If you operate a business that uses vehicles, you need a plan for how to handle ongoing fleet vehicle maintenance. You may have a team of mechanics and technicians on standby to tackle repairs and routine maintenance, but could you be spending more time, money, and effort than you ought to?
If you were to enact just a handful of meaningful optimizations, you could get more out of your fleet vehicle maintenance functions – and make improvements to vehicle safety and efficiency at the same time.
What Is Fleet Vehicle Maintenance?
Fleet vehicle maintenance is the practice of maintaining and repairing motor vehicles that are part of an organization’s fleet. They could be delivery vehicles, shipping trucks, or something else entirely.
This maintenance program is typically designed to identify and correct potential issues as soon as possible and as inexpensively as possible. Practicing this routinely allows organizations to save time and money, improve safety for drivers, maintain compliance, and even improve the efficiency of their vehicles.
However, many organizations still practice fleet vehicle maintenance in inefficient or, sometimes, counterproductive ways. So what steps can you take to optimize your fleet vehicle maintenance strategy?
Ideas for Improving Fleet Vehicle Maintenance
These are some of the best ways to improve your fleet vehicle maintenance program.
- Use the right software. For starters, it’s important to use the right fleet vehicle maintenance software. Fleet vehicle maintenance software is designed to make life easier for companies that have significant fleets of official vehicles. It has a robust selection of different features, allowing you to proactively schedule maintenance, keep track of maintenance items for each vehicle, document warranty information, and even get automatic alerts to take action on certain items. With the right software in place, much of your work will become simple and automated, improving consistency and convenience at the same time. And because fleet vehicle maintenance software is relatively inexpensive, it has the potential to pay for itself in a matter of months.
- Practice prevention. In most contexts, preventive maintenance is a cost saver. Vehicles are complex machines of moving parts, so even a single, relatively small issue can quickly result in damage to many different areas of the vehicle, causing costs to snowball. But if you catch that issue early and fix it proactively, you can keep your costs to a minimum. Accordingly, whenever possible, your fleet vehicle maintenance program should focus on prevention, rather than reactive repair.
- Document your workflows. Always take the time to document your workflows. It’s important to be consistent in your approach to vehicle maintenance, regardless of who happens to be on the clock and regardless of external circumstances. The only way to achieve this consistency is to document your workflows. What is your high-level fleet vehicle maintenance strategy? How are your employees responsible for executing this strategy? What process should people follow when practicing maintenance on a given vehicle?
- Automate what you can. Automation is a major time saver, and it can improve consistency as well, so make use of it however you can. Many modern fleet vehicle maintenance software platforms allow you to set automatic alerts and recurring events so it’s practically impossible to forget or neglect an important task.
- Properly train and educate employees. Your employees are the ones doing the actual maintenance on vehicles, so it’s important to properly train and educate them. If you give them ample access to resources and you’re willing to support them as they learn new things, they’ll be in a much better position to execute maintenance expeditiously and without incident. This will get easier as your roster of maintenance employees grows, since your employees will be able to support each other as well.
- Optimize your routes. Route optimization is commonly studied in machine learning and algorithm applications, because it’s a relatively complex topic. Figuring out the perfect routes to minimize time and fuel expenditures is very difficult, but if you can do it, you can reduce the amount of time your vehicles spend on the road, thereby reducing the wear and tear they experience. Overall, this can decrease delivery times while simultaneously decreasing your maintenance costs.
- Prioritize safety. In fleet vehicle maintenance, safety should be your top priority for both drivers and mechanics. The health and safety of your employees is indispensable, and if you neglect them, it’s going to cost you.
- Stay flexible for future optimizations. Your employees will likely have ideas for how to optimize fleet vehicle maintenance even further. Take their feedback seriously and remain flexible enough to incorporate new systems and strategies when necessary.
Fleet vehicle maintenance can never be perfect, but there’s almost always room for further optimization. The more streamlined and efficient your maintenance program is, the more profitable it’s going to be for your organization.