What is Fleet Maintenance?

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At its most basic, fleet maintenance is everything it takes to keep a fleet of vehicles running efficiently and for as long as possible. It’s a process that involves the efforts of many different members across the organization and can take on several different roles—from maintenance staff to drivers. Having a solid program in place results in a more streamlined business—saving a company considerable time and money—and this means having a fleet maintenance program should be a priority for any organization looking to strengthen its overall success. That’s you!

It might seem like a good fleet maintenance process would be tricky to orchestrate. After all, it typically involves the coordination of the routine maintenance on a number of different vehicles along with the varying schedules of a whole team of mechanics and drivers. It also involves keeping track of work order schedules, performance metrics (KPIs), budgets, and other statistics to make sure everything is completed on time and at minimal cost, and helps to inform better business decisions in the future. There’s a whole list of benefits that would influence a fleet manager’s decision to use some kind of fleet asset management system—one that eases many aspects of their day to day job functions—and you’ll want to take advantage of every one of them.

Which companies should implement a Fleet Maintenance program?

The question of who should be using a fleet maintenance program isn’t a hard one. Any organization that has to manage many different vehicles, whether they are passenger automobiles, long-haul tractor trailers, or construction vehicles should be using a fleet maintenance program. Some big examples include:

Shipping and logistics companies

Maintaining a fleet of tractors requires a capable program that can ensure that breakdowns don’t occur and shipments arrive on time without maintenance complications.


Service-based companies

These companies include any business that has a fleet of service vans or trucks, like pest control, carpet cleaning, electricians, cable companies, and more. Fleet maintenance is crucial to staying on top of demand.


Governments

Governments typically have fire departments, police departments, recreational departments, and more which each have their own fleets and require good maintenance to save taxpayer money.


Agricultural co-ops and farms

Farms which incorporate heavy machinery for their planting and harvesting require fleet maintenance to keep everything in working order for the right time of the year. 

Who should contribute to a fleet maintenance program?

Fleet maintenance is a group effort and cannot be accomplished by one person alone. There are four levels of responsibility that any organization should be aware of when enacting a fleet maintenance program. These are the strategist, the fleet manager, the driver, and the mechanic. Specific titles differ from organization to organization, but each role is crucial to success with a fleet maintenance program.

Strategist

The strategist is the most high-level position. The strategist’s goal is to watch the budgets and time that is being spent to monitor for overages. They're also the ones who (with the others’ help) will set goals and help make decisions about the focus of the fleet maintenance program.

Fleet Manager

The fleet manager is the person who will actively manage the fleet maintenance. Their goal is to focus on the reliability of all of the vehicles and track and schedule all necessary work orders. They'll need to take into account the schedules of the drivers and the mechanics when scheduling. They will also be the ones most actively managing the fleet maintenance program.

Driver

The drivers of a fleet are the ones who interact with their specific vehicle(s) on the most regular basis. They should be the ones who are most aware of the maintenance needs of their vehicles and report any changes in performance or requests for maintenance to the fleet manager. While they’re not directly involved with the repairs or work orders, it’s their duty to remain vigilant as to the health of their vehicles.

Mechanic

Mechanics are the people who will complete the work orders and repairs that need to be done on the vehicles themselves. Many fleets have their own mechanics that work on their vehicles. Other fleets enlist the help of outside services to keep their fleet maintained.

In each role, there are specific duties that they must attend to or the fleet maintenance will likely not work as well as possible.

What are some of the benefits of a good fleet maintenance program?

The biggest and most desirable benefit of good fleet maintenance is saving money. This is because a successful fleet maintenance program will help shift an organization from a reactive, “use it till it breaks” mentality into a preventive maintenance mindset. This alone will save thousands of dollars, even in a small fleet. Oil costs less to replace preventively than an engine does after it’s stopped working. Successful fleet maintenance will also help prevent work orders from slipping through the cracks either from forgetfulness or from neglect.

One of the benefits that works with this is the ability to more evenly distribute the costs of the fleet maintenance over time. This makes costs more predictable and easier to budget for.

Because maintenance is being done preventive instead of re-actively, breakdowns will be significantly reduced and downtime minimized. Another huge benefit comes in the form of increased accountability and visibility into the fleet’s operations.

While these are the primary benefits that come from a fleet management program, there are many other secondary benefits that come as a result of the primary ones. They include:

  • Increased Driver Confidence: the ability of drivers to see the repair history of their vehicle can help them know their vehicles have been well taken care of.
  • Reduced DOT and FMCSA fines: staying up-to-date and having an accurate record of work can protect a fleet from unnecessary fines.
  • Higher CSA scores: as a fleet passes more inspections, their CSA score will go up, resulting in less delays and fewer surprise inspections.
  • Gain insight into your operations: better data can reveal possible optimizations and efficiencies that are ripe for implementation.

Each of these benefits come from the implementation of a fleet maintenance program. Here at Manager Plus, we recommend our Lightning Asset Management platform to help with implementing your own fleet maintenance program. Give us a call and we can help with your fleet maintenance needs today.

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