Truck service data, KPIs: tools or targets?


I like data. I love spreadsheets. I like to watch the KPI charts on the screen. Data, what a drug. Although I think social media has taken the lead in a non-substantial adrenaline rush like cell phones.

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Let’s talk data. What do we do with it? We do not exchange vehicles with the data. We can no longer use the data to prove that a component cost a lot of extra expense to operate. New components were purchased with an “extended warranty”. I call it prepaid insurance. All Customer Policy adjustments are no longer in the Customer Satisfaction Policy Manual. They retired or were forced into early retirement. New blood.

So let’s move on to specific areas where we use VMRS coding to explore KPIs. When we explore, we see data. But who really cares or knows what to do with it…?

Tires, the highest cost area, always exceed emissions. We’ll start there.

New tires

So we follow the tires. How do we track new tyres?

  1. Do you only charge the new cost of tires?
  2. Do you include the FET? You can’t buy a tire without FET!
  3. How do you handle the carcass of the new tire?
  4. How do you attribute, if you do, the tires that come off?
    a. How do you charge for reruns, used tires, with 32nds remaining?
  5. Does the vehicle benefit from a box credit?
    a. Some try.
    b. Some don’t and some don’t care.
  6. How do I track and charge for damaged tires?
    a. Charge to vehicle?
    b. Blame it on security or operations?
    vs. Driver billing?
    D. Bill to CPM?
  7. What about tire settings?
    a. Do we recredit the vehicle?

Summary of tires

How do we do them?

  1. Do we charge the new retreaded tire at the retread price?
  2. How do we handle repairs, nail holes, section repairs, etc. ?
    a. Some try, others don’t care. Do we average repair costs?
  3. How do you record the mounting and dismounting of tyres?
  4. How do we manage the costs of the mounted tire program?
    a. Buy the tire, miscellaneous. expenses? How?
  5. What about a rejected case?
    a. In the cost of the new tire?
    b. A cost in addition to the summary tire?
  6. How do we handle the cost of a tire when purchasing a tire casing and tire cap?
    a. What do we use as part number?
  7. What about the adjustment? Do we have to credit the vehicle? Separate bucket?


How do we handle valves, caps, tire lubrication and balancing? How do we enter a batch service or air pressure check? And the workforce? Under VRMS, it is buried in indirect time. How is this charged to the vehicle? Or, does it at all?

Lots of data to capture, and lots of detail. If all of this is not captured, the true cost of the tires is never captured.


  1. How do we capture all the nuts and bolts?
  2. Liquid sprays, gasket material, sealants, oils, greases, disposal?
  3. Parts under warranty – how is this handled?
  4. Wire and terminal ends?
  5. Small parts?
    a. Nothing under $X? $5, $20? What is X and how is it determined?
  6. Cores or damaged cores? Cores are disappearing and are mostly all new parts now.
  7. Obsolescence?
    a. A GL write off?


How is labor cost managed?

  1. Actual labor cost
    1. With dumpsters or without?
  2. Charge labor rate?
    1. All costs in the tariff, building, electricity, administration, assistants, vans, compressors?
  3. How often is this audited and adjusted?
  4. Is the indirect backed by a workload rate?

General repairs

  1. Emissions, how do we track this?
    a. Check your VMRS codes, you might be surprised.
  2. Lubricant and grease?
    a. Load lube into trailer wheel ends? You better have a lawsuit!
    b. Front axle bearing lubricant? The same?
    vs. Power steering fluid?
    D. Cooling liquid ?
    e. Better yet, add oil and add coolant? From the drum of a fall site? On the road?

The only real way to get a reasonable understanding of total cost and cost per mile (CPM) is to use the ledger when purchasing parts, supplies, and labor and writing checks. It takes a lot of detail, energy, and time to capture the detailed CPM cost of the vehicle, tracked by VMRS, and you’ll be wowed by the nine-digit parts and labor codes. My guess and from what I see in many fleets is that this data drug is like a bag of cocaine mixed with baking soda. You get what you get, and in most cases, very few manage the details to ensure KPIs and CPM spreadsheets are as accurate as we think they are.

It costs too much labor and energy to do it perfectly, so get closer, like playing horseshoes. Oh, and when was the last time someone checked for accuracy? By you or the internal audit team?

Better to be reasonably close than to try to be perfect. Nobody has exact prices for tires, because if they did, you’d be charging for all the tires when you buy a new truck, not on the first replacement. Thus, the cost of tires is close.

As I said, few (if anyone) trade or sell trucks based on VRMS data. It’s just a huge detailed toolkit. VRMS data is in defense of dollars spent. The general ledger, if coded correctly, is what the finance department relies on, so KPIs are just the target metric that someone else thinks of as a weather gauge.

In summary, count on visits to your stores, fewer emails and social media stuff. Control the cost where the dollars are spent. KPIs are the target on your back. Practicing MBWA, Management while walking. Seeing is believing, but try to control and reduce costs rather than defend costs. The reality is the cost, and it is exploding. Anyone have an answer?


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