Your vehicles are the most essential part of your fleet. Such a major investment requires proper care to make sure you’re running a productive business. This is where fleet maintenance comes in.
In this article, we’ll answer the question “what is fleet maintenance” and why you should make it a top priority if you’re looking for successful fleet management.
What is Fleet Maintenance?
Fleet maintenance is the process of the upkeep and repair of the vehicle owners by a certain company or organization.
By keeping the vehicles of your fleet in good condition, you’ll ensure that they stay reliable and safe as well as being drivable for as long as possible.
Fleet maintenance is one of the integral parts of any fleet management system and it helps greatly in keeping your business running smoothly and successfully.
Although the vehicle might be one of your business’s top assets, a lot of business owners overlook fleet maintenance and proper management for the sake of cutting down on spendings.
However, hiring professional fleet management to get the job done can actually help you save even more money!
What is Involved in Fleet Management?
The administrative approach of fleet management might be new to many business owners. So, you might be wondering about what fleet management offers.
Here are some of the challenges that fleet managers will do instead of you while you run other errands to grow and expand your business.
- Acquiring, utilizing, and caring for fleet assets
- Vehicle dispatching and optimization of routes
- Organize, schedule, as well as overseeing regular maintenance programs for the fleet vehicles
- Managing and controlling costs of all expenses for vehicles’ maintenance
- Developing and implementing a general health and safety policy for the drivers
- Run advanced software to better manage and monitor the fleet while operating
- Evaluate various options (such as fuel used) to make sure that the company is making the maximum amount of profits without compromising quality
What is the Importance & Benefits of Fleet Maintenance?
Having a maintenance program and keeping your fleet in a good condition is crucial for the growth of your business. In this section, you’ll know more about the benefits of maintaining a good fleet condition.
1. Helps in Extending the Lifespan of Your Fleet Vehicles
If you want to make the most out of your vehicles, you have to make sure that they stay on the road for as much time as possible.
This will save you the costs of updating your fleet with new vehicles and spending more money on their legalization and paperwork.
By performing preventive checkups and keeping a regular maintenance schedule, you’ll make sure that the vehicles stay in mint condition.
Also, it’ll help you avoid using a faulty part for a long time, which can eventually lead to other parts to malfunction as well.
2. Reduce Overall Fuel Costs by Keeping the Vehicle in Best Shape
One of the biggest benefits of keeping the car well maintained is better saving on fuel costs. A highly maintained vehicle will consume far less fuel because there won’t be any clogging in the air filters, old oils, or dirty fuel containers.
3. Save You Money in the Long Run
Based on the previous point, you can conclude that keeping routine maintenance will help you to eventually save a lot of money.
For instance, fuel consumption is one of the biggest ongoing expenses in the operating costs report.
According to the Washington Post, a study in 2013 showed that 40% of all ongoing fleet expenses were accounted for by fuel alone. By reducing the consumption of fuel, you’ll be saving a lot of money in the process.
Not only that, but during regular fleet maintenance and checkups you do, you’ll be able to detect and fix issues before they develop into something more serious and costs even more money.
For all those reasons, you can rest assured that fleet vehicle maintenance will save your company money in the long run.
4. Reduce the Unplanned Downtime
One of the most problematic aspects of running a fleet is that when something goes wrong in the vehicle, you’ll need to stop it from operating to get properly fixed.
In other words, you won’t only lose money due to maintenance, but also due to the unexpected downtime and delayed operations that the vehicle will miss.
Also, the problem might be too severe that the vehicle fails FMCSA inspections, which means even more downtime and more money lost.
Fleet maintenance and proper management will keep the vehicle complaint to all the government safety laws for the type of vehicles you’re using.
5. Maximize Safety for Drivers and Items Transported
A good indicator of the health of your company is the safety of both drivers and the items they’re transported.
If you’re transporting items through your fleet, keeping them in perfect conditions is almost always crucial.
Not only that, but maintaining driver safety should also be a top priority, as it’s a clear indicator that your vehicles are fit for the road and safe to use.
How Do You Manage Fleet Maintenance?
There are various ways to manage a fleet. Let’s have a brief overview of each one of them.
Doing it on Your Own
The first method is, of course, managing all your assets yourself. However, things can easily and quickly get out of hand in addition to a lot of disadvantages.
Also, as your vehicle number starts to grow, it’ll become much harder to manage your fleet and it might limit your chance for expansions and company growth.
Opting for a Fleet Management Services
The second, and much more convenient, method for managing your fleet is by hiring professionals to handle all the tasks related to the job.
That’s why a huge portion of successful companies and industrial giants are relying on fleet management where service providers offer advanced technology for better fleet maintenance.
These fleet managers use telematics boxes, GPS systems, as well as fleet management software that enable real-time tracking for excellent maintenance management.
What Is The Driver’s Role in Fleet Maintenance?
Since drivers are the people who interact the most with your vehicles, they play a crucial role in maintenance management as well.
That’s why it’s critical to properly train the drivers to inspect the vehicles regularly and report any warning signs as well as anything that goes wrong on the road.
In fact, fleet maintenance managers will also use the drivers’ daily inspection report that they submit to further assess the needed servicing while managing a fleet.
Can Fleet Management Services Help in Fleet Maintenance?
Fleet Management provides a wide variety of tools and methods to help you keep the fleet maintenance in check, here is how they can help you with that.
Supply You with Critical Metrics and Vehicle Stats
Fleet management services use advanced technologies and tools to keep the vehicle’s maintenance in check. This includes telematics devices.
This one is a device that transmits information about the vehicle and collective data about the driver’s behavior. In general, the telematics device provides software with a lot of metrics, such as:
- Fuel consumption
- Vehicle mileage and uptime
- Time spent idling
- The counts of hard braking and sharp cornering
- Maintenance information and warning diagnostic issues
- Hard acceleration and speeding in general, and more
Prevent Drivers from Reckless Behavior
When drivers of your fleet know that fleet managers are using advanced devices to track and quantify various metrics about the vehicle, especially with real-time monitoring, you should expect them to be much more careful while driving.
This results in less speeding and breaking the law as well as less sharp cornering and acceleration that might result in accidents and damages to the items transported.
Help in Spotting and Even Predicting Issues
With all this information in hand, telematics systems can actually predict an issue from an early point, and before it becomes a serious issue that will cost a lot more to fix.
Fleet managers can use this valuable information to reduce the unplanned downtime of the vehicles and keep the fleet in better condition.
Track the Vehicle continuously
Fleet managers will also use GPS tracking systems. This can be highly beneficial to study traffic patterns and find the ideal plans to reduce traffic lag time, which helps in increasing the overall productivity of your fleet.
Additionally, Knowing the exact location of your fleet vehicles will get the drivers to stay on track.
Also, GPS tracking systems will help you if a vehicle is unfortunately stolen since you’ll be able to track its current destination and report the local authorities as soon as possible
Prevent Information Overload
Fleets will generate tons of data in the long run. Some of this data will be beneficial and some won’t be worth your time.
Fleet managers will have the experience to sort through all the unnecessary information and filter out the most relevant and critical ones for the optimal data analysis
The health of your vehicles is a direct indicator of the health of your business. Without a serious approach to fleet maintenance, you’re not just risking failing compliance inspections and paying for expensive emergency repairs, but you’re also compromising your employees’ safety.