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Predictive Maintenance - How To Accelerate Cost Saving In Your Fleet

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The sound of “cost saving” is like music to the ears of fleet managers.

Major financial losses can come from things as simple as unforeseen vehicle maintenance as it often leads to surprise costs and downtime delays that hinder productivity. 

But what if there was a way to accelerate cost savings in your fleet by simply being able to anticipate and prevent future fleet challenges?

Well, there is and we unpack it all right here.

In this article, you will:

  • Learn more about what predictive maintenance for fleet management is
  • Get a how-to guide for cost-saving with a predictive maintenance programme
  • Gain insights into why you can’t afford to overlook predictive maintenance
  • Discover more about Cartrack’s cost-saving solutions using predictive maintenance
  • Explore the possibilities for fleet management with predictive maintenance

Predictive maintenance in Singapore is emerging as a game-changing way for businesses to save money.

Cartrack Singapore has developed plenty of AI technology and analytics solutions to service fleet managers and implement a maintenance program that helps businesses accelerate costs. 

But before we get into Cartrack’s predictive maintenance solutions, let’s make sure you understand what predictive maintenance software is and how it works.

What is predictive vehicle maintenance

Predictive maintenance relies on predictive analytics, which uses statistics, algorithms, data, machine learning and AI for vehicles and equipment for the maintenance of fleet vehicles and other equipment. 

Companies with commercial vehicles are constantly challenged by high downtime costs, unexpected breakdowns and inefficient maintenance. A predictive maintenance system ensures a smoother fleet operation. 

By implementing a predictive maintenance system, businesses can proactively monitor and analyse their vehicles’ current condition, and performance and detect possible occurrences of any issues or failures, to fix them before they become extremely costly. 

This technique is great at helping businesses save costs but how does predictive maintenance work?

What_is_predictive_vehicle_maintenance

How does predictive maintenance for fleet management work?

Predictive maintenance uses a combination of technologies and data analysis to anticipate equipment failures before they happen. For example, you get alerts when your oil and water levels are low. This allows for more proactive maintenance, saving you time and money in the long run.

Here's a quick breakdown of how it works:

Data Collection

Various types of data are collated from different sources such as telematics, software platforms, driver behaviour reports, vehicle information, operational usage of vehicles and equipment, fuel consumption and usage patterns. This data is then transmitted and stored for processing and data analysis.

Data Analysis

Artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms analyse the collected data, searching for patterns and anomalies that might indicate potential failure. These algorithms take into account historical data, manufacturer specifications, and environmental factors to build predictive models.

Prediction & Notifications

Based on the analysis, the system predicts the likelihood and timing of potential failures for specific components or the entire system. This information is then used to generate alerts and recommendations for maintenance interventions.

Proactive Maintenance

Geared with the predictions, fleet managers can organise maintenance schedules for repairs and replacements before the actual failure of the vehicles occurs which minimises downtime and associated costs. This helps fleet managers avoid reactive emergency repairs and allows for planning and resource allocation.

Now that you’ve mastered the basics of predictive maintenance, let’s clear up any confusion between preventative and predictive maintenance.

What is the difference between preventive and predictive fleet maintenance software?

Preventative maintenance is like a one-size-fits-all approach to maintenance. Fleet managers adhere to a set schedule for maintenance tasks, regardless of whether the vehicle needs it or not. It's a time-based or usage-based strategy, with the assumption that similar vehicles will need the same maintenance at the same intervals.

Managers can create preventive maintenance tasks like checking adjustments, cleaning, lubrication, repairs and replacements, and track when they should be performed by date, distance travelled, hours worked, or fuel used.

Predictive maintenance steps things up a notch. It is an evolved form of preventive maintenance that leverages real-time monitoring and data-driven decisions to determine maintenance needs.  It’s like having a personal nutritionist who gives advice based on your unique needs and adjusts as those needs change.

Instead of sticking to a strict maintenance schedule, predictive maintenance utilises historical data and real-time monitoring to make data-driven action plans. It uses advanced algorithms to analyse data collected from your vehicles, detecting patterns and trends that can indicate when a part is likely to fail.

Predictive maintenance is well-known for helping businesses avoid the high costs associated with other maintenance models. Instead of performing maintenance reactively when a part or component fails, or in other cases, replacing a component before it becomes necessary, PdM enables businesses to monitor equipment in real-time and perform maintenance exactly when and where it’s needed.

What fleet maintenance software is best suited for fleets: preventive or predictive?

Using both preventive and predictive fleet maintenance is suitable for your fleet management. With preventive software, fleet managers can effectively implement routine maintenance ensure compliance with manufacturer guidelines and help ensure a basic level of maintenance for your fleet. 

Predictive fleet management software offers more targeted and efficient maintenance, leveraging vehicle telematics and addressing maintenance needs at the optimal time. Predictive maintenance does not replace preventive maintenance, rather it enhances it. 

Predictive maintenance gives a layer of intelligence, using real-time data and AI to identify potential issues before they become problems, but it does not negate the need for regular, scheduled maintenance as outlined by manufacturers’ guidelines, which preventive maintenance software helps to manage.

What type of maintenance indicators can predictive maintenance track for fleet managers?

Predictive maintenance will predict potential issues and help fleet managers schedule proactive maintenance based on a wide range of indicators. Here are a few:

Vehicle health

This is a key indicator for predictive maintenance. Fleet managers receive alerts on different aspects of the vehicle such as

  • Engine performance: monitoring the engine temperature, oil pressure, fuel consumption, vibration levels, and exhaust emissions
  • Other vehicle component health: tire pressure and wear, brake pad thickness, battery voltage, fluid levels, and sensor data from different onboard systems.

Driver behaviour

Monitoring driver behaviour is useful for planning maintenance because drivers' actions can negatively contribute to the wear and tear of your vehicle. Drivers and fleet managers receive alerts on aspects such as

  • Aggressive driving: harsh braking, acceleration, and cornering could lead to premature wear and tear.
  • Other risky driving behaviours: fatigue, distraction, lack of seatbelt usage, or phone usage while driving. Monitoring these can promote safety and compliance with company policies.

Environmental factors

Plenty of environmental factors can affect vehicle performance and wear. Drivers and fleet managers receive alerts on:

  • Traffic patterns: Heavy traffic or congested routes can increase engine wear and tear.
  • Terrain: Hilly or rough terrain can put additional strain on vehicles.

Operational data

Operational data is also useful for predictive maintenance because this indicator helps fleet managers identify issues and scheduling. Drivers and fleet managers receive alerts on:

Historical data

Through access to historical data fleet managers can track the history of the vehicle information and its operation. This makes predictive maintenance possible. This is why this indicator is valuable:

  • Past maintenance records for each vehicle can be used to predict future failures and maintenance needs.
  • Accident and incident data can help identify patterns and help fleet managers implement preventive measures for accidents etc.

Instead of sticking to a strict maintenance schedule, predictive maintenance collects data from each of these indicators to detect patterns. With these insights, businesses have been able to accelerate cost savings.

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Pros and Cons of Predictive Maintenance

As the old saying goes, prevention is better than cure. Predictive maintenance has several advantages over reactive maintenance, let’s take a look at them:

Pros of Predictive Maintenance Cons of Predictive Maintenance
Vehicle/Equipment Downtime Reduced
By anticipating potential issues, maintenance can prevent unplanned downtime caused by unexpected equipment or vehicle breakdowns.
Costly Implementation
Predictive maintenance is costly, but companies benefit greatly when they implement it.
Cost Reduction
Increasing productivity and reducing maintenance costs result in serious cost savings by reducing the need for repairs after breakdowns or accidents.
Complex Data and Analytics
Implementing and maintaining predictive analysis is complex because it requires complex data and analytics.
Enhanced Safety
By identifying and addressing the maintenance needs of your vehicle and equipment, the overall safety of their use is enhanced.
Data Accuracy
Sometimes sensors disconnect, batteries die, or databases get full, preventing diagnostics from being captured, which can result in skewed data, misinformation, and incorrect service reminders.
Increased Efficiency
By automating maintenance and identifying issues early, businesses can increase efficiency and gain profits.
Limited Expertise
To properly benefit from predictive maintenance programs, businesses rely on experts in the data science and machine learning fields, which can be extremely costly to hire for companies that lack this expertise.
Extended Lifespan of Vehicles/Equipment
Maintenance can extend the lifetime of fleet equipment by identifying potential problems early and taking action.
Long Implementation Time
The time to implement a predictive maintenance solution will vary depending on the amount of data that needs to be collected and analyzed. Generally, this solution can take anywhere between 1-2 years.

You’ve mastered all the ins and outs of predictive maintenance but what’s really in it for your business? Let’s look at some of the main benefits.

The benefits of predictive maintenance for businesses

1. Minimising downtime

Unplanned vehicle downtime is not only inconvenient but a financial burden to any fleet business. Downtime is caused by several things, poor maintenance is one of the biggest contributing factors. Prolonged and avoidable downtime is a missed revenue-generating opportunity and this directly affects your business. However, with predictive maintenance insights, these unplanned losses can be minimised and result in cost savings.

2. Extended lifespan of fleet

Predictive maintenance can reduce the frequency of vehicle replacements and the associated acquisition costs which directly accelerates cost savings. Advanced insights into your vehicle condition, can help fleet managers get the most mileage and use of their fleet vehicles. This means, fleet managers can avoid the cost of acquiring vehicles to compensate for the tear on other vehicles, resulting in greater fleet longevity which directly boosts cost savings.

3. Improved safety

Accidents and vehicle damage can set a fleet operation behind and result in serious financial loss, from repairs to litigation costs etc. Enhancing driver safety through good maintenance is one of the most effective cost-saving methods for your fleet operation. Using predictive maintenance to address minor faults before they snowball into bigger problems can help your drivers avoid accidents and vehicle damage.

4. Fuel efficiency

Predictive maintenance helps identify inefficient fuel consumption patterns and potential engine issues. By addressing these early on, you can improve fuel efficiency, saving money on every gallon pumped.

5. Optimising maintenance budget

Instead of expensive emergency repairs, you can shift to predictable, planned maintenance. This lets you budget effectively and avoid unexpected financial shocks.

The benefits of implementing a predictive maintenance plan far outweigh the cost. If you’re thinking your business can get by without a predictive maintenance plan, consider these risks before making that decision final. 

The risk of forgoing a predictive maintenance plan for your fleet

Forgoing a predictive maintenance plan has negative consequences in the short and long term for your business. Here are a few risks you may face if you avoid implementing a maintenance plan in your fleet.

Risk #1 - Downtime

This is any business's nightmare. But it is inevitable when you are not equipped with a predictive maintenance plan.

Downtime is the result of unscheduled maintenance and repairs for your fleet vehicles and equipment that forces operations to stop until the vital machine is repaired. The downtime issue is that fleet managers and businesses cannot guarantee how long their operations will be halted, especially if there is serious damage to the vehicle or equipment. Predictive maintenance helps businesses avoid downtime, by fitting maintenance into their operational schedule.

Risk #2 - Property Damage

The cost of not maintaining your fleet vehicles or equipment is excessive property damage to your assets.

As you continue to use your equipment and vehicles, you wear them out. By not properly fitting scheduled maintenance, you shorten the lifespan of your assets. In the long run, this costs your business so much more. Businesses will have to replace vehicles and equipment faster and suffer more of a loss when attempting to trade or sell them because of their condition. 

Risk #3 - Major Safety Risk

Defective vehicles can also contribute to an increase in collisions, accidents and injuries.

Not keeping your vehicles well maintained can put your drivers and other employees at risk when operating your vehicle and other equipment. Common maintenance issues like fused brake lights, broken windshield wipers or even worn-out tyre treads can cause accidents, putting your drivers’ and other motorists’ lives at risk.

Risk #4 - Repeat issues

Avoiding your vehicle and equipment maintenance could result in recurring issues and costs.

If your vehicle or equipment is not repaired correctly with the right parts or equipment the first time, the same issues will likely occur again. One way to avoid this is to keep up with a predictive maintenance plan, as this helps fleet managers set realistic timelines for repairs to be carried out properly.

Risk #5 - High fuel consumption and costs

Poor maintenance means poor vehicle performance which results in more fuel usage.

If your car is not serviced and maintained properly over time, it will gradually burn more fuel. Predictive maintenance helps you ensure your vehicles are properly maintained so they can continue performing at optimal levels, this also helps you increase fleet longevity and resale value, saving you money in the long run.

It’s all good and well having all this maintenance information but how do you put the theory into practice? We’ve put together a quick 5-step guide on how to best implement a predictive maintenance system in your fleet.

Step-by-step guide to implementing predictive maintenance to your fleet

Step 1: Start small with a pilot - if you have 50 or more fleet vehicles, you can benefit from starting small with just a few of your fleet. This can help you reduce the cost of implementation, and begin to scale up with more of your fleet at a later stage.

Step 2: Asset health monitoring - with products such as CanBus integration fleet managers can access a variety of vehicle performance data and remotely monitor the state of their vehicle. 

Step 3: Optimise failure thresholds - once the data is collected, and you have established a failure threshold, you can begin to optimise these failure thresholds to assess the maintenance and service needs of your fleet. 

Step 4: Leverage data science - getting a data scientist on board, predictive maintenance can be automated by data scientists and engineers, especially for larger fleet vehicles. With data scientists, you can increase the predictive capabilities of your fleet. 

Step 5: Reaching smart predictive maintenance - now we can begin with cost saving. Through planning and predictive analysis, you can help your business benefit by performing maintenance as needed.

So, now you’re equipped with all the knowledge and tools to implement a predictive maintenance system in your business and start reaping the rewards. But what system is the best for your business?

How Cartrack’s fleet management system can help you keep your fleet in top-notch shape

Cartrack — a leading global ‘Software-as-a-Service’ platform provider for businesses of all sizes can help your business keep its vehicles healthy, avoid downtime and reduce maintenance costs. Here are 4 ways our fleet management solutions can help with your fleet maintenance:

Cartrack’s fleet maintenance software:

Keep up with the maintenance needs of your fleet, with our software. Fleet managers receive an alert whenever vehicle mechanical issues occur such as engine faults. This software quickly informs you about the specific vehicle that is faulty or that requires immediate repair or replacement. Our preventative maintenance software lets you schedule maintenance according to your fleet's schedule and ensure uninterrupted workflow. If a fault is detected, you can inform your drivers immediately and suggest where they can take the vehicle to get assistance. Overall, this helps you remain aware of any glaring maintenance issues so you can address them early on.

Driver behaviour monitoring:

Fleet managers can manage and improve driver behaviour using Cartrack’s driver behaviour monitoring system. Our driver scorecards help you gain detailed insights into which areas your drivers can improve on, this helps put an end to vehicle-damaging driving habits (including excessive speeding, harsh acceleration, and idling). Our advanced Driver Assistance System gives real-time audible alerts to help heighten your drivers’ awareness as they are driving. Drivers receive an audible alert when there are potential road hazards or dangerous following distances. When they receive these alerts then the drivers can quickly correct their behaviour and prevent collisions. These alerts help drivers detect any faults with the vehicle they are operating. By knowing this, they can also report a maintenance need to fleet managers even before the next scheduled maintenance date.

Route planning and optimisation:

This is available with Cartrack Delivery. Route optimisation helps fleet managers easily determine the safest and fastest routes for their drivers. By making use of real-time GPS tracking, the app alerts fleet managers of delays and route deviations in real-time, this helps fleet managers make informed rerouting decisions. Idling contributes to the wear and tear of a vehicle, often resulting in higher maintenance costs due to damage to the engine. Idling is also known to increase fuel consumption and overwork the engine components By making use of route optimisation, fleet managers can limit the unnecessary wear and tear on their vehicles and increase overall fleet health.

Fuel monitoring:

By making use of Cartrack’s fleet cost management system, fleet managers gain access to a fuel monitoring system. This system gives automated, real-time tracking and collection of data on fuel consumption, mileage, and engine operating hours. A sudden surge in your fleet’s fuel consumption could be indicative of a mechanical issue with your vehicles, such as malfunctioning fuel injectors, engine misfires, and clogged air filters. This fuel monitoring system helps you know if your vehicle needs to go in for a maintenance check. This predictive maintenance measure helps fleet managers stay ahead of their maintenance schedule, and avoid surprises that could lead to far more costly maintenance issues. 

Here’s how Cartrack’s fleet management system has helped a construction company with a major maintenance challenge.

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Cartrack Case Study in South Africa: Concord Cranes

Concord Cranes is a company specialising in crane hire solutions for businesses and organisations in construction. They have 15 branches and over 180 cranes. The company provides mobile cranes for hire, professional rigging services, and transportation and conducts lifting projects too.

One of their main business challenges was around maintenance to ensure on-time deliveries of their construction equipment. Cartrack's IoT device and specialised power take-off sensors make it possible for Concord Cranes to accurately monitor their crane's on-site working hours, and mileage travelled, and see exactly what equipment is used. This data allows them to track the condition and usage of their cranes so they can establish preventative maintenance measures for their clients and increase their fleet longevity.

With Cartrack’s actionable preventative maintenance insights from the fleet management system, Concord can lower maintenance costs by reducing the number of cranes sent for avoidable and expensive, fault-related repairs and minimising premature downtime for general services.

Concord Cranes also uses Cartrack’s fleet management and maintenance system to improve overall brand reliability with their customers, ensuring their cranes are always in safe and working order. Additionally, detailed maintenance schedules have reduced the number of unexpected breakdowns and allowed proactive planning for the timely availability and deliverability of cranes to customers.

“Using Cartrack’s advanced fleet management, we have been able to increase our operational efficiency to deliver a better service to our customers, as well as effortlessly establish a maintenance cycle that reduces our costs and increases our fleet longevity.” — Gareth Langley, Concord Cranes operations manager

Accelerate Cost Savings with Predictive Maintenance and Cartrack Singapore

Cartrack’s fleet management solutions and ‘Software-as-a-Service’ platform are equipped to seamlessly implement predictive maintenance solutions based on your business needs. 

Let’s strategise on the best solutions for cost savings for your fleet.

Contact Cartrack Singapore today here.

Predictive maintenance in Singapore is emerging as a game changer for businesses to accelerate cost savings on their fleet.