Fleet Maintenance - 29
allowing access to older vehicle systems may still
be required. These ports are known as legacy ports.
"A lot of vehicles ... in the service bay could be
10-year-old trucks. There are still plenty of [large
diesel engine vehicles] out there, so we need some
legacy equipment to hook up for diagnostics,"
"Another benefit to a laptop is that it provides
more I/O [input/output] ports than a tablet, especially for those diagnostic tools that need a legacy port like RS-232," says Joe Guest, president,
Durabook specializes in the development of
customizable rugged and semi-rugged laptops,
mobile tablets, and all-in-one computers.
A laptop allows a user to type up more long-form
text using a keyboard. A tablet offers the ability to
easily take photos or videos to show other personnel, drivers, or customers.
Tablets may prove useful for technicians that
must move around the shop frequently and fit into
tight spaces, like under the hood or vehicle.
Lewis provides this example: "The type of vehicle they work on might be an air-conditioned
[refrigerated trailer], where they're climbing up
on top of it, having to work on a compressor, as
well as working on ancillary or accessory items
around a large vehicle."
It is important to note the devices mentioned
by these manufacturers are designed specifically
for extreme environments. Referred to as "rugged"
or "ruggedized" by design, these devices provide
additional protection compared to a standard
"Fully rugged computers are able to withstand drops to concrete, spills, and maybe even
bad weather if a car is being accessed outside,"
explains Guest. "They offer the ultimate in reliability while sacrificing nothing when it comes to
power and performance." In addition, semi-rugged
options provide additional durability compared
to traditional consumer computers, but at a lower
price point, he adds.
"The key is to assess the needs of your workers
and to understand that a one-size-fits-all approach
often isn't the best solution," Guest says.
Product features and
functions to consider
Functionality goes further than deciding between
a laptop or tablet design. There are a number of
additional features to consider when assessing
which mobile device to select for a shop, department, or technicians.
Consider the following features and functions:
Touchscreen functionality. "Think of a mechanic in a garage, who is working with greasy hands,
turning wrenches, pulling diagnostics," Panasonic's
Lewis explains. "Very quickly [they are] able to use
a knuckle or finger [to] touch the screen [in order
to] pull the schematics, hit it for a diagnostic read
out when it's hooked up to the vehicle itself, or look
for parts inventory right there in the shop."
Make sure technicians
understand how to use
a laptop or tablet when
you put it in their hands.
"It is very important like
anything else, if you give
somebody a tool you
need to train them to use
it," stresses Jason Lewis,
national sales manager -
enterprise for Panasonic.
He suggests dedicating a
day to all the necessary
training for each employee
when devices are provided
to personnel. "People are
putting millions of dollars of
tools into a service bay for
a large organization. Take
the one day to spend some
time on training," he adds.
He says it is critical that
device users keep the unit
clean and do not leave
ports open unnecessarily.
"Properly learn how to
clean the screen, clean
the keyboard, make sure
ports... are not left...
exposed when in a harsh
environment. Be able to shut
those doors up," he says.
Along with the physical
appearance of the device,
users should have proper
training on the applications used by the shop. "I
mentioned legacy ports,
like serial ports, VGA ports,
teaching them how to use
those properly goes a long
way," Lewis/Panasonic says.
Lewis says Panasonic offers
on-site training for customers to help with this process.
» "Technicians tend to treat their computers
like they are tools, so it's best to select
devices that can live up to that treatment,"
Durabook Americas' Guest says.
Photo courtesy of Durabook Americas
May 2019 | VehicleServicePros.com
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fleet Maintenance
Uptime - Are You Communicating with Employees Effectively?
Trends in Heavy Duty Diesel Engine Oils
Vehicles - Keys to Consistent Liftgate Performance
In the Bay - How Standardized Vehicle Communication Protocols Impact Diagnostics and Vehicle Operation
Shop Operations - Considerations for Mobile Device Usage in the Shop
Training - Where are all the Students Going?
Management - Why the Recent Airline Accidents Should be Concerning
Fleet Parts & Components
Tools & Equipment
Guest Editorial - How Much Do You Spend on DPF Maintenance?
Fleet Maintenance - 1
Fleet Maintenance - 2
Fleet Maintenance - 3
Fleet Maintenance - 4
Fleet Maintenance - 5
Fleet Maintenance - 6
Fleet Maintenance - 7
Fleet Maintenance - Uptime - Are You Communicating with Employees Effectively?
Fleet Maintenance - 9
Fleet Maintenance - Trends in Heavy Duty Diesel Engine Oils
Fleet Maintenance - 11
Fleet Maintenance - 12
Fleet Maintenance - 13
Fleet Maintenance - 14
Fleet Maintenance - 15
Fleet Maintenance - 16
Fleet Maintenance - 17
Fleet Maintenance - Vehicles - Keys to Consistent Liftgate Performance
Fleet Maintenance - 19
Fleet Maintenance - 20
Fleet Maintenance - 21
Fleet Maintenance - In the Bay - How Standardized Vehicle Communication Protocols Impact Diagnostics and Vehicle Operation
Fleet Maintenance - 23
Fleet Maintenance - 24
Fleet Maintenance - 25
Fleet Maintenance - 26
Fleet Maintenance - 27
Fleet Maintenance - Shop Operations - Considerations for Mobile Device Usage in the Shop
Fleet Maintenance - 29
Fleet Maintenance - 30
Fleet Maintenance - 31
Fleet Maintenance - 32
Fleet Maintenance - 33
Fleet Maintenance - Training - Where are all the Students Going?
Fleet Maintenance - 35
Fleet Maintenance - Management - Why the Recent Airline Accidents Should be Concerning
Fleet Maintenance - Fleet Parts & Components
Fleet Maintenance - 38
Fleet Maintenance - 39
Fleet Maintenance - 40
Fleet Maintenance - Tools & Equipment
Fleet Maintenance - 42
Fleet Maintenance - 43
Fleet Maintenance - 44
Fleet Maintenance - Classifieds
Fleet Maintenance - Guest Editorial - How Much Do You Spend on DPF Maintenance?
Fleet Maintenance - 47
Fleet Maintenance - 48