Managing a fleet can be a demanding job because maintaining the vehicles is key to ensuring they remain in good condition. Without efficient transport, your business won’t be as productive, and that can cost you your hard-earned money and your potential customers. To optimize the efficiency of your fleet, you will need to understand its nuts and bolts and create a proper maintenance plan for your vehicles. Here are some things you should know and do for seamless fleet operation.
Understand How the Fleet Works
By going through each vehicle’s history of repairs and identifying the types, ages, and usage of your trucks, you can learn a lot about them. Talking to the drivers can also help you understand your fleet, as they are the ones who use the vehicles most. The drivers can look out for issues like bad alignment, worn tires, misfires, brake problems, body damage, or air conditioning issues. Additionally, you will need to understand the operating conditions of each of your vehicles. For example, if you’re using heavily loaded trucks in severe conditions, they will need to be inspected more often. Knowing each of your vehicles’ operating conditions can also help you make decisions to replace any vehicle that reached its limit.
Schedule Preventive Fleet Maintenance
You can start by setting up a basic maintenance plan for general things like oil changes or brake checks, using the guidelines provided by the manufacturer of each vehicle. After identifying the fleet’s operational needs, you will need to expand this plan to make it more efficient and cost-effective. Besides the mechanical workings, another thing you will need to keep track of is registration renewal. Yes, dealing with any car-related DMV transaction can be stressful, especially in states like California where the DMV lines tend to be exceptionally long. However, if you include the registration renewal deadline in your maintenance schedule, you will never have to worry about lapses or fines again.
Perform Regular Vehicle Inspections
Although the average cost of operating a truck has been steadily increasing over the past years, conducting regular check-ups can help compensate for some of these expenses. For one, as a vehicle gets older, the more repairs it needs. With regular inspections, you will be able to determine quickly if a truck needs to be replaced with a newer version that won’t cost you that much time and money. Besides preventing profit loss, regular maintenance can also help detect minor problems before they can cause more damage. Essentially, these regular inspections help elongate the fleet’s lifespan and ensure that your vehicles are safe, both for your drivers and for everyone else on the road.
Keep Track of Your Workshop
First of all, you will need to employ skilled staff that’s appropriately trained to efficiently perform preventive maintenance tasks and make the necessary repairs. And you need to provide them with good working conditions, such as an air-conditioned, safe, and well-organized workshop. A logical flow in a workshop will help the technician’s job become much more manageable. Plus, it will decrease the downtime for the vehicles. Equally important is having sufficient stock of commonly used parts and an instantly accessible inventory. This helps the maintenance flow more seamlessly and will make it easier for you to see if any components need to be ordered.
Utilize a Fleet Maintenance Software
Creating a fleet maintenance plan, logging check-ups, and repairs, and tracking vehicle issues can be simplified with fleet maintenance software that automates all these processes. Such software will help you ensure that maintenance schedules are completed inside the desired time limit. It can also help your whole team communicate more effectively. By enabling adjustments to be made to schedules and automatically notifying drivers, shop supervisors, and technicians, everything will get done much faster.
Most of these systems include parts management tools to keep your inventory up to date, and they even notify you when parts need to be ordered. Because suppliers often use similar software, they can integrate their ordering systems into yours and make your job so much easier.
For every company that makes deliveries or pick-ups, a fleet is their top investment. Keep in mind that your fleet can only help you generate profit if it’s fully operational, so your priority should always be to keep it that way. By understanding the vehicles and the drivers’ needs and planning for every possible problem, you can keep the fleet running with as little downtime as possible. In return, this will help you manage your business operations smoothly and avoid many challenges in the long run.