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Ineffective Fleet Maintenance That Lead to Breakdowns Brian Dziuk | Jun 14, 2018 9:47:00 AM

vehicle breakdownAre your fleet vehicles continually breaking down? Are your vehicles running inefficiently or consuming more fuel? Your fleet maintenance strategy may be to blame for these issues. When the only thing you have to show for your fleet maintenance strategy is a bunch of receipts for repairs and replacement parts, then you need a new approach.

Using GPS tracking for fleet management is one way that effective fleet managers can easily track which vehicles received maintenance and when. However, not everyone chooses to go this route in their fleet management process.

Ineffective Fleet Maintenance Strategies

Active fleet maintenance is an essential component of fleet management. There are many different ways to approach preventative fleet maintenance — some of which are tried-and-true methods while others are bad ideas. Fleet managers typically fall into one of two categories when it comes to the maintenance of their vehicles: proactive or reactive maintenance.

The former, proactive maintenance, entails scheduling maintenance before there is a problem to keep vehicles running in optimal condition. Reactive maintenance focuses on handling unscheduled repairs and reacting to sudden breakdowns and equipment malfunctions. Simply put, the latter is a sign of poor planning and frequently results in expensive repairs that could have been avoided.

Here are three of the most ineffective strategies we’ve heard from clients:

1. Relying Solely on Memory for Preventative Fleet Maintenance

Unless you’re one of fewer than 100 people identified as having highly superior autobiographical memory (HSAM), it’s unlikely that you’re going to remember when each vehicle in your fleet last received preventative maintenance, or precisely what work was performed during the service. This unpractical (and surprisingly common) mistake that many fleet managers make leads to expensive repairs that could have been avoided easily by using GPS tracking software.

Fleet management is not an easy job, and stress can negatively affect your memory-forming processes. If you’re overloaded continuously and try to remember a bunch of important things you wish to track, you may make your memory situation worse. It can result in creating additional stress that then exacerbates the memory recall issues.

So, don’t stress — get a reliable and easy-to-use fleet management solution that makes fleet maintenance scheduling and tracking a breeze.

2. Using Manual Methods to Track Maintenance Schedules

Although this is a step in the right direction, fleet managers who at least use spreadsheets, calendars, and documents still are missing the mark when it comes to effective fleet maintenance. While using spreadsheets is a cheap way to track fleet vehicle maintenance information, cheaper isn’t always better. Spreadsheets are cumbersome and can inadvertently provide inconsistent, inaccurate, or out-of-date information when you forget to update the forms on a regular basis.

If you’re highly disciplined and organized — and have a lot of time on your hands — then a spreadsheet may work for you. However, if you’re like most overextended fleet managers that are being asked to do more with less time, then this isn’t an effective strategy.

3. Not Having a Fleet Maintenance Strategy in Place — Period

Well, there’s not much to say about this approach. Bottom line, it’s not a good idea. Not having a fleet maintenance strategy of any kind and taking a “hoping for the best” approach is going to lead to costly repairs, lost revenue, increased frustration, and a lot of fleet downtime.

Adopt a Fleet Maintenance Strategy That Works

GPS tracking and fleet management software is becoming an industry staple for many fleet managers. More than one-third of fleets that are not using GPS fleet management solutions report anticipating to integrate such a system in the future, according to the 2017-18 Survey of Fleet Operator Interest in MRM Systems and Services marketing research study by C.J. Driscoll & Associates. Another 79% of fleets currently using a fleet management system report viewing the system as very or somewhat important to efficient fleet operations.

In fleet maintenance, an ounce of prevention is worth a metric ton of cure. Help your organization cut costs, not corners with a practical and effective approach to preventative maintenance. A modern GPS tracking device can connect with your vehicles’ onboard diagnostics systems to relay data remotely.

This automated process provides you with access to accurate, up-to-date information you can use to make better decisions in terms of fleet maintenance and general fleet operations. This reduces human errors that can result from manually inputting and reporting information. It also saves valuable time for you and your drivers.

Furthermore, modern GPS tracking devices can track more than locations and vehicle diagnostics. Rastrac’s GPS trackers can help you monitor a variety of driver behaviors that can place undue wear-and-tear on your fleet vehicles and can lead to dangerous vehicle accidents.  

Discover how Rastrac’s fleet management solutions can improve or complement your fleet maintenance strategy. Click on the image below to download our free fleet efficiency guide now.

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