that can usually alert you about PM coming due or past due.  The common problem here is when you have PM agreements on multiple brands.  Each factory system works differently, and you will likely need to log into multiple different systems.  Through a technology called API (Application Programming Interface), computers can talk with each other.  Most factory systems offer APIs for you to use.  If you have the right software system, hours, and other information, from all the brands you carry can flow into one system and all assets can be managed the same way.

How about the machines that do not come with factory installed telematics devices.  Aftermarket devices are available, and the data can flow into the same aggregating system mentioned above.  The cost of the aftermarket system is low comparing to the cost of doing everything manually.

Now you have all the PM information in one place, issuing alerts, and potentially managing workorders from one system, will drastically increase your efficiency.

Fault Codes, When It Rains, It Pours

Fault codes are great, they give us valuable information to keep the machines from suffering major failures.   The three common problems are there are too many fault codes to be handled manually, some of the fault codes are not useful but take up bandwidth, and the formats are different from different manufactures.

Here are what some of the tech savvy dealers are doing to maximize the benefit efficiently.

  1. Using APIs to get all the fault codes from different manufactures into one place.
  2. Translate the different priority systems from different manufactures into a unified system, such as Red, Yellow, Green, Gray or 1,2,3,4.
  3. Map the messages into the same format.
  4. Triage the codes efficiently using knowledgebase,
  5. Create workorders immediately or with a PM workorder based on severity and usage.

Inspections, You Can’t Fix What You Do Not Know 

Fault codes can’t tell you everything that can go wrong with a machine.  For example, they can’t tell you a belt is about to break, or a hose is about to leak.

Inspections fill in the gap.  To do so efficiently, the inspections need to be electronic instead of paper based.  Paper inspections can days to get to the office.  They can be hard to read, and it will be hard to attach pictures and videos.  As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Electronic inspection results, including pictures and videos, show up in the office real time as long as there is Wi-Fi or cell connection.  SN or VIN can be scanned in accurately and linked to customers stock unit ID.

With an all-in-one system, the inspection results can be viewed and managed with PM’s and fault codes.  Workorders can be issued to handle one, some or all the problems.  The addressed and unaddressed problems are always tracked so the status is clear, and nothing is forgotten.

The Devil Is in the Fluids

The last piece of the puzzle is fluid analysis.  As we all know, it is a requirement for most warranty to be valid.

Fluid analysis results are still predominated delivered via lab’s own websites or through PDF’s.  One of the biggest complaints we hear in the field is that the information is hard to aggregate and use efficiently, even though the information itself is very useful.

As the world moves forward, more and more labs are offering APIs, just like how other information, such as fault codes, hours, etc. are delivered.  Again, we can use the same all-in-one system to aggregate the fluid analysis data with PM alerts, fault codes, electronic inspection.  This way, PM agreements can be managed well, and other services can be delivered efficiently and giving customers the best experience possible.  A triple win for you.

PM agreements are a necessary hero to drive high quality revenue and customer satisfaction.  It will only work well if it is executed well.  The only way to do so in today’s labor shortage and data explosion world is to leverage the right technology.