In the competitive trucking industry, any increase in efficiency pays huge dividends by lowering running costs, reducing fines paid and overall improved safety. Fleet vehicles are stressed by poor road conditions, rough braking, hard stops and starts, and other poor driving habits; all contributing towards a breakdown and a weeks stay in the shop.
The Federal Energy Management Program, (FEMP) reports that implementing preventive maintenance is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce fuel use. An increase of up to 19% can also be expected in firms that use PM.
Despite knowing all these facts, why do many firms avoid fleet maintenance? They often wait till a serious incident occurs, before the vehicle is hauled in. This kind of reactive repair can get very expensive, very quickly.
Imagine your vehicle being involved in a serious accident, due to faulty components. Or the vehicle breaks down and is stranded in the middle of nowhere. Or having an entire fleet grounded for repairs during a peak period! All of these are terrible-but-possible scenarios for any fleet manager.
Some firms regard reporting as a tedious process, primarily because of how they track and determine when maintenance is due. It’s hard to believe, but some firms still track fleet data manually.
Fleet management involves too many moving parts, for any manual methods to work effectively. Even the mechanic shouldn’t be looking for faults manually. Just think, they’ll have to check the engine, oil, tires, fuel system, cooling, electrical components, exhaust, etc., every time a vehicle breaks down. Even with a dedicated crew, a check or two will be missed on a busy day. Why torture them when sensors can help pinpoint what’s wrong even before it gets really bad?
In the office, accurate tracking and recording once relied on the manager’s memory and a handy notepad to remember when vehicles were due for their servicing.
The unreliability of this method led to managers adopting fleet management by spreadsheet. By creating spreadsheets in Excel, they could track vehicles, record mileage, and maintenance history. While this is easy to use, it’s also prone to mistakes, especially from incorrect data input.
Spreadsheets must also be kept up to date (not an easy task with large fleets).
Other managers worked around those limitations by building custom fleet management databases. This approach required database building skills (which could be outsourced) and presented a better tool than a simple spreadsheet. It allowed easy data entry while simplifying reporting of data. It also allowed calculations using the data entered, allowing managers to measure KPIs.
However, it’s a very labor-(when done by self) or cost-intensive option (if outsourced).
These days, the use of fleet management software is edging out these cumbersome methods, simply because it can track more metrics providing more detailed data. FMS was initially used to track vehicle locations and make routing decisions. But now, they can report on everything from driver behavior to the current engine diagnostics.
It’s really simple: well-maintained vehicles and equipment last longer. Proactive vehicle maintenance also beats the cost of reactive repairs. Allowing managers to develop a proactive preventive maintenance program will reduce wear and tear, improve vehicle upkeep and has a huge effect on a fleet’s bottom line.
In every business, time is money and broken down vehicles cost you both. Don’t underestimate the power of timely maintenance. It’s estimated that using software to support fleet maintenance can save up to $2,000+ per truck per annum, in maintenance costs.
Take the steps to deploy and implement one today. Contact us and get a FREE demo of our world-class fleet management software.