Maintenance is integral to making your fleet run in an effective and efficient way.
What is fleet maintenance?
Basically speaking, it’s the steps you take to take to ensure your vehicles are fit for use and operating in a good condition. As one of your business’s top investments, it’s important that each individual vehicle is safe, reliable and can stay on the road for the optimum amount of time.
Put simply, vehicle maintenance is integral to managing a productive business, and without such an approach you put your business – and all associated assets – at risk.
When implementing a plan, consider things such as:
- Operating and maintenance costs – you know what they say: prevention is better than a cure!
- The cost of fuel – poorly maintained equipment has a negative impact on this
- The safety of your drivers – ineffective service programs can result in incidents that put your drivers at risk
- Customer satisfaction – operating reliable vehicles has a big impact in this area
- Reports indicate that the average cost of operating a truck has increased by 6% since 2017 to $1.69 per mile, but having an effective fleet maintenance program can help offset some of these costs.
But remember, you need to ensure you’re planning and implementing your programs well in order to take advantage of all the benefits. Here are six things to consider:
1. The importance of scheduling
Regular maintenance is essential to maintain a fully operational fleet. We suggest a good place to start is with the service schedule provided by a vehicle’s manufacturer. It’s also important to keep in mind the operational needs of your fleet – you can schedule maintenance based on mileage or other measures, such as engine hours or fuel use.
The other benefit of regular maintenance is that it can also help detect small problems before they become much bigger, more costly concerns. If you stick to maintenance schedules this means that vehicles remain in prime working condition over longer periods, which then tends to have a positive impact on resale values.
2. Regular inspections help prevent unscheduled downtime
During yard checks, at fuel islands or in specially designated lanes, inspections are the quickest way to find potential vehicle problems within your fleet. For trained maintenance personnel, inspections may be part of a day’s work, but it’s important that you get your drivers to play their part in recognizing and reporting problems.
Another vital aspect is training your drivers on how to correctly conduct pre and post-trip inspections – this not only satisfies regulatory requirements, but also can help to eliminate more costly problems. You then have a system in place to communicate these concerns to your shop technicians.
3. Employing skilled technicians
In our experience, employing skilled staff and supporting this through on-going training is a worthwhile investment that pays off in any successful fleet maintenance program.
Your technicians need to be trained to effectively and efficiently perform preventive maintenance tasks and make the necessary repairs. This needs to include an understanding of the importance of thorough preventive maintenance procedures.
You can cover off the basics through advice which is readily available from vehicle and equipment suppliers. In all cases, they can yield significant long-term benefits. For example, retaining qualified technicians may prove an on-going challenge, but additional training opportunities often prove a competitive advantage when it comes to attracting the most skilled workforce within the industry.
4. Integrating inventory and parts management
Effective parts inventory management practices are a key element of any cost effective and efficient fleet maintenance program. When the inventory is optimized and the right parts are in stock, your technicians will be able to complete service and repair work within timescales which reduces both labor costs and asset downtime.
We think it’s equally important to have an adequate stock of commonly used parts and an inventory that can be accessed quickly and easily. Organizing parts helps to keep maintenance tasks on schedule. Likewise, it’s a valuable practice in identifying the fast-moving parts that need ordering frequently so that they’re readily available.
5.Improving workshop efficiency
It may seem obvious, but good shop working conditions can make or break your fleet maintenance program success. Even things as simple as lighting and climate control systems can have an impact on overall workshop efficiency and productivity.
Download our free product brochure and discover how it allows technicians to quickly manage assigned maintenance tasks in an easy-to-use web app both in the workshop or out in the field