Modern fleet managers are expected to solve a variety of problems when it comes to keeping their fleets running in tip-top shape. And for many organizations, one of the biggest challenges of fleet maintenance is that the profit margins in this business can be low while budgets remain pretty restrictive.
Here, we’ll take a look at some of the ways you can overcome these challenges and get better performance out of your fleet maintenance program.
1. Digitization of vehicles
Many of today’s fleet challenges start at vehicle digitization. This is the process of inputting everything that physically happens with your fleet into a computer for digital record-keeping. It might seem obvious, but the days of tracking with paper files are long gone. Today, tracking is about much more than a piece of paper in a folder. It’s about making sure that you have an accurate digital representation that reflects the actual condition of each vehicle.
Doing this allows for some pretty cool technology applications and enable you a much greater insight into your fleet. Tracking assets digitally helps you know what is going on, even when you’re not physically present. It also allows you to make better, data-driven decisions with regard to your finances.
The best way to digitize your fleet is using an asset management platform. While some organizations attempt to do this using spreadsheets or basic maintenance management software, neither typically has the reporting power or analytical ability necessary for a modern competitive edge. As it turns out, using an asset management platform for your fleet maintenance solves many of the challenges you’ll find on this list.
2. Fuel costs
When it comes to challenges, few can be as volatile as fuel costs. While the price of a gallon may not impact an individual driver, this is a much bigger issue for a fleet manager. Buying gas in quantity means that slight fluctuations result in big costs. Tackling this challenge is a matter of controlling the pieces you can.
One thing is certain when it comes to fuel and maintenance: better maintained vehicles are more efficient with their fuel. And, while you can’t control the whole economy to control gas prices, you can control how efficiently your vehicles use their fuel.
Making sure your vehicles are running efficiently requires you to specifically track your MPG for each vehicle. It also requires that you track that number over time and watch for discrepancies. It also requires that you track your engine health through tracking the routine maintenance that will keep it running at its best. Both of these are easily done through software designed to help you maintain your fleet, this also shows the benefits of a fleet maintenance software.
3. Forecasting maintenance costs
One of the best benefit of a fleet management software is that it shows you which vehicles are going to cost you money, how much, and when. With some costs, you can anticipate the regular maintenance. These include simple things like oil changes or regular tune-ups. Predictable maintenance is good because it fits into your budget and is easily accounted for. Unfortunately, not everything is as easy to predict as oil changes.
Forecasting maintenance as part of fleet maintenance is only possible through advanced asset tracking. This record-tracking makes it possible to spot trends in your emergency maintenance. When you can spot a trend within your emergency maintenance, it makes that maintenance predictable. With a good fleet maintenance program, like ManagerPlus Lightning, you can begin to notice some of the indicators that lead to those breakdowns. This leads to cost reductions on two fronts.
First, you’ll be able to predict when costs are likely to occur—even for many of the emergency costs. Second, by predicting when costs might hit, you’ll be able to proactively service fleet vehicles and their related fixed assets before they breakdown, which offers much more cost-savings in the long run.
4. Scaling the maintenance system with the fleet
When it comes to fleet management, growth is always a factor. But, as any fleet manager knows, fleet maintenance gets harder when you have more vehicles to manage. Keeping one vehicle in working order can be done with a notepad and some elbow grease. Keeping ten in working order requires some help. So, what do you need to maintain even more vehicles?
The benefit of a fleet maintenance software is that it takes you out from the paper work, which is crucial to scaling your maintenance with the size of the fleet. In fact, the two go hand in hand. When you’ve got powerful fleet maintenance software, you're better equipped to organize your fleet so that growth is not just possible, but the logical next step. ManagerPlus Lightning is built with exactly this kind of scalability in mind. It grows with you and creates a program where that kind of growth is possible.
5. Software that complicates instead of simplifies
For many organizations, the idea of implementing a CMMS is terrifying. This is because CMMS is too often an additional complication that makes things harder to get done. Instead of making life easier for fleet maintenance, it makes it a hassle.
The solution to this might sound counter-intuitive. It requires that you spend time making sure that the fleet maintenance system you plan to invest in is easy to use. You also need to dedicate appropriate time and resources to implementing the software into your daily routine. This is made much simpler when the company providing your software has extensive experience with implementing their software into companies like yours.
6. Gaining accountability into your operations
Accountability is one of the biggest challenges that faces fleet maintenance managers today which turned as big benefit of a facility management software. Sometimes, they need to understand what their drivers are doing. In other cases, they need to have a clearer picture of their overall maintenance process and know where they stand. In each case, they are really looking for two things: better data, and more connectivity to their workforce.
A good fleet maintenance software platform will not only record your data for you but give you access to that data through intuitive dashboards. It also connects with your workforce through mobile connectivity. This helps the entire team keep an accurate record of what’s been done, and prepares them for what’s next on the schedule. And when everybody’s on the same page, this means not only will you have greater visibility into work logs and technicians, you’ll also gain a better understanding of how your maintenance processes are performing (which helps you plan more strategically).
Implementing a strong maintenance management program can be quite the undertaking—especially given the logistical complexities of today’s fleet environment—but the results are well worth it. And fortunately, there are a number of solutions out there that can help you eliminate many of these pain points and get you back to running your business.
If you’re ready to see how a fleet maintenance platform could transform your business, we’d be delighted to walk you through it. Schedule a free demo with us today, and we’ll show you all the different ways ManagerPlus Lightning can take your fleet management program to the next level.