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How to use fleet maintenance management resources wisely

July 6, 2021
Informational sources are available to provide the knowledge you need for the task at hand.

Managing a fleet – or even a fleet’s maintenance department – is no simple task. In a given day, you might be reviewing maintenance records, analyzing telematics data, spec’ing new vehicles, dealing with a truck that is experiencing unexpected downtime … and then there are the personnel issues.

A manager’s job is seemingly never finished; the tasks are endless. And yet, each day you increase your knowledge on way or another. Knowing the basics of vehicle service and repair is no longer enough. A manager must also be an expert in electrical systems, computer systems, ADAS calibration, human resources … the list goes on.

With so much to learn and understand, it is important to utilize all of the resources available to you. A quick web search on the topic at hand will yield plenty of results, but the accuracy could be questionable. For the most authoritative materials available, turn to the organizations dedicated to providing the most accurate, up-to-date information available to the commercial vehicle industry.

Maintenance and repair information

One of the leading resources for commercial vehicle maintenance and repair information is the American Trucking Associations’ Technology and Maintenance Council (TMC). If you are not already familiar, TMC is dedicated to providing maintenance solutions to the commercial vehicle industry through various avenues such as education, networking, and standards development.

TMC hosts various events every year, including a trade show, industry meetings, training, and webinars. The organization’s website also offers access to information such as recommended practices (RPs) and vehicle maintenance reporting standards (VMRS), reports and documents, job listings, and training resources.

Training

Another important resource you should be familiar with when it comes to technician training is the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). This non-profit has been around since the early 1970s and offers training and certification for vehicle technicians. Many of ASE’s training sessions apply to multiple vehicle classes, while some focus specifically on heavy duty, so this is a great resource to keep in your back pocket for future technician training needs.

Right to Repair information

In the mid-2010s, the Right to Repair Act and subsequent memorandum of understanding were passed, and truck and engine manufacturers agreed to provide service information to owners, fleets, and independent service providers. The National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF) works to identify and help resolve any gaps in this information, so if you or your technicians find that any information that should be available is not, submit a service information request form by creating a free account on NASTF’s website.

Job boards

The current technician shortage makes finding certified, experienced technicians a challenge, to say the least. Utilizing job boards specifically targeted to automotive and diesel technicians can help to ease that burden. Find a Wrench is one such resource that provides a place for fleets to list open positions and find and recruit technicians for those jobs.

Specific industry associations

When you need information, technician training, or general resources in a specific area of fleet maintenance, industry associations are at your disposal. The Tire Industry Association (TIA), for example, supports the commercial tire market with services and programs, including technician education and certification. Tires being one of the leading costs for fleets, this is an important category to be well-versed in, but there are also organizations for many other areas of vehicle service and repair, such as the Tire Retread & Repair Information Bureau (TRIB) and the HD Repair Forum.

Manufacturers

This is probably apparent, but it is still worth mentioning: manufacturers can be a great resource. From truck OEMs and engine manufacturers to tire and retread companies, most suppliers are more than willing to provide any resources you need. Whether it be to coordinate training for technicians or an in-depth explanation of a new tire inflator or diagnostic scan tool, reach out to these resources for valuable insight.

While this list is far from exhaustive, it highlights some important resources that you, as a maintenance manager, should be aware of. Utilizing available resources is a good business practice and can help your entire fleet be as efficient as possible, improving uptime and keeping technicians well trained and satisfied with their career.

About the Author

David Brierley | Editor | Fleet Maintenance

David Brierley is a former editor of Fleet Maintenance magazine.

Brierley’s education and career have been based in the publishing industry. He is an award-winning writer and comes from a background in automotive, trucking, and heavy equipment. Brierley joined the Endeavor Business Media vehicle repair group in 2017 as managing editor for Fleet Maintenance, PTEN, and Professional Distributor magazines, as well as VehicleServicePros.com. In his current role, he writes for and oversees production of Fleet Maintenance magazine. He has worked in the publishing industry since 2011.

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