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How to plan maintenance scheduling for your off-road equipment

Off-road equipment needs to be maintained in order to operate properly. Telematics can ensure you never miss a necessary PM service.

Proper maintenance is a vital part of keeping off-road equipment in peak operating condition and getting maximum life out of assets. However, maintenance can’t just be left to chance. In order to contain operating costs and ensure asset life, there needs to be a planned maintenance schedule for each asset. Bob Rauhof, Off-Road Business Development Manager at Geotab, shares his tips on how rental off-road fleets can use telematics for maintenance planning and scheduling.

How do you plan a maintenance schedule for off-road equipment? Every piece of off-road machinery needs a maintenance schedule. Most managers of rental off-road equipment bring their assets in at 100-, 250-, 500- and 1,000-hour intervals. In order to ensure that maintenance checks take place at the necessary intervals, set up a maintenance program within your fleet management software like MyGeotab. Once the program is set up, you will be notified when the hours threshold has been met so you will know to bring the asset in for its scheduled maintenance service.

What is one quick tip for making maintenance scheduling easier? MyGeotab allows you to customize your maintenance reminders either across the whole fleet of equipment, by asset type or on an individual asset basis. You can set reminders based on time, usage or a combination of both. Once you have set up the parameters, you will automatically receive reminders when it is time for an asset to be brought in for maintenance. In addition to being notified of upcoming maintenance service, MyGeotab even tracks overdue maintenance so you will know when maintenance service has been skipped. This allows you to stay on top of what is occurring with your assets and take steps to ensure outstanding maintenance service gets completed. Maintenance status can be viewed by more than one person, which means necessary maintenance service is less likely to be overlooked because the data is all in one place. Rauhof, who at one point in his career managed fleets of over $12 million, says as good as service managers are, even they can overlook or miss a preventive maintenance (PM) event without a way to alert them. Setting up automatic reminders makes it easier to keep track of even the largest fleet.

What else should managers consider when planning maintenance? Utilization on the job site can have a big impact on equipment condition. Not all equipment is used in exactly the same way on a job site. Some assets may get used more frequently or operate in harsher conditions, therefore they may need different maintenance schedules or may reach their maintenance thresholds more quickly than other assets. Consider this example. There are three pieces of equipment on a site, two of them are running three hours a day and one is only being used three hours a week. At another job site a piece of equipment is putting in 10 hours a day. Looking at the data will allow you to see that one piece of equipment is being underutilized so perhaps it can be moved to that second site to spread out the workload between two machines so that one does not get overworked. The end result is two pieces of equipment on each site instead of an overload of three on one site and an underload of one by itself. Splitting up the utilization helps ensure that all equipment is working most efficiently.

Balance utilization for longer equipment life When you have one asset working only three hours a week while another is putting in 50 hours a week you are compromising the long-term life of the machine because you are overworking it. Spreading out utilization actually gives longer life to the fleet. The example above applies to a company using the asset, but rental companies are also interested in utilization. To rental companies, utilization refers to how much of their fleet is rented. For example, if they have $100 million worth of assets in the fleet and $70 million of that is out on rental, they have a 70% utilization rate. Looked at another way, if they have 100 pieces of equipment and 70 are on rental, they have 70% utilization.

Let telematics help Rental off-road fleets are using telematics to streamline maintenance and keep equipment in good shape longer to meet demand and to grow. Telematics devices keep track of asset usage which is the basis for all maintenance interval schedules. Setting maintenance schedules and receiving notifications of upcoming maintenance events ensures that each asset is brought in for maintenance according to the usage parameters set by the fleet manager.

The Geotab GO9 RUGGED is a ruggedized telematics device specifically for off-road vehicles and with an IP68/IP69K rating, it can withstand the harsh conditions of the jobsite and collect usage information needed to trigger PM reminders.

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