194802634 | Lacha3 1| Dreamstime
Dreamstime Xxl 194802634 5fd2dcd8a66a9

How fleets can finish the year stronger than ever

Dec. 3, 2020
Fleets have an opportunity to evaluate long-standing practices and procedures and make the changes necessary to set them up for a more efficient and profitable 2021.

This year has had unexpected challenges in the fleet industry, many of them out of our control. We are presented now with an opportunity to make choices that will set us up to be better and stronger in the long run.

Americans have pivoted hard to meet the challenges we faced this year. The U.S. economy is gaining steam, transport is thriving, and the trucking industry is poised for even greater growth in 2021. As we gladly say goodbye to 2020, it is time to lead boldly. Let’s take this opportunity to rethink the way we have been doing things and to make investments in technology, in people, in new ways of working, and in retraining longstanding employees. It is time to eliminate waste and to focus resources on what will drive us all forward.

As an industry, we have made difficult but necessary cuts to streamline operations, but these tough decisions will make us better in the coming year. We have quickly learned to adapt as team members work from home, we have learned to adhere to new safety guidelines, and we have all learned to live in a new normal.

The heavy duty industry has not historically been quick to adapt to change or to adopt new technology, but it is resilient. Now is not the time to hunker down, now is the time to stand up and lean into change. Putting our collective shoulders into hard change now will drive us through the present storm and propel our success going forward.

As leaders, it is essential that we band together to share knowledge and strategies so we can all run our businesses as efficiently as possible. Our relationships and partnerships with one another have never been more critical. While we cannot meet in person at industry events like we used to, our methods of sharing knowledge are shifting to the virtual realm. Online education and collaboration has become more effective and essential than ever, whether it’s in the form of whitepapers, webinars, virtual industry events, or technical video demonstrations.

But, with all of the emerging technologies and challenges in the fleet maintenance field, it is nearly impossible for fleets to keep up with it all. This means it is imperative to streamline the process of sharing industry best practices. The American Trucking Association’s (ATA) Technology and Maintenance Council (TMC) has taken a leadership role. The purpose of the TMC, according to the ATA, is “to improve transport equipment, its maintenance, and maintenance management.”

TMC is responsible for researching industry challenges and identifying the most impactful new procedures, called Recommended Practices (RPs), so fleets can run as efficiently and profitably as possible. The Recommended Practices Manual has been the leading maintenance guide for best practices in the commercial vehicle industry for more than 30 years.

The process of developing an RP involves many months or even years of rigorous research, vetting, and sifting through field validation data. Fleet managers and operators reference the manual with confidence that when an RP is added to the manual, it has been tested extensively and will positively impact their operations and their bottom line. It is actionable information that will make an impact.

TMC recently published RP 375 which pinpoints the root cause of excessive aftertreatment problems, increasing uptime and cutting aftertreatment maintenance costs. This procedure uses high pressure diagnostic leak detection technology to solve the industry-wide challenge of engine air leaks, a root cause of excessive aftertreatment maintenance and repair.

Aftertreatment maintenance is one of the largest expenses for fleet operators, directly behind fuel and tire costs. Fleets cannot afford to have their vehicles sitting idle with excessive aftertreatment problems, and even minuscule leaks can cause big aftertreatment headaches, skyrocketing maintenance costs and expensive downtime. The heavy duty industry has long needed a proven preventative maintenance procedure to solve these root causes of aftertreatment problems for fleets.

TMC has determined that RP 375 is the recommended solution and that using diagnostic leak detection technology for periodic preventative maintenance inspection of the engine system to identify upstream component leaks is essential for the health of the aftertreatment system and for cutting maintenance costs. Diagnostic leak detection technology has recently been adopted by leading North American fleets to speed repairs, reduce costs, increase mpg, and increase vehicle uptime.

Variable pressure visual vapor allows technicians to “see” upstream air leaks that otherwise only open under boost. The technology simulates the boost of a running engine for testing with the engine safely off. An upstream air leak will trigger an inaccurate air fuel mixture which causes the vehicle to burn more fuel, increasing fuel costs, triggering more frequent DPF cleaning, and generally causing more aftertreatment downtime, maintenance, and repair. The leak testing procedure spelled out in RP 375 uses visual vapor at a variable pressure of 2-20 psi to quickly pinpoint and repair these troublesome, unmetered air leaks, eliminating excessive aftertreatment problems, cutting maintenance costs, increasing uptime, and improving fuel efficiency.

As 2020 comes to a close, fleets have an opportunity to evaluate long-standing practices and procedures and make the changes necessary to set them up for a more efficient and profitable 2021. Leaning into change now will make us better prepared for whatever challenges remain ahead. 2020 may have brought unexpected challenges, but it is no surprise that the fleet transport industry will begin the new year more resilient and stronger than ever.

Alex Parker is the CMO and EVP of Redline Detection, a manufacturer of diagnostic leak detection technology and the 2020 SEMA Manufacturer of the Year. Redline designs and engineers custom diagnostic solutions for top fleets and the world's leading OEMs.

About the Author

Alex Parker | CMO, EVP

Alex Parker is the CMO and EVP of Redline Detection, a manufacturer of diagnostic leak detection technology and the 2020 SEMA Manufacturer of the Year. Redline designs and engineers custom diagnostic solutions for top fleets and the world's leading OEMs.

Sponsored Recommendations

Going Mobile: Guide To Starting A Heavy-Duty Repair Shop

Discover if starting a heavy-duty mobile repair business is right for you. Learn the ins and outs of licensing, building, and marketing your mobile repair shop.

10 Steps Every Tech Should Follow Before Clearing Fault Codes

Are you tired of recurring fault codes? Clear them with confidence today! View the 10 steps that every technician should follow before attempting to clear faults.

Repair, Replace or Retire - Grab Your Calculator

Don't make the mistake of ignoring fleet maintenance. Learn how to be proactive instead of reactive and reduce up to 70% of breakdowns.

Mobil Delvac™ oils give race car haulers winning edge

See how Mobil Delvac™ oils boosted the Tony Stewart Racing Team