Advancements in farming equipment over the past century have positioned tractors and other specialized machinery at the center of modern farming operations. Equipment investments are among the most expensive that growers make, and for good reason. They rely on these machines to produce faster, more efficient, and more accurate results that lead to robust yields.
Protecting these capital investments requires constant attention to maintenance schedules that keep machines running at peak performance and minimize downtime. However, managing maintenance schedules and services across large fleets of tractors, implements, trucks and ATVs can be challenging. Once you get beyond a dozen or so machines in your fleet, paperwork and spreadsheets no longer cut it.
We recently rolled out Fieldin’s new Fleet Maintenance Module to help address some of the challenges that growers and equipment managers face when it comes to caring for their fleets.
Benefits of automated fleet maintenance management
Simplify and eliminate gaps and errors in your equipment service records
Whether you handle equipment maintenance in-house or leverage outsourced mechanics, keeping track of service records across a large fleet of machinery can be overwhelming. Automated fleet management removes unnecessary paperwork and spreadsheets and provides equipment managers with digital records of each piece of equipment. All of these details are rolled up into a centralized dashboard for total visibility of upcoming (and overdue) maintenance and service history across the fleet.
Go from reactive to proactive with your fleet maintenance
Unexpected downtime with equipment that is vital to activities, such as spraying and harvesting, can cripple your operations and impact yields. With automated fleet management, you can stay ahead of manufacturer-recommended services based on usage and be better prepared to avoid surprises. You can also plan service schedules in advance to ensure the right equipment is available and healthy to perform the tasks at hand.
Keep your team safe and increase protection against liability
Ensuring the safety of the people operating your equipment is the most important factor when it comes to keeping equipment in working order. With detailed records of service history, engine hours, and more, operations and equipment managers can have confidence sending their machines and teams into the field. If an issue does occur, they can lean on digital records to accompany their assessment and remedy of the situation.
Protect your CapEx investments and make informed decisions around equipment lifecycle
Every piece of equipment has its own life expectancy depending on the level of wear and tear it experiences and how well it is cared for. Hence, keeping on top of service schedules and immediately addressing unexpected repairs is a critical activity to extract the maximum value out of your equipment investments across your fleet. With detailed equipment records at your fingertips, you can also better plan for retiring assets and investing in new equipment.
Increase machine utilization to reduce overall machine costs per engine hour
At a more strategic level, pairing machine data alongside operational data allows you to connect the dots between machine utilization and CapEx investments. When proper maintenance schedules are followed, you’re able to extend the life of your machines and reduce the overall machine costs per engine hour (as broken down in the example below). While you may spend more on regular maintenance across the life of the machine, you’ll avoid the major, unplanned repairs that are particularly costly. At the same time, getting more utilization out of each machine can potentially enable fleet reduction, lowering total CapEx.
Estimated maintenance costs based on study from lowa State University: Estimating Farm Machinery Costs
More accurately track your sustainability initiatives
While tractors and other machinery are an essential part of modern agriculture, offsetting the carbon footprint of these machines is critical to ensuring the future sustainability of earth’s resources. Machine engine hours directly correlate to Scope 1 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and by automatically tracking engine hours across the fleet, growers are able to calculate, benchmark, and take action to improve operational efficiencies that reduce machine emissions.
Key Features of Fieldin’s Fleet Maintenance Module
Automatically track engine hours across your fleet
Tracking down engine hours of machines in the field often involves physically sending a person to get eyes on the machine readings. With equipment often spread across distant fields, this can become a time-consuming endeavor. With Fieldin’s smart sensors installed on your machines and implements, engine and working hour logs are always up-to-date and accessible, no matter where the machine is.
View all of your equipment – any machine, make, or model, including implements – in a centralized dashboard
The Fleet Maintenance Module digitizes your equipment’s maintenance records and compiles them into a single view. With visibility across your entire fleet – tractors, trucks, ATVs, mowers, backhoes, sprayers, etc – you no longer need to go digging through file cabinets to track down service records.
You can also drill down into each piece of equipment to access detailed service history and upcoming maintenance schedules.
Customize service events
Every business has unique requirements when it comes to planning and record-keeping. When building and testing the Fleet Maintenance Module alongside a handful of customers, we understood early on the importance for this solution to be adaptable to diverse processes.
Customizable service events at the machine level help equipment managers track and manage the things they need without boxing them into a pre-defined set of services. Any service, planned or unplanned, can be tracked on any machine.
Mobile app with automated alerts via push notifications
Sending important reminders and alerts to the right people at the right time is a critical function of fleet maintenance. With Fieldin’s mobile app, you can enable automated alerts via push notifications to kick start the right follow-up actions.
Works with your existing Fieldin equipment and data
With Fieldin’s built-in Fleet Maintenance Module, there’s no need to have a separate fleet maintenance management solution. Best of all, all equipment maintenance intervals (based on engine hours) are automatically tracked using the same Fieldin sensors that collect and report your field operations data. With all of your data under one roof, you can start to draw deeper insights around things like workload by activity type for each machine getting serviced, drivers who have been operating the machines, and impact of terrain on machine wear-and-tear.