With an ever-increasing demand for public transportation, fleet management and the use of IoT and real-time data to monitor fleet assets is incredibly important. It can support transport operators and other key stakeholders as they seek to be able to deliver better service, save money, enhance productivity, and identify any potential issues across fleets.
Any fleet of vehicles, no matter if they are train or light rail, buses, or other, require managing several variables from different vehicle systems to ensure that operations are maintained minimising the risk of disruption.
Fleet management and monitoring using the power of IoT and real-time asset data provides operators with the insight needed to support the running of fleets on time, on budget and efficiently. Without an effective fleet management system in place, performance downturn, damage to reputation and even critical failure of assets could be experienced.
Pedro Conceicao, CBM Technical Sales Consultant, Nomad Digital said:
“Fleet management is a crucial activity to a transport operator in terms of adherence to schedule, planning and staying within budget. Real-time data and data analytics in general are ever more relevant tools in supporting the operational decision-making processes that enable organisations to manage and get the best performance out of their fleets.”
“Real-time data combined with insight obtained from historical data analytics can be invaluable when managing a fleet of vehicles. It can provide information on the condition of the vehicles and its’ systems ensuring that they can be kept in service as long as they fulfil the desired operational requirement levels.”
Increased Fleet Availability
“Real-time monitoring allows for increased fleet availability due to proactive asset management and rail maintenance planning. For example, the reduction in vehicle downtime during high-demand periods, will allow to offer a higher-capacity and have an impact on the customer satisfaction considering it allows for a more reliable, punctual, and improved service offer.”
Keeping fleets available and running on time is vital for a train operator – if units are not available, not only is there a gap in service, but the operator can suffer financial consequences, damage to reputation and potential knock-on effects in other fleet schedules. This can result in customers moving to alternative means of public transportation or to private transport options.
Proactive rail maintenance plays a role in increasing the availability of fleet for an operator. Introducing real-time monitoring and reporting on fleets into everyday operations can deliver an edge to the operator to focus on the effective upkeep of units through valuable data insights – fleet availability can be increased by up to 20%.
Pedro Conceicao, CBM Technical Sales Consultant, Nomad Digital went on to say:
“With the implementation of a real-time monitoring system, you can enhance diagnostic alerts and generate forecasts with in-depth information metrics for crucial on-board systems.”
“Proactive maintenance of the fleet can be carried out immediately when critical issues are detected – the goal is to ensure high-availability and improve the overall reliability of services of vital systems by keeping them in good, working order.”
A predictive maintenance strategy is used across many industries and can be very effective at forecasting events before they develop into larger, more impacting problems. The transport industry is a key beneficiary of such implementations, as preventing breakdowns, better planning of maintenance and increasing the availability of services and assets is key.
In scenarios where corrective maintenance is required, real-time monitoring provides intelligence to support and kick-off the diagnostic activities even before the vehicle enters the workshop. This means that the planning of repair works can start ahead, ensuring that skilled workers, with the right tools and parts are at the right time in the right place, thus shortening the downtime required to diagnose and repair the faults. Workloads can be optimised, knowing when different types of works and skills are required at each time – making it a far more efficient use of Maintenance staff and Engineer time.
Reduction in Costs
Further to passenger benefits, there is also the benefit of the reduction in costs of maintenance and ownership.
There is an opportunity to extend the useful life of the different vehicle systems, shifting to maintenance strategies that are based on systems’ condition, as opposed to relying on time-based/mileage-based strategies. This shift creates prospects to achieve considerable savings. The change means that system components can be kept in service if their condition allows for it, for longer periods and will require to be refurbished or replaced fewer times throughout the total life of the vehicle; fewer maintenance activities = lower maintenance costs.
Improved Customer Experience
The implementation of real-time monitoring can in turn be passed on to passengers.
While of course, some issues are out of the operators’ control and not all delays and/or cancellations can be prevented, withdrawal of services due to equipment failure or breakdowns can be incredibly frustrating for passengers – and can be minimised with management.
With real-time monitoring, maintenance and repairs of trains and buses for example can be planned for, meaning vehicles can be kept in service for longer periods of time and cancellation of service risk is reduced.
Catching, fixing, and preventing faults before they develop into serious problems will help to improve the overall passenger satisfaction and experience, and as result the reputation of the brand.
Real-time data can also allow for other elements of information such as occupancy levels, and timetable and delay information to be then communicated to passengers, either on board or at stations.
Additionally, transport operators can offer a range of services to passengers that would not be possible without reliable, secure, high-capacity connectivity between a vehicle and remotely located services. Reliable access to the internet, on board service ordering, travel updates, travel booking and on board entertainment, all improve the passenger experience and are down to the enhanced connectivity onboard.