Blog July 11, 2012

Five ways to reduce costs during the Maintenance and Repair process

By Nicola Byers

During the development process here at MRI Intermodal Software, the aim is to make sure that the functionality and automation in our software helps customers to save money and increase profits.  Therefore we know how important it is to optimise equipment usage and have an effective Maintenance & Repair (M&R) system with minimised downtime of both leased and owned units.There are many ways that operators and lessors can reduce costs by increasing efficiency. Here are five examples:

Automate turn-time monitoring

Make sure that monitoring the turn time of equipment is completely automated so that administration time is reduced and units are ready promptly for the next lease or job. One MRI Intermodal Software customer estimated that to capture and report on turn time manually took 5 days per month, wasting around $5,000 per year.

Don’t miss recharges

Automated reports can flag up and automatically re-allocate costs from third party suppliers and highlight depots or repair workshops that provide the most efficient turnaround of units. Importantly, they ensure that all costs are charged to the end customer. Some examples of the impact on unit revenues reported include over $10,000 per year on recharges that would otherwise have been missed and a similar amount saved in administration costs.

Include DPP (Damage Protection Plan) coverage

It is estimated that one out of ten contracts has missed DPP (Damage Protection Plan) coverage. Make sure that DPP is automatically transferred from the contract to the Maintenance & Repair system. MRI Intermodal’s customers have reported an increase in revenue of $1,000 for every ten contracts by automating this process.

Identify manufacturing defects

Effective management of the M&R process helps to identify unknown manufacturing defects by recording recurring problems. If just 2% of a 10,000 unit fleet had a $50 repair defect, the elimination of such defects would save $10,000 per year.


Without EDI, maintenance and repair lines must be entered manually using faxes or emails from various depots. This is a labour intensive process and relies upon an administrator to summarise tens or often hundreds of lines because it is too costly to type out every single line of detail. EDI processes enable automated updates to guarantee accuracy and improved turnaround times. If 1000 units a year are delayed for 4 days as data is entered manually and repairs are authorised, a system using an EDI solution would save $14000 per year. For 200 tanks, savings of $20,000 could be made in one year.