Opting for the best fleet maintenance solutions is not an easy task, but that doesn't mean it isn't feasible for all fleet managers.
Fleet maintenance is one of the most important expenses for fleets. And rightly so, because without working vehicles, the fallout and risk to your business can be catastrophic. After all, if your fleet isn't working, it's not making money.
Fear not, here are some of the best fleet maintenance solutions you can implement to drive your fleet operations and make asset management a little easier.
1. Electronically track all fleet maintenance data
Everything about your fleet needs to be measured and recorded in a system of record or database.This article focuses on fleet maintenance, but you should also track other metrics such as driver assignments, fuel expenses, problems and inspections, which we will discuss later.
In the past, fleet professionals used paper records to collect data and some ended up using spreadsheets. These tools simply aren't as effective as some of the solutions we have access to today.
With new software advances, we are now able to track and organize all fleet data in a comprehensive and easy to understand manner. Data for all your vehicle repairs, preventive maintenance programs and services must be detailed and updated regularly.
2. Set vehicle maintenance performance standards
This is perhaps one of the most overlooked, yet critical, solutions for thorough fleet maintenance management. Setting criteria that meet your standards is a great way to measure performance and maintain the best possible outcome.
Some factors that your fleet maintenance performance standards should include are
Quality Control: How well has your technician or supplier maintained the vehicle? You should implement your own quality control to inspect the maintenance work to ensure it meets your standards.
Repair turnaround rate: is your supplier responding to maintenance requests in a timely manner or are your vehicles spending more time in the store than necessary? Track maintenance turnaround time to ensure it is consistent and that routine tasks, such as oil changes, are not taking three to four days.
Service rates: Are you getting the right maintenance rates for your fleet? Don't overspend. Be sure to watch your invoices for the prices you pay vendors.
Condition of parts: Are the parts used on your vehicles in good condition? Sometimes, technicians may obtain used parts without your knowledge in order to save money.
If these factors are not consistently met, it may be time to consider alternative maintenance providers.
3. Inspect vehicles
Your fleet maintenance is not the only thing you should be monitoring. You should also track the results of your vehicle inspections. Having a proper vehicle inspection plan in place will allow your drivers and technicians to perform thorough pre- and post-trip inspections in a timely manner. If you implement electronic vehicle inspections, you can save up to 56% of your time compared to paper logs.
4. Create a maintenance program
One of the best ways to improve your fleet's maintenance process is to create a schedule of all maintenance performed on your vehicles. However, manually recording invoices, creating schedules, and going through spreadsheets can make it difficult to keep track of maintenance operations, regardless of the size of your fleet.
Instead, try using a preventive maintenance scheduling tool that will allow you to set maintenance reminders based on things like meter reading or specific time intervals. You can even receive notifications when vehicles need to be repaired quickly so you don't have to worry or waste time constantly reviewing schedules.
This will not only save you time and tell you which vehicles need attention, but will also give you much needed peace of mind.
5. Outsource your maintenance (if you have not already done so)
Trying to manage your entire fleet maintenance in-house can be a real problem. Having to have all the spare parts inventory, tools and skilled labor available can add to your costs.
Outsourced maintenance gives you access to competitive pricing, which reduces costs, increases your exposure to technical expertise and reduces potential vehicle downtime. Even smaller fleets can take advantage of national pricing and discounts by using fleet maintenance software like DIGIPARC.
Not to mention, you avoid the risks associated with your vehicles and even potential work-related injuries. Outsourcing some (or all) of your fleet's maintenance gives fleet managers the resources they need to properly oversee other fleet operations tasks.