Half of Fleet Managers Say Dealers Able to Partner on Data Management

By Rod Sutton, Editorial Director | December 14, 2018
Machine data plays an important role in maintenance and service planning
Machine data plays an important role in maintenance and service planning, and less than half of fleet managers responding rated their dealers as “excellent” or “very good” at partnering with them on service and support. Twelve percent rated their dealers either “fair” or “poor.”

Machine data offers fleet managers a myriad of insights into location, performance, and reliability. But sifting through the data and knowing which to act upon—or when—presents a formidable barrier to execution.

Recently, equipment manufacturers have stepped up investment in machine-monitoring programs designed to provide equipment managers with the most actionable data. Along the way, many equipment distributors have recognized the importance of their link in the information chain. Some have invested both technology and labor in analytics that enable them to use machine data to keep their customers better informed.

The relationship between dealer and equipment manager is the linchpin to how well machine data can inform maintenance and productivity decisions within a fleet. How this relationship develops will depend on dealer expertise, performance, and pricing as much as it will depend on equipment managers’ need for the services that will come.

We asked respondents to our 2019 Annual Report & Forecast to rate their primary equipment dealer on two areas of technology: understanding and ability to partner.

More than half of fleet managers responding rate their dealers as either “excellent” or “very good” in their understanding of the technology contained in the machines that they sell. Technology is defined as everything from machine data to sensors and engine controls.

According to the responses, dealers understand the technology they are selling on their machines. Twelve percent of respondents rated their dealer as having “excellent” understanding, and 80 percent rated it “very good” or “good.”

These results bode well for the development of a mutually beneficial relationship. Dealers have the opportunity to use machine data to better provide after-sale support and service; fleet managers can benefit from more accurate maintenance planning and even predictive diagnostics.

Although dealers were rated well in their understanding of the technology, the ratings were a bit lower for their ability to partner on service. Twelve percent of respondents said their primary dealer has only a “fair” or “poor” ability to partner. On the other end of the spectrum, 46 percent rated their dealer’s ability as “excellent” or “very good.”