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April 15, 2021 2:00 PM, EDT

TMC Highlights Big Changes to VMRS Coding System

VMRS diagnosticsA roadside technician runs a diagnostic test on a disabled tractor. (RoadSquad Connect)

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A vehicle maintenance coding system used by repair shops across the trucking industry is receiving an update that has been years in the making, and is also evolving to include the burgeoning electric vehicle segment.

The Vehicle Maintenance Reporting Standards system that is offered by the Technology & Maintenance Council of American Trucking Associations is undergoing a series of changes and updates that were outlined during the TMC Spring Meeting, a virtual event scheduled to run April 12-16 and April 19-23. Among the changes outlined during an April 14 session are updated licenses, new codes, a new subscription setup and an updated handbook.

“It was something that was not created overnight,” said Jack Poster, VMRS services manager at TMC, during the session. “But I’m proud to say we are finally introducing the new VMRS licenses. The first day of our old licenses started in 1997 — we have not changed that since then — so this is a new look for VMRS. It’s a new method of licensing.”

Poster noted there are now four different license types. The first is the Electronic Catalog, which covers components and manufacturing. This is meant for parts manufacturers, distributors or suppliers that want to code parts or their inventory. He also announced the Corporate Complete license that will be replacing the Enterprise license. This one comes with a complete set of codes and is meant for fleets and service providers that want to use the codes internally.

Poster said TMC also split the former Developer license into Developer and Distribution licensing.

“The Developer license is for someone who wants to work with VMRS and, basically, share the responsibility with their end-users,” he said. “They’re developing a product with VMRS. They might be a startup software firm or entrepreneur that wants to use it but isn’t sure. That is meant for that area. The distribution license is meant for an OEM, software firm or anybody that wants to incorporate VMRS and distribute it throughout their organization, their customers or their clients.”

Poster said the new licenses had a soft launch April 1. The changes were not advertised, but TMC has had conversations with users about the changes. He said broader press announcements and further details on the changes are forthcoming.

Poster also noted that the codes will now be available with a new annual subscription fee.

“The cost is based on annual sales and revenues of the entity that wants to subscribe,” he said. “We struggled over the years in trying to be equitable, so we are basing the license costs on the sales or revenues of the company interested in licensing.”

Jack Poster

Poster

TMC has also been working to develop codes that are specific to electric vehicles, Poster said.

“The next horizon for VMRS is electric vehicle codes,” Poster said. “It’s a work in progress. We’re taking our time to make sure that we do it right. If we do put some codes in and have to change them, then we’ll mark that.”

He noted that some codes have already been released. Each one will specify in the description that it is for an electric vehicle, but these vehicle codes will not be segregated out. They will be embedded into the broader VMRS system.

Poster noted that the VMRS handbook also has been updated. The 900-page book — which is available in digital form — took a while to update, but he stressed that the effort was worthwhile.

“After many years the implementation handbook has been updated,” Poster said. “I highly recommend you have a copy. It really comes in handy as a training guide. It’s everything VMRS.”

TMC also is partnering with Decisiv to provide members a quarterly report based on VMRS data built from work order and fleet information. “The data is just incredible,” Poster said. This is reflective of what’s going on in the shop.”

TMC also earlier this year released a report in partnership with maintenance software vendor Fullbay on the state of heavy-duty repair. “Fullbay also gives you an insight into the service provider world, so, you’re getting everything,” Poster said.

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