The Future of Preventive Maintenance: Predictive Analytics

While many fleet and maintenance managers have yet to embrace the concept of a preventive maintenance program (PMP), cutting-edge technology is helping to align predictive maintenance strategies with PMPs to offer an even more powerful approach to fleet maintenance. The use of predictive analytics is intended to complement rather than replace preventive maintenance.

Re-defining preventive maintenance

The term “preventive maintenance” can mean something different for every fleet. FleetOwner notes various perspectives of the maintenance approach; service, spending plans, and “managed procrastination”.

  • Preventive maintenance service focuses on equipment and technician relations
  • Spending plans address budgetary concerns 
  • Managed procrastination maintenance deals with repair choices so as to not perform unnecessary maintenance

When you look at these three objectives, you see that the long-term goals of a PMP are to improve uptime and safety while optimizing budgetary efficiency. As time goes on and key performance indicators (KPIs) are established, your staff will find a balance between maximizing parts’ life and minimizing breakdowns.

It’s natural to see a net loss within the first weeks to months of implementation, but it won’t be long before you recognize the opportunity to add real value to your fleet’s bottom line.

How will preventive maintenance evolve?

PMPs have been helping the industry’s largest fleets optimize maintenance routines for more than a decade. Technology that makes it manageable is becoming more cost-effective, making it more accessible for small and mid-sized fleets. Now technology is allowing fleets to use predictive maintenance to reduce issues between scheduled PMP maintenance.

Whether you’ve had a PMP in place for ages or are still weighing the pros and cons, it’s never too soon to think about how analytics can add a layer of protection to your fleet.

Taking preventive maintenance beyond the basics

Anyone who has switched from reactive maintenance to preventive maintenance can confirm it takes effort and patience to ensure a smooth transition. After you find the right solution for your fleet, you have to factor in the time for staff to adjust to the new system. Even once everything is running smoothly, it can take several months to see real benefits.

By transitioning to a PMP, your fleet will reap ongoing benefits. The advantages you see will carry on each month, each quarter, and each year, making the transition a worthwhile investment. If you stick to your plan and make improvements along the way, your fleet’s profitability will improve as uptime and efficiency increase.

shutterstock 2217735907 scaled

Implementing predictive maintenance techniques

Rather than serving as a substitute, predictive maintenance can add value to your fleet’s PMP. Predictive techniques evaluate the health of active equipment to determine when maintenance is needed. This approach is grounded in data collection and analysis, with services conducted in accordance with performance failures.

Many fleet managers mistakenly believe they have to pick between the two maintenance strategies when they can actually integrate both. Employing predictive maintenance practices with your PMP will help amplify your benefits. Combining these strategies allows you to stay within budget while maximizing uptime. Predictive maintenance practices yield real-time insights and innovative software can help everyone in your fleet utilize that knowledge.


Fleet maintenance continues to incorporate telematics which makes sharing truck data more manageable and provides actionable information. If your fleet already has a PMP in place or is ready to make the switch, you can easily fold predictive analytics into your plan for maximum value.

Preventive maintenance lacking predictive analytics

Preventive maintenance is all about establishing a routine that works for your fleet. To optimize a PMP you need to identify the correct number of miles, hours, or calendar days between routine inspections. From there, you’ll compile a list of all parts and unit systems that need inspections in order to prevent breakdowns and emergency maintenance.

Even the most thorough PMP can’t prevent every maintenance issue. Things can be missed during an inspection, defects may cause parts to fail earlier than anticipated, and other incidents on the road are beyond our drivers’ control. Without predictive analytics, your drivers, maintenance technicians, and other staff members are in the dark regarding events beyond the scope of your PMP until it’s too late. 

If a fleet driver sees a dashboard warning light and notes it on a DVIR, it triggers a work order but managers are still stuck with a tough decision: take the truck off the road or let it complete a run and risk it.

What if your entire maintenance operation had known about that potential issue before the driver even started their pre-trip inspection?

Predictive analytics go far beyond sharing an alert. In many cases, it can let your maintenance staff know what the problem is, how long the unit can run before maintenance is required, and what parts they will need to have on hand for the repair.

Preventive maintenance based on predictive analytics

The Internet of Things, or IoT, makes it possible for the tools and machines that we use in our everyday lives to communicate with each other without our intervention. This means that trucking companies can communicate directly with fleet maintenance software to ensure that issues are addressed between scheduled inspections.

Modern trucks have a system in place to transmit codes related to diagnostic issues. These codes are then funneled to the unit’s electronic control unit (ECU). If your fleet uses predictive analytics software as an element of your PMP, the ECU can relay these issues directly to your maintenance software. At that point, a work order can be generated, shop time can be scheduled, and your parts inventory can be checked for the appropriate parts.

Predictive Analytics,, Fleet data integration, Futuristic,High-tech,Concept:,Big,Semi,Truck,With,Cargo,Trailer,Drives

Predictive analytics is not only about streamlining the maintenance process.

If you use it to gather data about your fleet, you will gain a much better understanding of what each unit in your fleet needs throughout its lifetime. This overarching view of maintenance costs can not only improve productivity, but it can improve your total cost of ownership as well.

With Fleetpal, you can create a comprehensive maintenance strategy for your fleet

Alongside the innovative team behind a successful fleet are the tools and strategies that help them efficiently manage the operation. Transitioning to a preventive maintenance program and using predictive analytics might seem like a lot of work at first, but when you consider the benefits that they will have for your fleet over time, the choice is easy.

Upgrading your fleet to a state-of-the-art maintenance strategy is essential for your maintenance staff to compete in a rapidly evolving industry. Invest in their success by giving them the tools they need to deliver exceptional results. The benefits will have a ripple effect that you’ll see throughout your entire operation.

Fleetpal uses cutting-edge technology to bring the same tools and resources that power the giants in the industry to small and mid-size fleets. Through the ease of communication and collaboration, Fleetpal users leverage technology to even the playing field. Discover all the features your fleet is missing out on without Fleetpal’s revolutionary fleet maintenance management software.

Table of Contents

Picture of Mike Valnev

Mike Valnev