Panasonic has published a white paper examining strategic, operational, and technological issues addressed by rugged mobile solutions for maintenance and service managers.
The paper said that as technology becomes more sophisticated, there is more of a need for diagnostic tools, and industry will look at mobile technology to improve operations, tailoring technology for service bays through hand-held scan tools and laptop computers. However, the mobile technology must be able to withstand grime and grease from mechanics’ hands.
It is more imperative that service bays run efficiently and use technology due to a shortage of service bays. Lang Marketing Resources reports that the number of autos and light trucks rose to more than 39 million between 1996 and 2006, while the number of service bays dropped by 44,000. The number of light vehicles per service bay was 166 in 2000; rose to 190 in 2006, and should hit the 200 mark by this year.
Because of this, computers in service bays need to not only run advanced engine diagnostics but also offer technicians real-time access to manuals, schematics and parts inventories from around the world, stated Panasonic
The paper mentions Volvo’s use of mobile computing technology. The company was unable to use regular mobile PCs in the service bay, so they loaded rugged notebook computers with Volvo internally developed software, allowing technicians to run diagnostics tests and record basic recurring maintenance during and after repairs. This allowed Volvo to accomplish more with fewer technicians, the paper said.