Vehicle maintenance scheduling

Description / objective

Efficient companies carry out preventive maintenance – i.e. vehicles are serviced and are inspected at regular intervals to ensure that they remain in good operating and mechanical condition. The objectives are:

  • To avoid breakdowns in service
  • To avoid damage to the vehicle and to achieve/extend its economic operating life
  • To program the work of the maintenance resources in a predictable pattern, and thus optimise resources and costs

Maintenance usually consists of two basic cycles:

  • Light servicing, performed at regular intervals (e.g. every 1,500 to 3,000 kms), during which oil and filters are changed, light bulbs and other fittings are checked, and a light inspection is performed. This servicing might just take 1-2 hours and could be performed when the vehicle is withdrawn in the inter-peak period
  • Periodic servicing, performed at longer intervals (e.g. every 10,000 to 20,000 kms) during which some parts are replaced and a more thorough inspection is performed. Some maintenance work may be performed based on this inspection. Depending on the known life and performance of parts, parts may be scheduled for replacement at different periodic inspections and based on inspections, some parts may be replaced earlier or later than planned. This service usually requires the vehicle to be withdrawn from service for the day.

Other more substantial works and overhauls may be performed during the lifetime of the vehicle.

Vehicle Maintenance Scheduling systems plan, manage and report on these activities. The particular tasks include:

  • Keep a record of all vehicles in the fleet
  • Schedule all light and periodic servicing for all vehicles in accordance with the planned intervals (usually also taken account of annual vehicle inspection dates)
  • Schedule all parts replacements for all vehicles during periodic servicing, according to the relevant parts replacement strategy
  • Generate the job sheets and/or schedules for the maintenance units
  • Keep a record of all implemented planned and unplanned maintenance works, and reschedule any missed servicing
  • Keep a record of all inspection reports
  • Keep a record of all parts replacement
  • Generate reports for end-users and for other systems (e.g. maintenance accounting)

Technologies, data and resources

Vehicle Maintenance Scheduling systems are software applications. They can be obtained off the shelf, or may be offered by the vehicle supplier. Some larger companies prefer to develop their own systems in-house. They are not complex (in computational terms) but may be required to hold a large number of records (1000+ vehicles with many entries for each).

The system requires set-up data including the service intervals, parts inventory, part replacement intervals, vehicle fleet, maintenance shift arrangements, maintenance equipment slots, etc. The AVM system can provide the data of the operated kilometres, which may also be supplemented by hub odometers. Vehicle service reports may be input directly from computer stations at the maintenance facility, downloaded from handheld devices used by the maintenance technicians, or input manually from the maintenance record sheets. The system is also likely to be linked to the stores and parts inventory system.

Computational requirements are modest.

Advantages and cautions

The primary advantages of ITS-supported Vehicle Maintenance Scheduling functions are:

  • Consolidation of all schedules and records of planned and unplanned maintenance into a single system, with consistency of information.
  • Improved oversight of the planned maintenance activities
  • Automatic generation of maintenance schedules and job sheets
  • Reduced paperwork, and elimination of errors in manual data input.

There are no identified cautions associated with this ITS-related function.

Case Studies