What is your PM process?
One operation uses a digitized, voice-command process
to make PM inspections more consistent and effi cient.
In the 2018 Fleet Maintenance Readership
Study, we asked readers to describe their
regular maintenance schedules for equipment.
While 90 percent of respondents confi rmed
they adhere to some form of a preventative
maintenance program, the type of PM scheduling
8 Fleet Maintenance | June 2018
varies from developing and continually
updating a comprehensive PM for each type of
equipment to following manufacturer’s recommended
guidelines for maintenance.
Not to mention, just because you’ve got a PM
process in place, do your technicians follow
it? It’s one thing to have procedures in place,
it’s another to follow PMs and ensure they’re
being completed accurately and thoroughly.
Plus, how do you keep things consistent from
tech to tech and asset to asset?
One way to get consistent PMs
I recently got a fi rst-hand look at how one facility
is implementing a more consistent and effi -
cient PM process. Penske launched its digitized,
voice-command PM process earlier this year. I
got to see the process in action while touring a
local Penske facility in southeast Wisconsin.
Th e process begins with the driver completing
a digital DVIR via an iPad kiosk when they
arrive at the facility. Having the information in
a digital format has helped to streamline the
vehicle service process, provide a consistent
format for details from customers and coincidentally,
aids in getting more information out
“It’s a lot quicker than fi lling out the paper
form,” Tony Popple, senior director of maintenance
for Penske, told me. “And we’re getting
so much more detail from the drivers on this,
than on paper. It’s really helping us out when
we’re trying to fi gure out what’s wrong with
Dependent on the needs of the customer —
whether they need a regular PM, additional
repairs or diagnostic work — this information
goes back to the service desk, and is placed in
a queue to prioritize service. Th e job is then
assigned to a technician.
At this location, Penske has two dedicated
bays specifi cally for PMs. Technicians completing
the PMs wear a headset, equipped with
headphones and a microphone, so they can
listen to and follow step-by-step commands,
providing verbal responses that are then
recorded. Th e full PM is completed and sent
back to the service management system as a
digital log of the PM, and saved as part of the
service history for that vehicle.
Many of the questions require only “yes”
or “no” responses; but PACE, as the program’s
voice is known, guides the technician through
each step, recording responses and repeating
back simple values. For instance, a technician
will provide the tire pressure by reading off
individual numbers (e.g. one-zero-three). Pace
then repeats this information back to the technician,
to confi rm. And, if necessary, the technician
can go back and correct this information.
Technicians are provided a cheat sheet with
the list of commands available - such as “sleep”
“wake up” and “say again” - but Popple confi rms
they pick up on the process rather quickly and
rarely refer to the cheat sheet.
What about employees with heavy accents,
speech issues or shop environment noise? All
of this has been taken into account, based on
customizable, individualized voice recognition
setup for each technician, and noise
cancellation or enhancement functionality,
Each tech has his or her own personalized
login, complete with customized and individualized
voice recognition set up when their
account was fi rst created. At the beginning
of a shift , the technician checks out a headset
from the brand service manager’s offi ce that
they use for the day.
In addition to setting up the digitized
voice-command process, Penske also employs
some additional strategies
for optimizing PMs.
As mentioned earlier, this
Penske location has two bays
cordoned off specifi cally for
PM service. In this area of the
shop, they had a specifi c toolbox
setup with all the tools
and equipment needed in one
location for the PM.
“One, you control the
tooling,” Jim Sukow, district
service manager for Penske,
says. “Two, it’s also for new
hires and entry-level technicians.
Th ere’s 50,000 dollars
worth of tools. We can hire
a technician straight from
college and they can work
solely out of that box (without
buying their own tools).”
Analysis and adaptability are also critical.
Take, for instance, the steps on a PM procedure.
Sukow provided this example:
“It’s going to get to the point where it’s going
to know exactly by unit number what type of
truck it is – Volvo, Freightliner with a Detroit,
Freightliner with a Cummins – and it’ll change
the process or fl ow. On a Volvo you’ve got the
fuel fi lters on your right-hand side, and on
the Detroit it’s on the left -hand side. It’s going
to know, and (the PM process steps) can be
tailored to the unit exactly.”
In the future, Popple says Penske hopes to
expand this technology out further. Th e company
has already developed comprehensive maintenance
schedules for year one through three.
Th ey would like to focus on completing the
maintenance lifecycle scheduling through year
eight, before expanding to other areas in the
shop such as battery tests, new vehicle inspections,
guided diagnostics, yard checks and more.
Th e mantra of the maintenance industry is
best encapsulated by the famous Benjamin
Franklin quote, “An ounce of prevention is
worth a pound of cure.”
While it may not be feasible for every fl eet to
adopt this specifi c technology, there are certainly
ways to improve upon the PM process. How do
you keep PMs consistent for each technician? Do
you have a designated area and/or tool setup just
for PMs? I’d be interested to hear from you.
» Penske technicians receive
training to conduct PMs
instead of by paper.