How to Select the Right Preventative Maintenance Software for Your Business

April 17, 2020


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Key Takeaways

Fleet managers around the world are already using preventative maintenance software to help extend the lifetime and lower the cost of their vehicles. Vehicle uptime can be improved with a preventative maintenance program that monitors real-time engine logs, diagnostic data, and fault codes, and reports whether machines are in the shop or on the go.

Advancements in internet and sensor technology are making it easier than ever to monitor and diagnose the health of your machines from a software dashboard. Here’s a look at how to create a modern preventative maintenance program, including what to look for in preventative maintenance management software.

Read on to learn how to monitor, optimize, and trim the costs of your fleet’s vehicle and assets with preventative maintenance software solutions.

What is preventative maintenance? 

Preventative maintenance scheduling, or the periodic inspection of equipment based on usage or duration of time, is designed to enable machines to continue operating between planned servicing without failure. In an array of industries—including defense, manufacturing, media, retail, and many more—preventative maintenance is a key operational strategy. Visibility into machine health provides solid benefits like cost savings, greater machine longevity, and fewer breakdowns. Machines are actually designed with preventative maintenance activities in mind. Many are reliant on adjustments, measurements, cleaning, replacement of components, oil changes, and other remedies to continue functioning well between major servicing.

What is preventative maintenance software?

Preventative maintenance software is a key part of a modern computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) that companies use to simplify and automate various forms of maintenance. Some CMMS products are designed for general use, while others are available for specific industries. Functions managed by CMMSs span equipment management, preventative maintenance, predictive maintenance, vendor management, inventory management, and other use cases. CMMS software can be hosted on a company server, an outside server at a service provider data center, or available through a cloud-based provider.

Preventative maintenance has become a major component of a CMMS. Using a CMMS, companies can create, schedule, and monitor a preventative maintenance program that cuts equipment downtime and boosts asset and equipment life cycles. The data and analytics give managers a window into equipment health and the ability to plan ahead by budgeting for replacements, while alarms and alerts allow supervisors to handle issues in real-time.

According to a 2019 study by Market Watch, the preventative maintenance software market will register a 11.4% compound annual growth rate between 2014 and 2019. In the next five years, the global market is predicted to reach US$1,060 million by 2024, up from US$560 million in 2019.

What should you look for in preventative maintenance software?

Here are some key features to look for when purchasing preventative maintenance software.

  • Reporting: Preventative maintenance software should include reporting features that show when, how, and why maintenance tasks were completed. A variety of reports can be generated with this data—usually as part of a larger CMMS—including work orders with designating key performance indicators to measure against. An example is tracking barcodes correlated with specific warranties for that equipment. Equipment with warranties could be fast tracked by maintenance personnel if operational issues are seen.   

  • Automation: Preventative maintenance software can be set up to auto-schedule checks of equipment or vehicles at desired intervals. These checks should be highly customizable by factors like production cycle, maintenance protocol, or other priorities. 

  • Comprehensive dashboard: Tracking preventative maintenance for assets like vehicle fleets requires internet connected sensors, GPS tracking, and cloud storage technology. Data from the various assets should be processed and monitored in a single dashboard so management can see that upkeep is being done consistently and universally across your business.

  • Real-time visibility and alerts: Preventative maintenance software vendors like Samsara provide a telematics solution that provides real-time visibility into a vehicle’s diagnostics. It captures and transmits engine data to monitor fuel and energy use, coolant temperature, battery voltage, and more. The software also lets users set up maintenance alerts via email notifications or text alerts on your mobile device when it’s nearing time for a regular service check, reducing the risk of an unanticipated issue due to lack of upkeep. This level of detail makes it easier to schedule maintenance work based on mileage or engine hours and understand when a maintenance-related issue needs attention.

  • Regulatory compliance features: The data and records from preventative maintenance software within a CMMS should be easily accessible as audited reports that different industries can use to help maintain and report on their compliance. For example, an equipment failure, its causes, and timeframe should be clearly visible to regulatory agencies so they can reinstate your business’ right to operate as soon as the failure is resolved.  

  • Peak performance planning: Key data from a preventative maintenance program—peak performance over time, depreciation, and downtime—should be accessible for inclusion in a company’s long-term planning efforts. Executives should be able to use insights from this data to look at when and how to decommission vehicles or equipment, when to purchase new ones, and when to re-assign individual pieces of equipment within a company or geographic area.  

What are the benefits of preventative maintenance?

Preventative maintenance tasks help steer owners away from relying on reactive maintenance routines. Often, the longer a machine remains damaged, the worse that damage becomes. It will then require major repairs instead of minor ones. Major repairs are costly, but the cost of a piece of equipment being taken off the road or sent offline can be equally high or higher. In fact, emergency repairs can be up to 4 times more expensive. 

Preventative maintenance software sets up routines and monitoring to avoid reactive maintenance. It identifies small issues before they become major, expensive repair costs. Some benefits of preventative maintenance software include:

  1. Less downtime or other delays: Preventative maintenance software will ensure needed maintenance tasks are completed, decreasing the amount of unplanned repairs. This means your vehicles are on the road and experiencing less downtime. Furthermore, preventative maintenance minimizes the likelihood of an unexpected breakdown, meaning your vehicles are arriving as intended and on time. 

  2. Increased productivity from monitoring and proactive responses: Implementing a reliable preventative maintenance process with regular maintenance schedules saves time in the long run. Your drivers aren’t derailed by vehicles that unexpectedly break down and your maintenance managers or maintenance department aren’t surprised with unexpected work. A regular maintenance schedule ensures maximum productivity. 

  3. Extended asset life for greater ROI: Preventative fleet maintenance means you’re investing in the long term health of your fleet. By investing the time and money to maintain the vehicles and equipment you have now, you’ll extend their life, reduce maintenance costs, and minimize the need for replacements. Furthermore, you’ll collect valuable data on which types of vehicles or equipment are performing. With this data, you’ll be able to make wise investments in future assets.

  4. Enhanced safety and reduced liability for facilities, equipment, and vehicles: A key result of any quality preventive maintenance program is the health and safety of your team because the equipment they use is reliable and functions properly. 

Preventative maintenance software in action

What does preventative maintenance software look like in action?

Dohrn Transfer Company is a trucking services and delivery company operating in a 14-state area with 470 tractors, 75 trucks, and 645 drivers. Dohrn uses Samsara preventative maintenance software to streamline maintenance operations to save money and enhance efficiency.

Connected through Samsara’s Internet of Things (IoT) technology, every vehicle in the Dohrn Transfer fleet transmits key health data in real time. Remote maintenance employees can see what’s going on in each vehicle with live engine diagnostics and alerts. They receive alerts if a check engine light comes on and they can look at patterns based on vehicle performance data to anticipate potential issues and prevent breakdowns before they happen. Today, Dohrn Transfer responds 40% faster to maintenance issues thanks to their implementation of preventative maintenance software. 

Another important feature of Samara’s software is the ability to quickly flag unsafe Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIRs) when they are submitted via a mobile app. Terminal managers receive automatic alerts and can take action proactively to fix issues quickly and keep trucks rolling safely.

Samsara preventative maintenance software for fleet management

Fleet managers around the world are already using preventative maintenance software to help extend the lifetime and lower the cost of their vehicles. Vehicle uptime can be improved with a preventative maintenance program that monitors real-time engine logs, diagnostic data, and fault codes, and reports whether machines are in the shop or on the go. Additional information like fuel level, Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) level, and battery voltage can be analyzed in real time. 

Samsara preventative maintenance software for fleet management is an integrated, user-friendly platform that makes it easy to create a preventative maintenance schedule and assign preventative maintenance tasks with alerts, GPS tracking, dash cams, a mobile app, compliance, and more. 

Interested in preventative maintenance software using Samsara’s integrated platform for GPS tracking, dash cams, compliance, and more? Sign up for a free trial.