By Greg Smith, vice president, ID Systems Inc.
The costs required to acquire, maintain and operate a fleet of aircraft ground support equipment (GSE) represent a substantial capital expenditure. GSE fleet owners and managers are continually looking to monitor, control and contain these costs. Among the greatest opportunities for cost savings are improving maintenance efficiencies, “right-sizing” the fleet, and reducing costs resulting from vehicle accidents.
Wireless technology has demonstrated a unique ability to help optimize GSE maintenance management and, at the same time, increase security, safety, productivity and fleet allocation. Wireless fleet management systems establish total visibility of — and accountability for — both the vehicles and the people who operate them.
Boosting Maintenance Efficiency, Cutting Costs
The health of a GSE fleet has significant impact not only on the productivity of ground services, but also the ability to meet ever-changing flight schedules and minimize flight delays. A wireless system can provide real-time visibility of both equipment and operators, which enables more accurate, controlled maintenance planning, improved awareness of GSE operational status, and the ability to deploy resources instantly for just-in-time schedule changes.
Wireless technology benefits fleet maintenance management in many different ways:
- Real-time detection, collection and analysis of true vehicle run-time hours: Preventative maintenance is a proven method to reduce unplanned repair costs, but when such maintenance is based on calendar time (or even intermittent hour meter/odometer readings), a huge opportunity is missed. Real-time wireless monitoring of actual vehicle run-time ensures that the right vehicle gets the right attention at precisely the right time — which has been proven to reduce preventative maintenance costs up to 35 percent.
- Real-time monitoring of key vehicle health indicators: Oil pressure, temperature, fuel level, battery voltage and other data points are vital indicators of vehicle health. Real-time wireless visibility of these indicators can prevent small, emerging issues from becoming major repair problems.
- Real-time electronic vehicle inspection checklists: A wireless GSE fleet management system can require vehicle operators to complete a pre-shift checklist electronically. The system will log all checklists automatically for compliance with safety regulations, flag any critical safety or repair issues, and alert maintenance management to serious problems via report, email, or text page.
- Real-time two-way text messaging: When a vehicle needs to be brought in for maintenance, mechanics can use a wireless GSE fleet management system to send a text message to remind the driver. The message will appear to whatever driver logs onto the vehicle.
- Real-time vehicle location visibility: When vehicles need maintenance, mechanics can use real-time location tracking software to see where the vehicles are on a map of the facility. Complete vehicle information (including idle/in-motion status and any flagged maintenance issues) is visible via this graphical software display.
- Remote vehicle disabling and quick retrieval: When a vehicle is overdue for maintenance, mechanics can use a real-time wireless system to lock out the vehicle remotely, then use the real-time location tracking software to pinpoint its location and retrieve it in just a few minutes. Vehicles can also be locked out automatically by the system based on certain conditions or driving behaviors, such as impacts or over-speeding events.
More than Maintenance Benefits
One of the most compelling reasons for investing in a wireless GSE fleet management system is that it can provide much more than just maintenance benefits. Wireless control and visibility of GSE can make a significant contribution to airport security, airside safety and ground handling productivity.
The company announced that the carrier has selected the AvRamp™ Wireless Vehicle Management System to manage a fleet of aircraft GSE at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.