Driving down costs in the vehicle maintenance and inspection industry

How voice technology helps keep your fleet on the road or in the air longer

Business are under more pressure than ever to keep their fleets of vehicles fit for use, to show responsibility towards their workers and the public, avoid their vehicles unnecessarily being off the road, meet government regulations and maintain customer satisfaction. While the automotive industry has long had maintenance and inspection processes in place to maintain their vehicles, these processes have remained very manual and paper-based. Technicians who have been following these set processes for many years have naturally identified short cuts to save their time. Short cuts, though, create a situation where an automotive company may find they are no longer complying with an increasing number of regulations impacting on the industry. Short cuts lead to poor habits and puts service practice at risk.

If the automotive industry instead used more advanced processes with the help of technology, it would greatly increase their compliance, productivity, accuracy and safety. Automated processes force compliance and avoidance of shortcuts, as workers are aware that if they don’t follow processes exactly as required there is a record of this.

While automotive repair departments have over the years not followed in the footsteps of other industries in becoming high tech, automating processes with technologies such as Honeywell’s Vocollect Voice, achieves business benefits and an attractive value proposition.

Aviation leads the way

When Honeywell deployed voice technology in its own aviation maintenance and inspection operations it gained the interest of Lufthansa and Hill Air Force Base.

The aviation industry is very receptive to using voice technology because their maintenance and inspection checks and repairs use highly skilled technicians. With the use of voice, aviation companies were able to reduce inspection time and increase the number of inspections each day.

Additionally, regulations in the aviation industry are very strict and technicians need to validate how they conducted the inspection. In many cases they need to show that they completed certain steps in manufacturing or checks in a particular order and way, otherwise fines may apply.

One of the key benefits for the aviation industry in using voice is that it takes any varying processes across different sites and standardises them throughout the entire business. This ensures aviation businesses are best placed to comply with government regulations relevant to them.

How it works in automotive

Any industry with a structured and repeatable process can benefit from voice technology. In automotive maintenance and inspection there is a set of defined things to be checked, which means the recording of these tasks can easily be automated with voice.

A voice-based guided checklist enables a streamlined process to be followed every time a vehicle is inspected or repaired. The voice checklist ensures that all necessary checks are completed, with data collected to provide process compliance across the entire workforce.

Voice-directed inspections cut down the back and forth data entry and look up time on a handheld or paper forms with the ability to speak directly while working hands are busy inspecting the vehicle. This eliminates manual documentation time and greatly enhances productivity.

Using voice allows every step and action to be captured in real time which provides detailed insight into trends, bottlenecks and workforce performance.

Value proposition of voice in maintenance and inspection

The key to the heightening interest in voice in maintenance and inspection is the value proposition. Voice delivers significant business value in the form of lessening inspection times by up to 33 per cent, reducing errors in maintenance and inspection by 25 per cent or more, decreasing data entry by 30 per cent and completely eliminating duplicate documentation.

There is also further value to be gained through the use of voice in maintenance and inspection, in areas that are less measurable. For instance, the amount of time a vehicle spends off the road equates to a loss for the business. By increasing productivity and turnaround in maintenance and inspection, vehicles are on the road completing profitable tasks more often. Similarly, for airlines, voice inspections increase the likelihood of shortening the time between landing and take-off for better asset utilisation. These are huge cost savings and the customer wins.

Over time a business will be able to build a wealth of data that can be used for trend or predictive analysis. In the automotive industry this might offer insight into the most commonly occurring issues or replaced parts in a vehicle, which allows a business to proactively look for these issues or have enough spare parts on hand. This enhances the ability of managers to make decisions ahead of time about how their vehicle fleets are managed.

Low-tech doesn’t cut it in a digital world

While vehicle maintenance and inspection departments have long held on to the tradition of being low-tech and resisting technological change, increasingly complex regulations and pressure to reduce costs, is leading more businesses to consider automation. Voice technology has proven to be very beneficial in increasing compliance, productivity, accuracy and safety.

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