No need to dread treads

Prophesy Transportation Solutions (www.mile.com) said it is working with BestTransport.com to provide a single, simple on-demand application for planning, execution and settlement. BestTransport’s execution technology will utilize Prophesy’s load-building and route-optimization systems to form one integrated system for all freight transactions.

Vigillo (www.vigillo.com) announced the availability of a Web-based application designed to organize and monitor policies, forms, training, assessments and management reports. The customizable Vigillo system reduces the time-consuming tasks involved in preparing compliance documentation, the company says.

Flying J Enterprise Solutions introduced the DriveLine Load Exchange (www.fjdriveline.com), which includes unlimited exposure to more than 250 Flying J travel plazas and more than one million registered Flying J Frequent Fueler customers, the company says.

Transportation Costing Group (www.tcgcis.com) said that E.L. Hollingsworth & Co. adopted its Truckload Cost Information System (TL/CIS) and is using the solution in conjunction with a new interface to TMWSuite, written for TCG by TMW Systems.

Cadec Global (www.cadec.com) says its fleet management solution helped one of its customers, Northwest Food Products Transportation, save $500,000 in fuel in its first year of use. NFPT continues to benefit from better fuel economy and improved log compliance, Cadec says.

With the right information, carriers can reduce costs and improve reliability in one of the most important areas of fleet maintenance – tires. But without the right technology to simplify the collection and analysis of data from an entire fleet’s worth of tires, any effort to track tire costs may seem like too much effort for too little payback.

Calculating the true cost per mile of tires for just one vehicle requires tracking down the cost of the tires that came with the vehicle, any replacement tires, road purchases, retreads, labor, vehicle downtime and tread wear rates (i.e. miles per 1/32-inch). Additional tire costs include inventory and disposal costs.

Using a simple spreadsheet, fleet maintenance managers could build an application that follows the recommended practice (RP 208) for tracking tire costs as set forth by the Technology and Maintenance Council (TMC) of the American Trucking Associations. The RP details all the essential parameters to measure and analyze tire-related costs, says Tim Miller, commercial tire marketing communications manager for Goodyear Tire and Rubber. Goodyear and other tire makers offer software tools for tracking costs.

Automation of data entry is the driving force behind many of the latest software systems for tire management. Arsenault Associates (www.arsenault.biz) plans to release its Dossier Tire Management System this month following several months of beta testing. The system initially will be offered as a module in the Dossier fleet maintenance management program, but the company also is considering offering it as a standalone system, says Charles Arsenault, chief executive officer.

The new software program is geared specifically to helping fleet maintenance managers determine and analyze their tire costs on a per-mile per-vehicle basis, Arsenault says. To help minimize the data entry necessary to capture two of the essential elements of tire management – air pressure and tread depth – Arsenault offers Pocket Dossier, a mobile version of its Dossier management system.

Using a handheld computer, a technician scans a barcode on the vehicle. Pocket Dossier brings up a list of tires for the vehicle at each location. The technician then scans a barcode or RFID tag on each tire to validate the data entry against the physical tire. The technician uses two wireless Bluetooth tire probes – one to measure air pressure and another to measure tread depth – to automate the entry of data into the software system. Arsenault says that having fast, accurate data entry of tread depth and tire pressure saves about 30 seconds per tire versus a manual approach.

Squarerigger Software (www.squarerigger.com) plans to release a standalone tire tracking module at the end of the third quarter, says Ed Cooper, CEO. The fleet maintenance software developer released the first version of its tire tracking system in 1998; until now, the software has been embedded into its SQ7 fleet maintenance system. The new tire tracking module will be available in PC and a handheld version with wireless communications to automate the data collection from tread depth and tire pressure readers, Cooper says.

Various tire pressure monitoring and inflation systems can collect real-time data on tire conditions, even while the vehicle is moving. Several software vendors incorporate real-time tire monitoring technology to automate data entry into their tire management software.

TireStamp (www.tirestamp.com) provides the TireVigil recordkeeping system designed to integrate with mobile communications systems and sensors onboard the vehicle to capture tire pressure and temperature in each tire. To interact with an onboard mobile communications device, TireVigil requires the installation of tire pressure sensors, a tire sensor receiver, antennae and a Tire Data Monitor.

The Web-based TireVigil program is a subscription-based service designed to provide fleets with alerts and reports based on continuous monitoring of tire data. The application also keeps track of tire mileages and other cost information to calculate cost per mile, the company says.

Stemco (www.stemco.com) says its Bat RF product line provides tire pressure and mileage information wirelessly – via a handheld, gate reader or vehicle tracking device – to its online tire management software system, WebBat RF. Fleets attach a small reader to each axle hub to track the inflation of each tire and its mileage. In addition to the alerts and reports available in WebBat RF, LED lights on the reader flash to alert drivers and fleet managers to underinflated tires.

Automating the data entry of the most important parameters of tire management – air pressure and tire identification – can free up more time to pay closer attention to collecting and managing the other information necessary to truly understand your tire costs.