Minimum Input... Maximum Output

TurfCentric's SmartShop (U.S. Patent Number 7,356,393) technology automatically alerts mechanics when scheduled equipment maintenance is due. SmartShop eliminates manual systems and the guesswork often associated with preventative maintenance operations. It also maintains complete service records for equipment items including services performed along with associated part and labor costs. Here's a summary of how the system works followed by more detail:

  1. A small, rugged sensor, called a Vehicle Data Module, or "VDM," is bolted to each equipment item. The VDM transmits equipment maintenance requirements to shop personnel at the moment equipment items are triggered for service.

  2. As equipment items are triggered for scheduled maintenance, their required services are broadcast to shop personnel in three ways simultaneously. First, the required services appear on an interactive touch screen station mounted in the shop area. Second, the required services appear on mobile, hand-held, wireless Palm devices that can be used anywhere in the field. Third, the required services are broadcast to the SmartShop host website accessible by authorized users from any PC with Internet access (password protected).

  3. The purpose of the touch station is to provide a highly visible, up-to-the-minute system that alerts shop personnel of any equipment items that currently require service. Employees ready for another job can simply walk up to the touch station and press their finger on any listed item to display its current service requirements. With one more touch the employee can opt to snooze the required services to occur later or print a work order to initiate service.

  4. The mobile, wireless Palm device also allows users to view any items with current service requirements and initiate work. In addition, the Palm device incorporates a built-in barcode scanner that allows users to quickly scan out of inventory any parts used in an equipment work order. As parts are scanned from inventory, on-hand inventory levels are adjusted and the parts used as well as their costs are automatically associated with the item that was serviced.

  5. Finally, when the work is done, the responsible employee indicates their time spent on the job. The SmartShop then automatically creates a service record with details of the services performed as well as the associated part and labor costs. The system then resets the just completed services to recur on their next scheduled interval.

Pre-Loaded Maintenance Schedules & Replacement Parts

SmartShop incorporates a built-in library of equipment maintenance requirements and replacement parts called the QuickLoad(tm). It includes the PM schedules and recommended replacement parts for most manufacturers, including John Deere, Toro, Textron, Club Car and many others. Upon initial setup, users simply access the QuickLoad to select and download the equipment items used at their facility. Once downloaded to the SmartShop, the manufacturer's scheduled maintenance requirements and recommended replacement parts are automatically associated with each downloaded item (if desired, this information can be edited to custom fit your operation).

Meter Readings Retrieved Automatically / Wirelessly

Most equipment items are triggered for service by days of use, hours of use, and/or miles driven.

For required services that trigger based on days of use, the SmartShop system references a built-in calendar to automatically detect when equipment needs service. For example, assume an equipment item is scheduled for maintenance to occur on March 4, 2003. When the SmartShop calendar reaches that date the system will automatically alert the user of any services scheduled for that time.

For required services that trigger based on hours of use or mileage, this information must first be transferred from the actual equipment item to the SmartShop before the system can determine if service is due. This transfer and update of meter/odometer information is handled in either of the following ways:

  1. Equipment items can automatically transmit their meter/odometer information to the SmartShop anytime they travel near the shop area if using TurfCentric's vehicle sensor technology. This entails bolting a small, extremely rugged sensor, called the Vehicle Data Module or VDM, to each equipment item. Antennas designed to receive and transfer meter updates from an equipment item's VDM to the SmartShop host system are also installed in the shop. When an equipment item comes within range of the antenna, its equipment identification is first verified and then its current meter/odometer information is instantly transmitted to the SmartShop host. 

  2. Meter/odometer readings can also be transmitted from each equipment item to the SmartShop host via a mobile Palm device (scanner). This entails bar-coding each equipment item to identify it in the SmartShop. Once bar-coded, users can periodically scan each equipment item with the Palm to wirelessly retrieve from the SmartShop its last known meter reading. Users then press an up arrow button on the Palm to update the meter to its current reading. This updated meter information is instantly transmitted to the SmartShop host via a wireless radio signal.

Instant Messaging of Required Maintenance

The SmartShop broadcasts required maintenance to shop personnel in the following ways:

  1. Employees are alerted of equipment items that currently require service via an interactive touch screen station. The moment service becomes due for an equipment item it instantly appears in bright red on the touch screen display until confirmed. Unconfirmed equipment items will continue to appear in bright red on the touch screen display until their services are either rescheduled (snoozed) or until work on that item is initiated. With the push of a single touch screen button employees can create and print a work order detailing an items required services and recommended replacement parts.

  2. Employees are also alerted of equipment items that require service via mobile, hand-held Palm devices. Employees can view current service requirements for all items with the press of a single button or they can simply scan the barcode of an individual equipment item to view its current service requirements. Note that when an equipment meter is updated using the Palm, the user is immediately notified on the Palm screen if service requirements were triggered.

Work Order Records for Historical Tracking

The SmartShop logs all completed equipment maintenance and repair work orders for historical tracking. These records include the services performed, the parts used and the employee(s) that did the work along with their time spent on the job. If desired, the system can close work orders with one button touch by using the default parts and labor times associated with the services performed (defaults can be overridden with actual part use and labor times). With this information, authorized users can generate straightforward reports from any PC with Internet access, comparing the time and money associated with scheduled and non-scheduled equipment maintenance.

Inventory Management via Bar Code Technology

The SmartShop inventory module can be used anytime employees want to adjust inventory levels. Following are SmartShop methods to adjust inventory levels:

  1. Employees can use the Palm device to scan an inventory item and adjust its on-hand quantity by using an up/down button. Employees can also use the Palm to add new inventory items to the SmartShop database from the field (parts room). Simply enter the part number, item description, and initial quantity to add the item to the SmartShop system.

  2. Users can also access the SmartShop inventory module from their desktop PC to adjust on-hand inventory by highlighting the desired item and entering the adjusted quantity.

Copyright © 2002 TurfCentric, Inc. All rights reserved.
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