Arsenault: Users aggressive in adopting VMRS

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Arsenault Associates has reported overwhelming acceptance of Vehicle Maintenance Reporting Standards (VMRS) as a maintenance reporting standard among its newer fleet maintenance software customers. Arsenault, the makers of Dossier fleet maintenance software solutions, reports that over the last four years, 95 percent of its new Dossier customers have implemented VMRS in their software systems to enhance their analysis, planning and industry communications capabilities.

At the same time, an internal Arsenault study revealed that as many as half of fleet professionals called on by Arsenault representatives previously were unaware of VMRS as a maintenance management tool. “We’ve come a long way — recognition and adoption of VMRS is improving,” says Charles Arsenault, chief executive officer of Burlington, N.J.-based Arsenault Associates. “But we still have a long way to go.”

VMRS was developed by the Technology and Maintenance Council (TMC) of the American Trucking Associations to provide a universal language between fleet maintenance personnel, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), industry suppliers and others who specify, purchase, operate and maintain equipment. VMRS standardizes equipment master records, and it uses a series of numeric codes to identify vehicle components, systems and assemblies, work accomplished, parts assemblies and part failures, as well as manufacturers and suppliers. Arsenault Associates says more and more OEMs are using VMRS to better communicate with fleets and verify warranty claims, premature failures and the like.

Now, according to Arsenault, virtually all vehicle fleets that implement its Dossier software also implement VMRS; the rare exception are customers who operate equipment that is not covered by the current VMRS codes, such as ski lift systems, certain specialized marine and mining equipment, and equipment for plant and building operations.

According to the study, Arsenault signed 262 new fleet customers between Jan. 1, 2005, and Jan, 1, 2009; of the total, 95 percent chose to implement VMRS. According to the company, the 262 fleets operate more than 161,000 individual units, including tractors, trailers, trucks of all sizes and configurations, automobiles, material handling equipment, generators and a wide variety of other mobile and stationary equipment; fleet sizes span from five units to more than 35,000 in 31 distinct industries.

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Arsenault says its account managers reported that no fleet objected to using VMRS codes and that most welcomed the preconfigured coding method and processes; they say customers frequently added some custom codes of their own, usually to address unique equipment not covered by VMRS coding or for their company’s internal accounting or human resources purposes.

Arsenault says that according to the report, as many as half of the fleets called on by the company previously were unaware of VMRS, and awareness actually was higher among small fleet managers than among those who managed large fleets. Dossier says its software was directly responsible for the introduction and implementation of VMRS in more than 60 percent of its new big-fleet customers.

According to Arsenault, companies using VMRS have a standard by which they can analyze their entire maintenance operation and costs — including histories — allowing them to pinpoint areas of excess expense and premature failure, and identify areas in need of increased efficiency and equipment utilization; between companies, VMRS enables benchmarking of equipment experience, expenses and overall performance of maintenance departments.

The company says its Dossier fleet maintenance software has integrated VMRS coding and workflow, and in-support customers receive all VMRS updates as part of Arsenault’s Software Maintenance & Support Services without any additional fees. According to Arsenault, new Dossier program releases incorporate VMRS updates as they are made available from TMC, which administers VMRS.