Another year, same old challenges. As a fleet manager, it’s your job to ensure things run smoothly and efficiently. By enhancing your approach to fleet maintenance, you can move things in a positive direction.
The Case for Better Fleet Maintenance
The objective of fleet maintenance is to ensure your assets remain in good operational condition so that your business can continue to be as safe, efficient, and profitable as possible. And while most businesses settle for “good enough” when it comes to fleet maintenance, the best organizations focus on constant and never-ending improvement.
In 2022, we face a number of distinct challenges from all angles. If you aren’t focused on improving, then you’re actually falling behind. A more proactive approach can lead to a long list of benefits like lower operational costs, increased driver safety, better vehicle utilization rates, greater fuel efficiency, happier drivers, lower turnover, and a better business reputation. All of these factors have a direct or indirect impact on the company’s bottom line and health as a whole.
Tips for Enhancing Your Fleet Maintenance This Year
As you think about ways to enhance your fleet maintenance this year, here are several tips we’d encourage you to put into action:
- Standardize Purchasing Requirements
It’s tempting to go from one sale to another looking for the best deals on new vehicles for your fleet. However, this usually results in a hodge-podge assortment of vehicles that are difficult to maintain because of a lack of standardization. The solution is to streamline your purchasing requirements by creating a purchasing checklist that goes through a single fleet manager.
When creating your purchasing requirements checklist, the fleet manager should consider things like the availability and affordability of replacement parts, fuel efficiency, load carrying capacity, low total cost of ownership, industry-specific features, warranties, and more.
- Choose the Right Fleet Maintenance Software
Stop manually performing repetitive tasks that can easily be automated for greater accuracy and lower costs. Instead, choose the right fleet maintenance software. In particular, look for fleet maintenance software that addresses areas like:
- Labor and productivity: digitizing work order management, meeting safety and compliance standards, benchmarking labor with codified repairs, capturing audit trail of work completed, automated preventive maintenance scheduling, etc.
- Warranty capture: report on missing warranties, track failure patterns, expedite supplier payments (when needed), etc.
- Third-party integration: integrates with other mission-critical systems like telematics and ERP, reduces manual reconciliation, eliminates information silos, etc.
- Data and analytics: monitor real-time data, benchmark operations with KPIs, access metrics for evidence-based decision making, etc.
In other words, adopting the right fleet maintenance software changes everything. It removes the guesswork and gives you a cohesive and objective lens to see things.
- Implement and/or Improve Driver Checklists
If you don’t already have driver checklists, you need them. And if you already have them, there’s a good chance that you could benefit from improving them.
Requiring drivers to sign off on detailed checklists does a couple of things. First off, it helps identify potential maintenance issues before a vehicle hits the road (at which point a breakdown becomes an expensive and time-consuming headache). Secondly, it allows you to pinpoint when issues occur and hold drivers accountable (if necessary). Thankfully, this can all be streamlined with good fleet maintenance software.
- Be More Strategic With Asset Utilization
There’s a statistic in the industry that says 42 percent of fleets experience just 5 percent utilization of their assets. In other words, nearly half of all fleets aren’t using 95 percent of their assets. That’s a huge wasted expense.
Your numbers might not be this high, but it’s worth considering how well you’re utilizing your assets. By implementing a more strategic approach, you can lower costs and reallocate time, energy, and money to the assets that are being utilized.
- Get to Know Your Drivers
It might sound silly, but spending more time with your drivers is an excellent way to enhance fleet maintenance. How so, you might ask? Well, it’s pretty simple. When communication is good, drivers are more likely to be proactive and tell you about small issues before they become major problems. Not only that, but these drivers are less likely to quit over small things. So for a small investment of your time, you can lower costs and increase driver retention rates. Not bad!
Putting it All Together
Fleet maintenance isn’t easy, nor is it always the most exciting and fun aspect of running a business. However, if you want to improve in 2022 and take that next step forward, this is one element that you should really focus on enhancing.