Downtime is a serious threat to anyone responsible for running a fleet. It is one of the most dreaded scenarios for a fleet manager to see their fleet off the road and not be used.
Such methods will cause delayed jobs, unplanned expenses, loss of revenue, delayed productivity, a negative impact on the company’s reputation, and, most notably, customer dissatisfaction.
The main reason behind unplanned fleet downtime is the lack of a proper fleet maintenance system. A well-planned fleet maintenance strategy can keep the vehicle running on the road without unwanted maintenance costs.
On that note, here is a list of the most comprehensive plan to deal with the downtime of your fleet:
Conduct Routine Fleet Maintenance
One of the best ways to keep your vehicle running without many interruptions is by performing scheduled maintenance inspections.
Implement a proactive Preventive Maintenance (PM) program that allows you to identify major fleet maintenance issues before the breakdown occurs, and, in turn, eliminates the chances of downtime.
Preventive maintenance in the form of a temperature monitoring system will essentially prolong the life cycle of your vehicle by ensuring it is always in the best condition possible.
Plan such maintenance inspections during off-hours and be mindful of the time that thorough maintenance can take up.
For a seamless process, record the maintenance data and be ready for the next maintenance check-up.
Check Replacement Parts
All vehicle parts come with a specific life cycle, and thus, a fleet manager must check whether the parts are still operable or require replacement.
Instead of waiting for a total failure of the component, it would be smart to replace such parts within its specified life cycle and avoid unwanted breakdowns.
Furthermore, you should always replace such parts with genuine products from an authentic manufacturer rather than cheap and inferior quality items.
Even maintenance personnel and repair shops sometimes use a poor-quality product for the replacement to get more commission. Hence, it is better to check it for yourself before letting them replace it.
Reduce Shop Time And Increase Productivity
Timely maintenance won’t be of much help if it is not done effectively.
Conducting maintenance processes with a body shop that causes delays and doesn’t deliver excellent results will be a waste of your precious time.
As such, you need to conduct fleet maintenance with your maintenance facility or a repair shop that values time and work. Schedule your maintenance only when your vehicles are not required.
An added tip to prevent further delays is to check if all the replacement parts and equipment are available before starting the maintenance process.
Select The Right Vehicle For Your Fleet
Selecting vehicles that require lesser maintenance and have minimal repair costs can play a significant role in preventing downtime.
Generally speaking, modern vehicles with advanced technology require considerably less maintenance than old generation vehicles.
Also, choose the vehicle that fits your purpose. For instance, if your fleet tends to operate in areas with poor road conditions, it will be wise to choose a vehicle with higher ground clearance.
Sometimes, you might even need to have a different vehicle for different purposes. Do your research and see which vehicle would be perfect for your fleet.
Hours Of Service And Automatic Logs
To reduce the chances of downtime caused by road accidents, you need to be compliant with the rules. In the USA, drivers must avoid exceeding the number of hours of service to prevent distractions and accidents.
To maintain compliance, drivers must update their logs, and managers must keep track of their service hours.
With an advanced Electronic Logging Device or ELD, you no longer have to worry about your service hours, as the ELD helps you manage it more effectively by separating them into various categories.
As a fleet manager, the ELD also enables you to keep track of driver activities and take corrective measures in case there is a violation of rules.
Install Speed Limiters
Rash driving will not only increase the chances of downtime but also put a negative impression on people who see your driver running the vehicle at 90 mph.
A speed limiter is a device that can keep your fleet on the road for a longer time by limiting the vehicle’s speed. Besides, installing speed limiters can save a significant amount of fuel expenses.
Many fleet managers already use speed limiters to cap their fuel expenses and maintain safe and sound transportation for both the vehicle and its driver.
Drivers are the biggest reason for fleet downtime. Unless the drivers take responsibility for their vehicles, no matter what the manager does to avoid vehicle malfunction, their vehicle will always end up at a repair shop.
In contrast, when drivers start to care for their vehicles, the risk of failure and downtime will automatically decrease. Hence, it is necessary to retrain drivers about safety while driving.
Managers can maintain a strong relationship with drivers and discuss the potential rewards of working mutually.
They can train drivers who aren’t aware of what is gps and familiarize them with the technical features of their vehicle to help them maintain it better.
Managing your drivers will lead them to conduct a regular inspection of the vehicle before and after a trip and ensure proper driving on the road.
Install Fleet Maintenance Software
Fleet maintenance software helps a fleet manager manage inspection, PM programs, shop operation, drivers, and other elements that contribute to unplanned downtime in one fell swoop.
The data obtained through software analysis makes it easier to identify fleet breakdowns before occurrence and resolve such issues seamlessly.
Managers can efficiently monitor the engine in real-time and prevent delays in delivering shipments due to breakdowns. They can obtain immediate assistance for unforeseen road problems.
Track Your Vehicles
It is crucial for you, as a fleet manager, to conduct thorough asset tracking to keep things running as smoothly as possible.
With modern applications of telematics, you can always help your driver follow the best route to avoid traffic delays and downtime.
Another advantage of tracking assets is that you will immediately know if the driver has accidentally forgotten to take the package for delivery. It saves the trouble of returning for forgotten goods and facing more downtime.
Downtime is the worst nightmare for a fleeting company. However, if you properly inspect your vehicles, stay ELD complaint, and check driver behavior, you can save a lot of time.
In the end, a fleeting company with zero downtime is the most profitable one.