Selecting Maintenance Software to Fit Your Operation

Claire Atkinson, Senior Editor
Posted on March 1, 2009

A fleet supervisor converting a school bus garage into a “paperless” operation might find the process of evaluating all the maintenance software options available to be quite daunting. Most programs track inventory, fuel and preventive maintenance schedules, but it’s essential to learn about the unique features of different systems to decide which one best fits a particular fleet.

Bus Master provides detailed cost analysis
Photo above: Bus Master's maintenance software tracks expenses and inventory to help fleet managers make informed decisions.

Bus Master aims to break down the costs of running a school bus garage, including cost per mile, fuel usage and labor costs, to help transportation officials make informed decisions. The company compares the software to a maintenance operations consultant, putting vital information in easy reach.

The program provides a quick-start guide with step-by-step installation instructions, as well as technical support by phone.

After completing the initial installation, up to four different maintenance schedules can be entered, notifying staff of required maintenance by number of days or mileage. Each vehicle will be assigned a maintenance schedule; then Bus Master produces maintenance- due schedules and work orders. In addition, reporting mechanisms provide a complete vehicle maintenance history for any date range the user specifies.

Bus Master also manages inventory and purchasing functions, tracking part locations, inventory levels, purchase orders and receiving. The program produces purchase orders for needed parts and tells the user what quantity is needed to bring the inventory back to stocking levels. This function allows the operation to purchase larger quantities of parts for discounted rates by reporting parts usage rates.

Dolphin Fleet Management customizes data
Dolphin Fleet Management allows users to customize most features and functions of the software system.

Dolphin Fleet Management allows users to customize data and reports — by plugging in additional components, users can tailor the program to their operations. Furthermore, within the vehicle profiles, users can add an unlimited number of data fields. Dolphin’s system reduces typing with an auto-complete function for inventory and labor fields.

Users can also create custom documents with merge fields, where employee information or unit serial numbers can be inserted. Also available are custom reports created from user-selected criteria that can be saved and reviewed at any time.

The program monitors changes in vehicle performance, like increases in fuel and oil consumption; then, the Smart Meters feature alerts users if discrepancies are found in the mileage reports. The program also tracks federal safety recalls to ensure compliance by monitoring manufacturer service bulletins and allowing users to manage state mandates and specifications.

In tracking inventory, the program creates automatic alerts for parts under warranty. Prices, quantities and history are automatically updated with every transaction. Users can also create external work orders to record vendor jobs, and they can monitor how many times a vendor changes prices and compare to other vendors.

With the system’s One-Click Status feature, maintenance-due schedules and other items are displayed to give an overall picture of the fleet.

EasyBus integrates operational software systems
EasyBus interfaces with other school bus operation programs to keep maintenance up to date.

EasyBus Maintenance is designed to streamline the record-keeping requirements of a modern bus garage, ensuring efficiency as well as ease of use.

The program can be used to transform an operation into a “paperless” shop, with electronic work orders that can be assigned to mechanics from a central location. Then, mechanics can view and finalize paperwork at computers in the shop.

EasyBus can track preventive maintenance, fuel and inventory on any type of vehicle while providing the flexibility for end users to tailor the software around their operations.

EasyBus Maintenance interfaces with major fueling programs, such as Petrovend, Fuel Master and Gas Boy, as well as with EasyBus’ dispatch and scheduling software. The system also offers invoicing functionality and can be scaled to operations of any size.

As of this year, EasyBus maintenance software also integrates with Zonar EVIR (Electronic Vehicle Inspection Report). When a driver scans a bus using Zonar’s handheld reader, any problems detected automatically create a work order in EasyBus. Once maintenance is finalized, EasyBus updates the Zonar system online.

Comprehensive Web resource for IC customers
IC Bus provides Bus ISIS as a subscription service for owners and technicians.

Bus ISIS is IC Bus’ Web-based tool that provides IC Bus product, engine, chassis and body information for owners and technicians. Through the application, IC Bus customers can view technical publications, service bulletins and repair history — all available by VIN number.

The Bus ISIS site is available by an annual subscription and allows bus fleet subscriptions to be used for multiple locations.

New to Bus ISIS this year is iKnow, which allows users to enter a symptom, such as “rough start,” and the system will provide likely causes and repair solutions.

The technical publications available include original service manuals and updated bulletins, electrical diagrams, newsletters, operator’s manuals, warranty coverage and coding manuals, new vehicle processing manuals and standard repair time information.

The online library compiles the history of recall and authorized field changes, and those completed on the vehicle.

The Bus ISIS Website also catalogues service and repair information on every bus, and if offers fleet administration and service tools, a convenient search function, a complete glossary of key terms and more.

Transfinder Fleet Maintenance streamlines the shop
Servicefinder from Transfinder helps fleet supervisors schedule maintenance and staff to minimize the impact of repairs.

Servicefinder from Transfinder provides comprehensive fleet management that integrates with Routefinder Pro routing software.

The system’s “Dashboard” provides an overview of everything occurring in the shop, from work orders and parts to be re-ordered to graphs that show fuel usage.

With Servicefinder, users can schedule mechanics and repair jobs to best utilize shop staff and coordinate bus availability to minimize the impact of repairs. The program schedules shop staffing using color-coded calendars, and allows users to audit jobs that are open, in progress or closed. Maintenance staff can also track part locations and inventory information so that only needed parts are ordered.

Servicefinder enables users to calculate and categorize garage costs to better analyze overall expenses, such as labor overtime.

The program’s reporting functions help users evaluate fuel consumption trends and identify vehicle usage variances. The reports also provide analysis to plan for yearly budgeting and to demonstrate efficiencies.

VersaTrans Fleet Vision automates fleet tracking
VersaTrans FleetVision develops vehicle files, profiling inspection results and work requests.

VersaTrans FleetVision from Tyler Technologies features DataSpark, an information transfer program that connects VersaTrans FleetVision with Zonar EVIR. DataSpark contacts the Zonar Website servers at user-defined intervals and checks for new information. When it finds new information, it immediately transfers it into the VersaTrans FleetVision database and automatically creates work requests for any defects logged.

The system also transmits and identifies inspection results and automatically creates work requests without manual entry. Finally, DataSpark updates Zonar, keeping the programs in sync.

VersaTrans FleetVision automatically updates preventive maintenance dates upon completion of a work order, eliminating manual tracking.

The program also tracks component warranties and alerts users when they are due to expire, ensuring that replacements and fixes are made before they expire.

In addition, inventory levels are reduced automatically when parts are assigned to a work order.

Users can create work order templates for the services performed regularly to eliminate duplicate entries. Plus, free-form work order notes can be entered to include details on the work performed and save time on the next job.


Comments ( 1 )
  • CMMS

     | about 6 years ago

    Its nice article the Maintenance programs for fleet are important for timely actions on customers specifications. The fleet needs to fulfill demand and be ready for service whenever required.It is also important to understand the maintenance cost at asset level. Costs cannot be managed until they are measured.... For more Details :

More Stories
Rotary Lift's R544 Pro Truck 2D wheel balancer is designed to help technicians quickly and accurately balance a variety of commercial bus-, truck-, and passenger-vehicle wheels.

Rotary Lift Unveils New Wheel Balancer

The supplier’s R544 Pro Truck 2D wheel balancer is designed to help technicians quickly and accurately balance a variety of commercial bus, truck, and passenger-vehicle wheels.


King Pin Pusher Set

OTC’s new 30-Ton King Pin Pusher Set is designed to assist technicians when changing king pins and brake anchor pins on heavy-duty vehicles.


Portable Magnetometer

The FerroCheck 2000 series of portable magnetometers is designed to quickly and conveniently measure total ferrous wear particulates in lubricating fluids.

Be the First to Know

Get the latest news and most popular articles from SBF delivered straight to your inbox. Stay on top of the school bus industry and don't miss a thing!