The Benefits of VMRS Coding with Robert Nordstrom
February 3rd, 2021
Decisiv and VMRS Coding – Driving Success For Fleets
In 1970, the Technology and Maintenance Council (TMC) of the American Trucking Association created the Vehicle Maintenance Reporting Standards (VMRS) coding system. The goal? To create a universal language to track equipment maintenance costs. Since then, VMRS has become an essential part of how fleets and asset managers, service providers, OEMs, and other industry suppliers work together, track results, and plan repairs.
To facilitate operations for fleets and asset managers, Decisiv has implemented VMRS code keys into its SRM platform. Learn more in this Q&A from Robert Nordstrom, VP of Process, On-Boarding, Adoption, & Support at Decisiv.
Q: What are the biggest benefits of VMRS codes to fleets and asset managers?
Robert: The biggest benefit of the VMRS coding system to all users is that it is a standard coding convention for universally tracking equipment maintenance and repair costs. The system ensures the information that comes from a service provider gets reported in a language that can be understood by every partner in the process, from your maintenance managers to your fleet operators to your OEMs and everyone in between.
Think about all the work that is done during a service event, all the information that is generated, all the people that participate, and all the information that is generated. Drivers put in orders for repair. Technicians work on the assets. Service managers track the job, and parts managers update inventory. Then you have the component suppliers responsible for providing the parts used during the repair event. Add in accounting and purchasing personnel, and you have a lot of decision makers and a lot of data on your hands. Without a common language, miscommunications can occur and data quality can be poor. Ultimately that impacts a fleet manager’s ability to make informed decisions and keep costs down.
For fleets and asset managers, VMRS coding helps make the vast amounts of information generated during a service event easy to access, understand, and use. Work orders and billing are entered into a fleet’s accounting system in a standard language, which provides heightened visibility into the cost of a service event and makes it easier to benchmark and plan for the future. For fleet maintenance teams, VMRS tracks the parts and labor used during each service event, which helps keep track of shop productivity and project future needs for parts inventory and staffing. The VMRS coding system also tracks the work performed on each asset, which helps with predictive maintenance.
When fleets consistently use VMRS codes as an operational standard, it is easier to aggregate historical component and parts usage trends. The historical perspective helps improve parts inventory management and purchasing processes, but also helps improve preventive maintenance schedules based on recorded failure rates over time.
Q: How does Decisiv deliver value to fleets using VMRS codes?
Robert: VMRS coding lends itself very well to what we do at Decisiv. The coding is broken into two segments – asset or equipment management and service event management. We’ve taken the code keys that are used for service – there are currently 58 active code keys. We have implemented 15 of them in our Decisiv SRM platform and are in the process of adding seven more to support electric vehicles. When we import repair operations into our system, we apply the appropriate VMRS coding. In doing so, when a fleet receives their SRM estimate, the coding has already been done for them. So, if the service provider isn’t doing it for them, fleet and asset managers can apply the VMRS codes within the SRM platform. We’ve also begun leveraging AI to assign VMRS coding to operations based on the keywords, which facilitates the ability to apply the correct VMRS codes without having to manually review and code operations.
Fleets that use the Decisiv SRM platform are able to speed the process of adding VMRS codes with automated data capture, communicate quickly across the service supply chain using the language of VMRS codes, and leverage real-time insights into the issues affecting assets and components. By combining the standardization of VMRS codes with the connectivity and analytics made possible by the SRM platform, fleets and asset managers will put in motion a process of continuous improvement that helps drive uptime and profits. And best of all, with the SRM platform, memorizing numbers and codes isn’t necessary, since VMRS is laid out in common terms.
Additionally, Decisiv uses VMRS codes to capture parts and labor information on more than 12,000 daily repair events across different regions in North America. We compile and report this information in our Service Data Index, which is available on the Decisiv Marketplace. The Service Data Index is intended to help fleet managers, asset owners, and service providers understand and compare parts and labor rates across the United States and Canada, and on a regional basis.
Q: If a fleet is using a VMRS system, how can they maximize the value of the system?
Robert: At Decisiv, we highly recommend using our SRM platform to completely implement VMRS coding. Users without a tool to help manage the process generally receive VMRS coding information in a spreadsheet, which leads to disconnects and lost insights.
Fleets shouldn’t rely on fleet management systems alone to manage VMRS coding. Fleet management systems often allow fleets to create custom codes which deviate from the standard coding convention. Users need to adhere to standard coding. Codes that are custom-created don’t match anything outside of that specific fleet management system and aren’t trackable.
Once a fleet has implemented VMRS coding, it’s critical to ensure the system is embraced throughout the organization and the VMRS data is audited regularly to identify errors and make corrections. Just like any new process, using VMRS coding correctly takes some getting used to, but it will be more than worth it in the end.
Q: If a fleet isn’t currently using VMRS, what are the necessary steps to begin doing so?
Robert: If a fleet wants to implement VMRS themselves, they can contact the TMC – they license VMRS. Licensees pay a fee for the right to use the coding system. Otherwise, implementing a system like the Decisiv SRM will provide all of your service event VMRS implementation.
If you have a need for VMRS code that doesn’t yet exist, you can request new codes from TMC. There are 58 active code keys contained in VMRS, but there are often thousands of entries within each code key. For example, the number of individual part descriptions within Code Key 33 has grown to more than 32,500 and the manufacturers, suppliers, and brand names within Code Key 34 are up to about 10,200 entries. There are always additions, but the standard code structure stays the same.
I’ve been working with VMRS codes for more than 20 years. Whether you are a VMRS user or are thinking about becoming one, I’m always happy to answer questions from our Decisiv SRM Ecosystem partners about VMRS. Feel free to reach out to me – firstname.lastname@example.org.