Fleet management is a demanding business requiring an intense focus on not only your customers and employees but also your fleet. Preventive maintenance (PM) is a key element in the spectrum of saving costs as a fleet owner. Preventive maintenance helps to keep your fleet efficient, safe and reliable. This maximizes on your operational services while still saving costs and delivering quality services to clients.
What You Need to Know About Maintenance
There are two types of maintenance:
- Proactive. Proactive maintenance includes planned repairs and inspections for your fleet. Maintenance is scheduled beforehand and keeps up with the details of your fleet, ensuring that the vehicles and equipment are in good condition to be lent out or used. Preventive maintenance is crafted around proactivity, which allows you to act before your vehicles or other assets break down.
- Reactive. Reactive maintenance handles unscheduled repairs. This is done after your vehicle or equipment malfunctions or breaks down during or after use. Reactive maintenance is often costly and shows a lack of proper planning.
What’s the Plan?
Preventive maintenance is focused on effective cost management by planning. To be successful, preventive maintenance requires forethought and planning.
Your fleet is a major investment and you need to keep up with how it’s being used and what you need to do to maximize its operation. Vehicle history is significant for preventive maintenance, requiring the documenting fleet repairs and inspections.
Regular inspection of your fleet is similar to an annual doctor’s check-up. You need to ensure that everything is in good condition and working properly and in case you have any malfunctions, a remedy is recommended.
Vehicle preventive maintenance helps to identify electric and mechanical defects which could increase costs down the line. Identifying defects assists you with safety issues that may arise during use of equipment—reducing the chances of paying damages for faulty equipment or automobiles. Trip inspections before and after trips are also essential for minimizing safety issues and damages that may occur.
Your fleet should be regularly inspected and fixed by a certified professional mechanic or automobile expert. Physical inventories help keep score of all your vehicles with schedules and records of which vehicles and equipment in your fleet are in good condition or have broken down. You are able to keep track of what assets are readily available for use and which ones need repair and you can take care of the expenses systematically.
Weather and road conditions greatly affect your fleet’s operational costs. Successful preventive maintenance requires you to analyze and monitor what is happening with your vehicles. When it’s hot, your drivers are likely to be highly irritable, fuel usage heightens because air conditioning systems are always on, and engine temperatures generally skyrocket.
Routine maintenance checks have to be carried out to eliminate the extra costs that come from using too much fuel or overworking the engine. Investing in fleet management software and certain GPS tracking devices can give you remote diagnostics information about your vehicles. This can help you keep track of the causes of fuel inefficiency so you can find lasting solutions to these problems. This keeps you ahead of the curve while also saving you money.
Going Beyond Maintenance: Tracking Driving Behaviors
Drivers are at the forefront of your efforts against unexpected repairs and breakdowns. Their behavior behind the wheel can have an enormous impact on vehicle wear and tear. Fleet tracking systems keep you updated on the driver’s activities like mileage, speed, and non-work related trips that could indicate misuse.
GPS systems can monitor vehicle diagnostics and some have speed monitors to keep track of driving behaviors. You can follow up on driving behavior and communicate your concerns to the driver through applications that allow two-way communication. For example, PocketRastrac, a smartphone-based tracking app, offers the option to communicate directly to the driver.
Every business tries to find multiple ways to save on costs. Preventive maintenance is an effective means for fleet owners to save on operational costs by getting fuel efficient, monitoring driver behaviors, and focusing on less costly "just-in-time" vehicle maintenance rather than costly post-failure repairs.
Your equipment and vehicles keep you in business. Therefore, you need preventive maintenance strategies to reduce safety risks and its related costs. In fleet maintenance, an ounce of prevention is worth a metric ton of cure.