12 Leading Causes of Windshield Time and How You Can Avoid Them

Windshield time can add up
If this is what your technicians see all day, you're on the road to nowhere.

Windshield time is one of the hidden expenses of operating remote sites, and it will nibble away at your company's profitability. "Windshield time" is all the unproductive time that your technicians spend in the car traveling to and from remote sites. If your company operates in a large rural service area, or a busy urban center with heavy traffic, your windshield time can add up to hours.

Heavy-duty windshield time can get expensive: you're paying your highly-paid technicians for sitting in a car for hours. This greatly and unnecessarily raises personnel costs. And the time it takes for technicians to get on site is time that your revenue-generating equipment stays down.

You don't have to put up with windshield time or its costs. Here are 12 leading causes of windshield time, plus some advice on how you can determine if you're incurring too much windshield time and how you can avoid it.

1. Unexpected outages requiring unscheduled repairs at remote sites

Unscheduled repairs create uncontrollable windshield time costs. If you don't know how many truck rolls are going to happen this month, you don't know what your operational expenses really are.

You can bring your outages and your truck rolls under control with proactive network monitoring. Getting visibility of growing problems before they cause outages lets you take care them during regularly scheduled maintenance.

Check your event logs for unplanned outages and truck rolls. If you're visiting your sites more often than schedules, it's a sign you need better monitoring.

2. Site visits to operate on-site equipment

Many problems can be solved by simply turning a switch-starting a backup generator, for example. But if the switch is 20 miles away, that simple solution becomes pretty expensive.

Every device at your sites can and should be remotely operated through your network monitoring equipment. Remote operation enables you to solve more network problems right from the NOC, with no truck roll necessary.

Check your most recent full audit of your remote site equipment and see how much of your equipment isn't controlled from your NOC. Then check that list against your event logs. Determine if any of the uncontrolled equipment caused a truck roll in the last year.

(For even better remote control of on-site equipment, you need a network monitoring system that supports automatic alarm correction)

Site Access Survey Results

Repair technicians are granted access to our remote sites by:

  • Providing them with a key: 55.56%
  • Providing them with a special authorization code that limits entry points and access times: 33.33%
  • Providing a standard authorization code: 11.11%
  • Meeting them at site: 0%

Source: The Protocol

3. Sending the wrong personnel with the wrong tools and supplies to the remote site

If you don't know what the problem is, how can you be sure you're prepared to correct it? Technicians often travel to remote sites to diagnose the problem-and then have to return to the central office for the correct tools, the correct supplies, or a technician with specialized training.

A quality network alarm monitoring system will give you detailed information about alarm events, ensuring that you'll really know what the problem is and you can send the right person with the right tools to do the job.

How much detailed information are you getting from your current monitoring system? Are you confident that, if a repair is required, you can always send a fully prepared technician?