Under the Hood: How IoT Tech Transforms Fleet Ops

By January 8, 2018Product News

In Brief
Other industries embarking on digital transformations should take transportation’s lead in leveraging IoT. Fleet managers use IoT to tackle unplanned downtime, unite their fleets, and develop interactive repair processes to save money and increase productivity.

In Practice
From commercial trucking to agriculture and construction, heavy-duty vehicles play a vital role in business operations for many industries. But, maintenance and repair costs for these sophisticated, expensive assets can represent 20 to 30 percent of a vehicle’s lifetime cost. Because of this, owners and operators are constantly looking for new ways to save money on repairs, which can improve profitability and productivity.

Traditionally, manufacturers and fleet operators have broadly deployed telematics solutions to help gain insight into vehicle health. Unfortunately, that insight has historically been limited due to connectivity constraints and the inability to properly analyze the data generated by hundreds or even thousands of vehicles. But, that’s all changing due to advances in Internet of Things (IoT) technology.

Fleet operators can now create a well-designed Industrial IoT (IIoT) system capable of gathering and utilizing all the data their vehicles produce – even without continuous connectivity – and examining it in conjunction with related data sources, such as steering and transmission subsystems. This provides a deeper level of insight into vehicle conditioning, which allows an organization to dramatically improve uptime, reduce mean-time-to-repair, and more rapidly pinpoint the root cause of failures.

All of this translates into operational efficiency, which saves fleet managers time and money. But, how specifically are these organizations deploying IIoT solutions to solve real business issues? Here are three ways IIoT is transforming fleet operations:

Tackling Unplanned Downtime
Unscheduled downtime is a major concern for fleet operations and truck maintenance managers. In fact, it can have a ripple effect across the entire company, from supply chain disruption to lost revenue. Part of the challenge lies in being able to quickly diagnose a problem, obtain the needed parts and complete the repair. The average time required for a single repair is therefore measured in weeks, rather than days or hours.

IoT can enable significant strides in fleet uptime. Using real-time monitoring of truck telematics data, fleet managers can gain instant insights into diagnostic trouble code (DTC) faults as they happen. In many cases, multiple DTCs occur at once and IoT systems integrated into fleet management systems can analyze all the active fault codes along with current operating parameters to assign probabilities highlighting the most likely root cause. The right systems can even indicate which error conditions require immediate attention versus the DTCs that can wait.

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