Vehicle maintenance is crucial in ensuring the safety and efficiency of your fleet operations. However, managing maintenance and repairs can be a complex and time-consuming process, especially for large fleets.
That’s where the Vehicle Maintenance Reporting Standard (VMRS) comes in, developed to simplify and standardize the reporting process, making it easier for fleet managers and mechanics to track and analyze maintenance data.
How Does VMRS Work?
The VMRS coding system was developed in the 1970s by the Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC)—a group of trucking industry professionals dedicated to improving vehicle fleet maintenance and technology—to provide an established way of reporting and analyzing vehicle data. It is a hierarchical system that breaks down the maintenance process into a series of new codes, simplifying the process of data tracking and analysis.
According to the American Trucking Association, VMRS has undergone several updates and revisions over the years to keep up with the changing technology and maintenance practices. Today, the majority of fleets in the United States use VMRS as part of their daily routine, making it the industry standard for tracking and reporting vehicle maintenance and repairs 1.
Importance of VMRS in Fleet Management
VMRS is essential in fleet management for several reasons. First (as mentioned above), it helps facilitate maintenance data reporting. Second, it promotes collaboration and communication among fleet stakeholders, improving the overall efficiency of the maintenance process. And last but certainly not least, it can help reduce downtime and costs by providing real-time fleet and fuel monitoring and reporting. We’ll break down these benefits below:
Benefits of VMRS in Fleet Management
Implementing VMRS for your fleet management operation has several benefits, including:
- Improved vehicle maintenance processes: VMRS provides a structured approach to vehicle maintenance, making it easier to identify vehicle needs and plan repairs.
- Enhanced communication and collaboration among fleet stakeholders: VMRS allows for the standardization of maintenance data, making it easier to share information and collaborate with other departments. Looking for other ways to improve communication and collaboration? A fuel card ensures full transparency across your fleet.
- Reduced downtime and maintenance costs: VMRS enables real-time monitoring and reporting, allowing quicker identification and resolution of maintenance issues to help you reduce expenses.
- Increased safety and compliance: VMRS provides a way to track and analyze safety-related issues, helping fleet managers ensure compliance with safety regulations. Learn more about fleet safety solutions.
How to Implement VMRS for Better Fleet Management
To effectively use VMRS in fleet management, it's important to follow a structured implementation process. We’ve listed the main steps below:
- Identify the relevant VMRS codes for your fleet.
- Train your staff on how to use VMRS codes and how to incorporate them into the maintenance reporting process.
- Integrate VMRS codes into your maintenance reporting system, ensuring that all data is coded correctly.
- Monitor the effectiveness of the system and make any necessary adjustments.
By implementing VMRS, you can improve your maintenance processes and ultimately reduce fleet expenses.
Best Practices for Implementing VMRS
Before implementing VMRS, it's important to define clear goals and objectives for your business and stakeholders to ensure you’re getting the most out of your software. Additionally, be sure to choose the right VMRS software or system for your fleet and train all your team members on VMRS codes and how to use them for streamlined operational efficiency.
Establishing clear communication and reporting processes and regularly reviewing and analyzing VMRS data can help identify areas for improvement.
However, there are also common challenges that may arise when implementing VMRS. These include a lack of understanding of VMRS codes and how they work, resistance to change from employees or management, and insufficient resources or budget for implementing VMRS.
To overcome these challenges, it's important to provide comprehensive training and resources to all staff members, highlight the benefits of VMRS, and communicate the importance of maintenance reporting across the fleet. Starting small and gradually building up resources and infrastructure for VMRS implementation can also be helpful in overcoming resource or budget constraints.
Key Components of VMRS: Codes and Structure
VMRS utilizes a numerical system, with occasional letters in certain codes. The American Trucking Associations’ Technology and Maintenance Council updates VMRS codes periodically to stay current with advancing vehicle technology, even adding codes for electric vehicle (EV) powertrains.
VMRS can be scaled based on the desired level of detail. There are five levels of detail, with the first level being the most general and the fifth being the most specific. The structure of VMRS code keys allows for consistent and accurate reporting across the fleet, making it easier to analyze data and identify trends.
One of the major segments of VMRS is the parts-related codes, which consist of three parts:
- Code Key 31 specifies the vehicle system
- Code Key 32 gives the assembly or sub-system information
- Code Key 33 provides the universal identifier of parts, solutions, additives, lubes, oils, and other miscellaneous components
How to Interpret VMRS Codes
The flexibility of VMRS is one of its key advantages. The codes can be used individually or in combination to create reports with varying levels of detail. While the codes we've discussed so far offer some information about maintenance needs and work performed, they don't tell the whole story. Fortunately, additional codes can help technicians save time and more accurately report work orders, faults, and repairs.
- Code Key 14 indicates the reason for repair, such as a breakdown or vandalism.
- Code Key 15 specifies the work accomplished, like replacing a part or inspecting it.
- Code Key 18 identifies the technician's failure or assessment of why the part failed, such as it being bent or misaligned.
Other codes can provide even more details, such as the asset vocation and body type, repair site, priority, and more.
Examples of VMRS Codes in Fleet Management
Below are some additional examples of VMRS codes and their application in fleet management:
- Code 01-00-02 – reports the cost of oil and filters used for engine maintenance
- Code 21-05-02 – reports the cost of tire repairs and patches
- Code 32-01-04 – reports the cost of labor for brake adjustment
These codes will help you keep tabs on maintenance reporting across your fleet, making it easier to identify areas for improvement.
VMRS in Fleet Management: A Critical Tool
VMRS is a critical tool for your fleet business as you strive to streamline your business operations and processes. By using the VMRS code, you can more easily track and analyze maintenance data, identify areas for improvement, and reduce maintenance costs.
Implementing VMRS may require some initial investment of time and resources, but the benefits far outweigh the costs. By following best practices for implementation and overcoming common challenges, fleets can successfully adopt VMRS and improve their maintenance processes.
Improve Fleet Management with a Fuel Card
At AtoB, we recognize that managing your fleet’s maintenance and repairs is a large undertaking, and while VMRS certainly helps to simplify the reporting process, you’ve still got a ton on your plate. That’s where we step in to support!
Our fleet fuel card offers competitive fuel discounts and advanced security controls, helping you save money while preventing fuel fraud. But best of all, it combines fleet and fuel expenses in one transparent and easy-to-use solution—giving you one less thing to worry about.
Find out how AtoB can help you take full control of your fleet’s finances.
1 “VMRS Overview | Technology and Maintenance Council.” Tmc.trucking.org, tmc.trucking.org/VMRS-Overview.