Volvo examined user data from 3,500 Volvo trucks over a five-year period, and used the information to run simulations to understand the main causes of unplanned downtime.
"The study clearly showed that by being able to monitor the truck's usage and the current status of the vehicle's key components, it is possible to plan maintenance better," states Hayder Wokil, director for quality and uptime at Volvo Trucks.
"We think we can reduce the amount of unplanned downtime by around 80% if the truck is serviced in time and in response to actual needs," he explains.
One prerequisite, however, is being able to predict maintenance requirements and tailor servicing for individual trucks – and that means taking advantage of today's Telematics systems, which can connect trucks online to the workshop.
"A service technician can remotely monitor exactly how the truck is being used in real time, and schedule maintenance well in advance before something breaks down, or order replacement parts in advance," says Wokil.
"What's more, a scheduled service can also be postponed if the workshop technician can see that the truck's components are subject to less wear than expected – thereby saving time for both the haulage operator and the driver," he adds.
Although Volvo Trucks has made considerable progress in this area, Wokil believes that the development and use of truck connectivity allied to preventive maintenance is still in its infancy.
However, Wokil makes the point that this is important – since much of the transport industry operates on tight margins, any unplanned downtime can hit hard.
"We have to be better at understanding why unscheduled incidents happen, then help both customers and drivers increase their vehicle uptime and therefore their profitability," he asserts.