When it comes to keeping your fleet on the road, it sometimes seems that the minute you knock one problem over, another pops up in its place. Maintenance is a never ending journey but this doesn’t mean you should always be fighting just to keep up. Taking time to develop a culture of proactive maintenance will put you back in the driver’s seat.
You don’t want to be fixing issues when a vehicle has reached breaking point at the side of the highway during peak-hour traffic. Preventative maintenance schedules allow you to take back control with regular inspections and services that reduce the risk of nasty surprises. You won’t eliminate reactive maintenance entirely, at least until someone discovers a magic cure for potholes, but there are many benefits to taking a more proactive approach.
1. Improved Safety
With regular inspections, you can rest easy that your fleet is always in good condition. Poor maintenance is not as big a factor in collisions as driver fatigue or speed, but it’s still a contributor and can make the outcome worse than it would have been.
2. Cost Savings
It might seem like a small defect now, but left long enough, a worn part or incorrectly inflated tyre can cause damage or add unnecessary costs because it’s affecting fuel efficiency.
3. Predictable Expenditure
Since you’re dealing with small issues before they become big, expensive problems, your maintenance budget becomes a more manageable and predictable cost. Predictive maintenance schedules also improve your visibility of vehicles that are due for trade-in so you can budget for upgrades accordingly.
4. Maximise Availability
As Murphy’s Law would have it, the day you have a vehicle off the road unexpectedly, is the day business demand will spike. By solving problems before they take vehicles out of commission, you can keep more of your fleet on the road. With a pre-trip checklist, your mechanics will receive advance notice when a part needs replacing, so it’s ordered and ready for installation when the truck gets back to the depot.
5. Easier Compliance
A good pre-trip checklist covers everything you need so you’ll know a vehicle is roadworthy when inspection times come around. Maintenance is one of the modules of the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS), so preventative maintenance will help ensure your eligibility.
Creating a preventative maintenance program is now easier than ever thanks to increasingly sophisticated telematics that give you real-time visibility across the entire fleet. Digital pre-trip checklists are quickly completed by the driver, with information instantly available to back-office staff so it can be acted on if necessary. Other tools provide performance data your fleet is out on the road, alerting you when a vehicle is due for a service or a part is close to life.
Armed with more accurate information about your fleet from GPS Fleet Management software and a plan for keeping vehicles in peak condition, you can reduce the nasty surprises and focus on running your business.