As you know, a fleet maintenance plan starts with a long list of preventive maintenance tasks that aim to increase the life and efficiency of your cars, trucks, tractors, and other vehicles. Everything else is built around that fundamental list.
Once you have a good system in place to manage your teams and the timing of maintenance tasks, you can level up your strategy in increments over time. You might analyze your schedule of brake inspections, for example, and look for new opportunities to save money on rotors for your passenger cars. Often, the reason behind making tweaks to your plan centers on cost savings.
Fleet maintenance pro tips
Your day-to-day experience will undoubtedly yield a truckload of possible ideas that might improve your fleet maintenance strategy. Here are a few next-level tips of our own.
1. Clean up your data
After accumulating data for several years, you’ll want to review the fields you’ve been collecting and audit them for usefulness and data integrity.
- Can you introduce new fields that will provide better insight into your operations than your current data points?
- Is there an opportunity to streamline several fields to speed up the data collection process?
- Are there any red flags? Does any of your data-on-paper seem like it’s not reflecting the reality of the road?
- Of course, our favorite tip is to look for bogus entries and typing mistakes that might skew your reports. This is especially common when typing in odometer readings—it’s all too easy to accidentally transpose numbers.
2. Calculate total costs
Obviously, the cost of owning and operating a fleet of vehicles is more than just the acquisition price and fuel costs. Think about new ways to analyze the complete cost and value proposition of your assets.
- Do you have a formula to capture labor, supplies, depreciation, and overhead attributed to fleet activity? Have you shared that bottom-line cost with the operators and maintenance teams? Doing so will help them appreciate the valuable investment that they’re responsible for.
- Can you express the lifetime cost of a vehicle in terms of a salary equivalent, such as “Every truck we add to our fleet is the equivalent of adding two part-time technicians”? It’s a great way to put costs into perspective.
3. Revisit purchasing options
It’s easy to get into the habit of buying the same items over and over again in an effort to save time. Occasionally revisiting your purchasing options for vehicles and parts can pay off.
- Have you asked your vendors for loyalty discounts recently? They might be willing to offer a new price if they know you’re shopping around.
- Do you have your inventory levels set appropriately? Overstocking parts and materials can lead to unnecessary costs, while understocking items will cause delays in fleet maintenance schedules.
- Are you keeping up with new vehicle offerings that demonstrate better fuel economy or less maintenance? Does that speed up the replacement time on your oldest assets?
4. Get close to the action
Even the greatest strategies require reassessment and adjustment. Consider how you might increase your fleet maintenance plan’s effectiveness.
- How well do your processes support your maintenance teams? Are you creating an efficient workflow or do some tasks create bottlenecks?
- Are your schedules realistic? How often do bad weather events throw your team off schedule?
- Have you involved your drivers or technicians in strategic development? This is a great time to listen with an open mind.
5. Think long-term
It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind. When was the last time you planned ahead with a one-, three-, and five-year fleet maintenance strategy?
- Have you considered the possibility of sudden business growth, such as a merger or acquisition?
- Can you redeploy some of your older fleet assets for other purposes?
- Have you reconsidered the resale or disposal of your outdated vehicles lately? Are there new options to review?
Every fleet manager has measurable business improvement in mind. Dedicating time to reviewing and adjusting your fleet maintenance strategy can pay off.
ManagerPlus's fleet maintenance software is a scalable enterprise asset management platform designed to meet your fleet maintenance needs—no matter your size or industry. Our cloud-based solutions will support you anywhere, whether you’re in the office or out in the field. And now, they’re faster than ever. Ready for a closer look? Schedule a demo today.
About the author
ManagerPlus is the preferred solution across the most asset-intensive industries, including Fortune 500 companies, to improve reliability and minimize downtime.