Fleet Management

A Quick Guide to VMRS Coding

Written By: Pete Wallen, Director of Operations, on May 7, 2023

What is VMRS coding?

Vehicle Maintenance Reporting Standards (VMRS) provide a vital communication link between maintenance personnel, computers, and management. It is known as the “universal” language for fleets, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), industry suppliers, computers, and the people who specify, purchase, operate, and maintain equipment.

What are the benefits of VMRS coding?

Without a doubt, VMRS is a powerful tool for categorizing your maintenance data. That’s why it’s become universally standard. With the right use of codes, you can gain the ability to see your spending, determine what your highest costs are inside your operation, and identify trends in the frequency of repair, and failure by asset spec, as well as manufacturers with the highest failure rates.

Using both high-level and granular reporting insights gleaned from VMRS reports, you can make better purchasing decisions down the line. As industry partnerships grow, maintenance communities are beginning to share their maintenance journeys more publicly to learn and teach from other maintenance departments in non-competitive spaces. It’s easier to benchmark your operations against those around you when you are speaking the same language, and VMRS allows you to do just that.

7 Things to Consider Before Implementing VMRS

1. Understand recent changes to VMRS coding systems.
The Truck Maintenance Council (TMC) has recently updated its licensing and handbook to reflect changes in the industry. Most notably, encompassing the new electric vehicle segment. Read about the new changes here.

2. When customizing codes, keep it simple. At the point of repair, a technician needs a simple Work Accomplished code. Keeping it simple will help consistency and accuracy while giving techs more time with a wrench in hand and less time on complicated documentation processes.

3. Don’t compare Apples to Oranges. It’s important that two identical pieces of Assets with the same Year, Make,  and Model but a different transmission type, speed, or fuel type are reported separately at the asset level even though they are sister trucks. Reporting on this level of granularity will reveal key insights into how little details such as transmission speed, gear ratios, and fuel types can impact your component life cycle.

4. Correct coding will make all the difference. To get true clarity regarding variation in spending for identical assets with the same spec, the assets need to be correctly coded so your reports are clean and standardized. It is fairly common to begin by looking at the cost of the parts and gauging how many miles were run regardless of the asset. But this will not give you a 360 view of your Cost Per Mile. If you take 10 assets of the same type that all ran 1 million miles, and you review the Spend by VMRS code, spend spikes become evident. This enables better purchasing decisions and insights into what changes will impact your life cycle cost – from better tires to changing the spec, to incorporating better emission components.

5. Set up reports to identify abnormalities. An audit trail is always necessary so you can drill down into results and see where outliers come from. You will inevitably encounter incorrect entries or anomalies in workflow, and it’s important to use a maintenance system with data validation to flag errors and allow you to update incorrect entries retrospectively. For example, if you accidentally keyed two part counts during a repair where only one is needed, the cost per mile will be higher which falsely inflates the lifecycle cost.

6. Identify part failure solutions. As many of us know all too well, it is much more difficult to collect and analyze long-form data. VMRS gives simple part code failure solutions that will help drive consistency and leads to better part failure reporting. If your maintenance team is struggling to get part failure insights that identify problem systems, assembly, components, or labor practices, you may want to look at the complexity of the data you are collecting. Get it down to the brass tacks.

7. Don’t guess at codes. For most organizations, beginning a journey with VMRS is a lot more complex than simply downloading the manual from the ATA website and hitting “Go”. Fitting your organization into code keys can be fitting a square peg in a round hole especially if you’re working with non-standard systems, assemblies or components. That’s why it is highly recommended that you consult an expert to support your conversion so it’s as accurate as possible. If the codes are not accurate in the system, you can seriously compromise the success of your VMRS implementation.