GE TRAILER Fleet Services has announced a $10 million investment to help trucking firms analyze and better control their maintenance costs on leased and owned trailers.
“Trailer maintenance is a crucial yet controllable variable cost,” said Joe Artuso, chief executive officer of GE's Trailer Fleet Services business. “But you can't manage what you don't know. With the help of feedback from our customers and the latest technology, we have made a serious investment in our 100 branches in North America. This will give trucking companies better access to their maintenance cost data, tools to analyze it, and practical help in resolving long-standing issues that drive higher cost.”
To create this new maintenance cost control model, GE has made major financial investments in technology, mechanic recruiting and training, and core business process improvements.
The largest investment was in technology systems. During 2006, GE increased network bandwidth across its entire branch infrastructure, installed hundreds of new computers and peripherals, and erected local wireless networks. The technology supports the deployment of a new software-loaded handheld device from Symbol Technologies that will be used by all GE trailer mechanics to gather and transmit — almost in real-time — repair data, photographs of damage, and even billing approval requests to customers. The device will be used both at the branches and out on the road at customer sites with GE's Mobile Maintenance Service vans.
“Technology is terrific, but accurate analysis starts with the collection of data in real-time out in the field,” Artuso said. “Skilled and dedicated mechanics are key.”
GE has launched a national recruiting program for qualified trailer mechanics and has founded GE Trailer Mechanic University, an exclusive, multi-level training program to support ongoing mechanic retention, skills, and career paths.
GE has used feedback from its Client Advisory Board, a small group of strategic customers, to improve nearly every business process that supports maintenance analytics.