Arsenault: a national repository of fleet operating data will emerge

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In the future, government regulators will likely use vehicle data gathered electronically from the nation’s fleets to generate new rules — with profound impact on fleet maintenance practices. The prediction came in a talk by Charles Arsenault, CEO of Arsenault Associates, before the 21st Annual Dossier User Group in Nashville, Tenn., last month.

Arsenault offered a number of predictions based on his long experience in the maintenance field and his take on current trends. Arsenault Associates, the company he founded, provides the Dossier maintenance management solutions and is marking its 30th anniversary this year.

“As fleet maintenance software and related technologies become more prevalent, a national repository of fleet operating data will emerge. New government regulations will be developed from this data, and fleets will be required to document that their equipment is operating within ‘legal compliance’ of these national standards,” Arsenault said.

“More documentation will be required of the fleet maintenance department on safety and environmental issues. These will be addressed and enforced through extended annual inspections,” he added.

Arsenault stressed that his comments were not endorsements of such policies, only projections based on trends he sees.

Arsenault predicted that safety and environmental technologies now provided by individual firms will be incorporated in future vehicles by OEMs — initially as options, then as standard equipment based on government regulations.

In his look forward, Arsenault said we can expect more information technology initiatives from OEMs. Specifically, he said:

Mergers among fleet technology providers will intensify while OEMs and other vendors will seek technology partners to differentiate themselves.

OEMs and parts manufacturers will deliver more technology that provides easier integration with other systems based on customer demand and requirements.

OEMs will introduce more value-added products and services to automate reporting of equipment issues and conditions, further reducing the need for human intervention.

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Looking at fleet technology beyond the OEMs, Arsenault said:

Most fleet maintenance software will continue to be deployed on a fleet’s own computer systems for the near term.

However, Web based software applications (or SaaS – Software as a
Service) will grow in popularity and acceptance as IT staffs remain overloaded.

The next generation of fleet managers will expect technology tools to be in place as they join a fleet’s operating staff.

Technology integration will remain the greatest challenge for fleets, but will also pay the greatest dividends.

However, the lack of standards, terms, and coding will remain the major obstacle to that integration — until VMRS (Vehicle Maintenance Reporting Standards) is used universally.

Tech-hardware costs will continue to decline and mobile computing will become more commonplace for specialty applications.

Outsourcing of fleet technology will become more popular.

More technology service solution providers will emerge.

The need for better, faster access to data will drive more collaboration between multiple tech firms, OEMs, and local vendors for end-to-end data flow without human intervention.

Finally, Arsenault told his audience, “Fleets and fleet managers who are not using technology will find it harder to compete and will be left behind.”

The Dossier User Group held its 21st annual meeting at the Renaissance Hotel and Nashville Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn. The Dossier Users Group is an independent organization of fleet professionals whose common interest is their use of Dossier maintenance management software.