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Review Maintenance Programs Via Internet

While vehicle maintenance can be a snarl of schedules, parts supplies, and employee management, the use of computerized programs has made today's job a lot easier. Maintenance directors say there are many programs to choose from, which gives managers an opportunity to tailor a program to the company's specific needs.

The Internet plays a large role in all of this because it offers managers the opportunity to review programs that are available. There are so many software packages to choose from that managers are well-served to start the selection process on the web. Computerized Fleet Analysis Inc, Addison, Illinois, posts on its home page information about training sessions that are scheduled for its programs. Sample screens of the maintenance program, CFAWIN96, can be viewed on the web site.

For example, the first page shows entries for handling identification data. By clicking on the screen, a second page appears that demonstrates repair and maintenance scheduling. Each succeeding screen demonstrates the other program services - repair orders, fuel entries, and generating various reports.

Information about customer support can be accessed through the web site with the use of a password. CPI Pro Series Software, a division of Computer Publications Inc of Tulsa, Oklahoma, offers a program for shop maintenance among its range of services.

According to the web site, the program, Maintpro, will replace old files and keep more accurate records, lists new repair history summary reports, new parts usage summary reports, keeps a parts inventory, keeps track of all labor and parts transactions, and alerts managers of future preventive needs.

Other services are available, including a tire program, advanced bar coding management, customer-department invoicing, and a time in attendance (TIA) program for mechanics. The TIA program assigns repair orders, work orders, and priority sequence. It tracks all indirect and direct labor on a virtual time card. Prophesy Transportation Software Inc, Bloomfield, Connecticut, has a maintenance program called Fleet Trax that is designed to generate work orders that are easy to understand, according to the web site.

The program will schedule maintenance procedures by hours, days, or miles. It provides multi-site capability, access and control inventory, purchase order or warranty information on any vehicle at any site and at any time.

Support and cross reference of more than 9,000 industry standard VMRS codes also are part of the offering.

A demonstration version of the maintenance program can be downloaded by submitting an e-mail address. On the web site, screen shots are available that can be enlarged for viewing. If tires are a concern, Goodyear, Akron, Ohio, has a maintenance program called TVTRACK. The program tracks the performance of specific tires on a representative vehicle sample, according to the web site information. The program allows carriers to make decisions on future tire purchases based on real data from their fleets.

Another program, TVC II, includes a catalog of vehicles, new and retread tires, and service vocation information. It includes over 800 photographs of every commercial tire, including retreads, as well as engineering data for all Goodyear tires. The program will analyze individual carrier needs and allow users to determine the tire they need for their particular operation. Tom McLeod Software Corporation, Birmingham, Alabama, has LoadMaster, a maintenance program that tracks parts warranty, supports bar coding for parts/labor data entry and physical inventory, and repair order screen allows entry of all daily data entry for maintenance. The segment of the program for reports includes item stock status, maintenance trend analysis by vehicle, core stock reports, units due for preventive maintenance, and maintenance cost by component. Customers have a secured log-in site for dedicated service. Shell VehicleMinder, affiliated with Shell Fleet Services, emphasizes that its program is learner friendly and user friendly.Sample screens can be enlarged for better viewing.

With a passcode from a company sales representative, the program can be downloaded from the web site. Some of the program's services are tooled for maintaining preventive maintenance schedules, tracking maintenance and inspections, and generating next due and history reports.

The program can be used to monitor and control fuel costs, track and analyze tire life, and keep employee records.

Options include bar coding and parts inventory. SSI Software, West Des Moines, Iowa, discusses its COLTS maintenance program that interfaces with dispatching. With it, shop personnel can flag equipment for pending service or preventive maintenance, according to the information.

The program includes inventory control for parts that will compare the prices of three companies at a time. In the preventive maintenance part of the program, mileages can be calculated from hubmeter or odometer readings that can be entered through the dispatch module.

Various reports can be generated from the data that is gathered, including driver cost summary, driver maintenance history, equipment cost summary, equipment maintenance history, equipment preventive listing, inventory count report, and inventory value report. TMT Software Co, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, uses strategic partnering with its customers that use its maintenance programs, according to the web site. Customers are chosen to be part of the company's Strategic Alliance Teams (SAT)that meet twice a year to discuss and brainstorm the company's products.

The program contains management solutions for equipment, shop, facility, parts, purchasing , fuel, warranty, and bar coding.

One of the features of the site is its customer service that includes a page for product upgrades and patches. Also included is a documentation page that offers a program workbook, file layout structures, and the administration and installation guide. Customers enter the area with a password. TMW Systems Inc of Beachwood, Ohio, discusses its maintenance system, ShopLink, in easily understood terms. You don't have to be a computer whiz. ShopLink is a system for vehicle management and cost analysis. The web site details many of the program's features. For example, when A, B, and C preventive maintenance (PM) is performed and the user closes a "C" PM, the program automatically updates A and B, according to the information.

Other uses of the program also are listed, including preventive maintenance based on fuel usage, a bar code feature that generates labels and uses any type of reader, and sections that define an individual tool box for each mechanic and tracks tools as parts. Warranty status and reasons for delay can be tracked. The program updates inventory as purchases are received and will hold purchasing orders open for backorders as long as needed.

In addition to the maintenance program, the web site provides a long list of the company's other products. TMW develops and supports systems for sales, customer service, and administration, including maintenance, accounting, and finance. Products that are under development also are discussed. Arsenault Associates, Atco, New Jersey, provides both a CD and a web site demonstration of company products. The five programs are each tailored for specific applications, according to the information. Among the choices is a program that includes automatic costing of parts and labor, a self-maintaining parts inventory tracking system with purchase orders, vendor tracking, mechanic productivity, and driver records. Another program is meant for smaller fleets of under 50 total units. There is a program for the average fleet to control basic elements of fleet operations without parts inventory, labor productivity, driver, or part vendor control. The multi-user program is meant for large fleets that have multiple locations, but want them all working on the same program on one central computer.

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