Asset & Vehicle Tracking for Improved Maintenance Management

How to Improve Maintenance Management with Fleet and Equipment Tracking

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Tracking assets and vehicles can prolong equipment life, reduce operational costs and risk, and more

Companies leverage tracking technologies to monitor the location, working conditions and productivity of fixed and mobile assets. They gain maximum visibility of multiple assets while gaining sufficient data to optimize routing, production, and maintenance planning. Asset and equipment tracking technologies keep improving with the integration of advanced technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the internet of things (IoT) sensors that enhance the autonomy of devices and the accuracy and quality of collected data.

Several tracking technologies exist in the market, with companies investing in solutions that solve daily operational challenges, are easy to integrate with existing technologies and are affordable to implement and sustain. These technologies include:

  • Global positioning systems (GPS)
  • Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
  • Near field communication (NFC)
  • Condition monitoring sensors
  • Barcode labeling

The asset and equipment tracking market will maintain an upward trend to reach a market value of US $6.6 billion by 2027. More companies are implementing IoT and AI-based fleet and equipment tracking solutions facilitating seamless integration with multiple industrial and enterprise solutions. Over 90% of fleet tracking solutions will leverage IoT technology in 2030.

How can companies improve maintenance management by investing in appropriate fleet and equipment tracking technologies?

Deeper understanding of assets and their behavior

Fleet and equipment tracking is resource and time intensive since companies implement multiple preventative and corrective measures to maximize asset productivity. Modern maintenance strategies demand access to different sets of data, including real-time asset performance, nature, and frequency of fleet or asset failure. Also, the impacts of asset and equipment utilization patterns on their productivity. While data access is vital for streamlining modern operations, companies may face challenges if data is decentralized.

Fleet and equipment tracking solutions work collaboratively with other digital maintenance management technologies. Companies can integrate tracking technologies with computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) that enhance maintenance scheduling, resource planning, work order management and maintenance, repairs and operation (MRO) inventory management.

"Tracking equipment and vehicles gives visibility to how often they fail, the impact and similarity of failures, spare parts and tools requirements, and help generate insights to ensure optimal maintenance." -Bryan Christiansen @LimbleCMMS Click To Tweet

Such digital systems enable companies to centralize the collection, storage, and data analysis for all assets under their care. Managers gain optimal visibility over these assets, how often they fail, the impact and similarity of failures, spare parts and tools requirements. Digital systems can collect and process tons of information faster and accurately, providing insights for companies to establish reliable maintenance strategies, plan maintenance budgets, hire and train maintenance technicians and manage maintenance inventories.

By centralizing critical maintenance data, companies can compare the reliability of different maintenance strategies. They can also advance the implementation of a predictive maintenance program and address challenges that preventive or corrective measures cannot solve. The data is vital for continuously improving the efficiency of maintenance work and maximizing fleet and equipment productivity.

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Better root cause analysis and risk management

Asset maintenance is not limited to the correction and prevention of asset failures only – it involves identifying and eliminating causes of common failures and mitigating risks associated with poor maintenance. These interventions translate to better fleet and equipment efficiency and predictable performance. Tracking leverages several sensors that monitor the real-time performance of different assets, measuring conditions like oil temperature, pressure, and speed of mobile assets, among other variables.

When leveraging the condition-monitoring capabilities of asset-tracking technologies, companies can develop functional algorithms that detect anomalies and underlying defects impeding asset productivity. Companies can identify instances and asset utilization patterns that trigger failures and pinpoint the exact conditions causing breakdowns. It enables technicians to conduct conclusive root cause analysis and eliminate common causes of equipment and part failures.

Fleet and equipment tracking enables companies to automate risk analysis and reporting. They can assign safety risk factors based on operator behavior, age of assets, fleet and equipment failure rates and asset maintenance demands. After conducting root cause and risk analysis, companies can develop asset-specific maintenance schedules and prioritize resource allocation for problematic fleets and equipment. The root cause and risk analysis also help senior management develop and update standard operating procedures (SOPs) to enhance employee safety and quality of maintenance work for increased fleet and equipment efficiency.

Enhanced compliance and safety standards

Companies are under constant pressure to reduce emissions, enhance energy efficiency and comply with different regulations. Fleet and equipment used for transportation account for over 27% of greenhouse gas emissions. Companies must devise reliable maintenance strategies to optimize energy consumption, control emission, and maintain environmental safety standards. Failing to maintain fleet and equipment raises the operational costs due to excess energy consumption, compensations to staff and the public for endangering their health and life, and frequent fines paid to regulatory authorities for non-compliance.

Tracking, backed by IoT technology, provides companies with real-time asset performance data, enabling them to detect increased energy consumption, abnormal emissions, and non-productive fleet and equipment. These sensors will measure fuel consumption based on mileage or uptime hours while recording the number of greenhouse gasses emitted by each asset. The company compares energy consumption and emission values against the recommended or allowable limits. Excess emission or erratic consumption could indicate the existence of underlying defects and obsolescence of control and operating technologies.

Companies use the information collected by the sensors to evaluate their compliance with safety and environmental standards. The available data enables managers to reorganize maintenance intervals and introduce appropriate diagnosis and repair tools to rectify inefficient assets. They can also leverage the data to decide whether and when to discard, refurbish or upgrade aging fleet and equipment to ensure compliance with statutory regulations, sustainable operations, safe emission and noise levels.

Prolonged and more predictable asset life

Assets can provide adequate returns on investment for a predetermined time based on usage patterns and maintenance. Sometimes, assets are retired before the end of their useful lives due to frequent breakdowns, poor productivity and increased maintenance costs. While maintenance extends the life of fleet and equipment, it may be difficult for companies to predict its usability beyond a particular age limit or production cycles without reference to data.

How to Improve Maintenance Management with Fleet and Equipment Tracking: Integrating fleet and equipment tracking with IoT-based sensors can identify minute defects and avert costly breakdowns. -Bryan Christiansen @LimbleCMMS Click To Tweet

Companies use digital technology to automate fleet and equipment operations, increasing the demand for technical knowledge when maintaining assets. This changes maintenance planning requirements and increases the demand for data. Companies that integrate fleet and equipment tracking with IoT-based sensors and AI can collect data throughout the lifetime of an asset. These systems analyze asset performance with time and can predict how long the fleet or equipment will be usable based on prevailing operating conditions and maintenance cycles.

Condition monitoring systems can identify minute defects and generate timely alerts for maintenance teams to promptly rectify them and avert costly breakdowns that can damage critical parts, causing premature retirement of production assets.

Asset performance data, collected over its lifetime, is used by manufacturers to improve subsequent equipment designs to ensure they are long-lasting and maintainable.

An investment that pays long term dividends

Fleet and equipment tracking solutions can be costly, yet they can improve productivity, safety, and energy consumption while reducing operational costs and minimizing liabilities. It takes time for the company to implement asset-tracking solutions, and companies should identify a few assets in the early stages before scaling them.

Fleet and equipment managers should continuously explore advanced tracking technologies and seek innovative ways to integrate them with existing production and asset management systems. Companies can gain maximum value by streamlining data management and utilizing safe data practices.

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