Asset Management Considerations for Carriers

The asset management needs for carriers can be both varied and complex.  And these needs can differ depending on the type of carrier.  Local and regional delivery companies’ requirements can be very different from that of over-the-road equipment.  This often means that trucks, tractors, trailers, vans, and other equipment must be spec’d and maintained differently, depending on application, which poses unique challenges for enterprise asset management (EAM) and other asset management systems.

Asset Management

Asset Management Needs Can Vary by Equipment Type

For example, regional carriers, whether less-than-truckload or truckload, must operate with maximum efficiencies and productivity in mind.  Loading and unloading must be done effortlessly, and assets must have maximum maneuverability and visibility.  In addition, vehicles often have auxiliary equipment that must be maintained and calibrated, which is in addition to the underlying truck, tractor, or trailer chassis.  These vehicles often have installed assemblies or subassemblies that are purpose-built for fast and efficient deliveries and protection and preservation of cargo.  Such equipment can include power liftgates, refrigerator units, mobile pallet jacks, lifting axles, and other equipment often used in urban and suburban settings.

Also, since these vehicles must provide unobstructed visibility and maneuverability when accessing hard-to-access loading docks and delivery zones, daily inspections and repairs must occur to adjust or replace mirrors, lights, tires, and other equipment that might have been damaged during the previous shift.  Typically, this equipment returns to a central location each evening where repairs can be planned and scheduled.

For over-the-road TL carriers and private fleets, the trucks, tractors, and trailer are expected to run flawlessly between maintenance events, particularly vehicles in long-haul operations that can run 100,000+ miles per year.  These trucks and tractor-trailers may also include such equipment as reefers, power liftgates, auxiliary power units, and lift axles.  Managing these vehicles can be difficult because they are often on the road for days or weeks at a time, so maintenance providers must be sourced, and work planned and executed from afar.  All of this information must be readily identified and planned via an asset management system, and often requiring an EAM solution that can accommodate the needs of rolling stock.

Other Unique Asset Management Challenges for Rolling Stock

In addition to add-on equipment and accessories used by freight haulers, the very fact that equipment is mobile offers challenges for asset management systems.  One example is position codes, or identifying where equipment is installed on an asset.  Since vehicles are supported, propelled, and stopped by tires, wheels, hubs, brakes, suspensions, tires, and other components, the asset management system must be able to categorize the relative position of assemblies and subassemblies (e.g., left front tire or wheel) on the parent asset (a truck, tractor, or trailer).  Such positioning information is not used, or infrequently used, in many plant environments.

Another area where rolling stock asset management systems can differ from other systems is the need to identify vocations and specific applications.  For example, stop-and-go city and suburban equipment will have different preventative maintenance scheduling parameters than high-mileage, over-the-road trucks, tractors, and trailers.  And within these types of vehicles, there are also specific inspections and repairs that can be triggered by mileage, time, engine and/or operating hours.  These varying duty cycles within similar asset classes are common with vehicles and not generally seen in typical plant environments.

Final Thoughts

For organizations contemplating an EAM or other asset management solution for their freight hauling needs, they should be aware of the unique requirements of rolling stock asset management.  The wide variety of assemblies and subassemblies and position code information are important considerations when evaluating such systems.  Such a review would also be recommended for organizations that manage both traditional assets and rolling stock as part of their EAM system requirements.

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