Locomotive assignments are determined by matching the trailing tonnage with power available. The power manager has only cursory information about the power (either "good" or "bad") and is not aware of potential problems unless alerted by hostlers or outbound crew. Will the locomotive be able to complete its next assignment? Are there any pending problems with the locomotive that may cause the unit to not complete its mission? Are the cab conditions adequate for the unit to be assigned as a lead unit? Is there enough fuel for the locomotive to complete its mission?
With the inbound health package, a power manager can quickly answer these questions and increase the odds locomotive will be able to complete its mission.