May 15, 2023
Fleet maintenance encompasses the processes undertaken to ensure that your fleet is safe, reliable, efficient and fit for use. Fleet management is a dynamic, complex and demanding process that has a far-reaching impact across your business on everything from ongoing upkeep to eventual resale value. In this article, I’ll go through some key areas which fleet managers need to consider as part of their processes.
Your role as a Fleet Manager is an important one that affects all aspects of the business. Good ongoing care of the fleet keeps your customers happy, having a well-maintained vehicle helps its resale value, keeping your Commercial Department happy – less complaints and more positive feedback makes your job easier – keeping you happy! So how do we go about achieving this?
Your goal is to optimise the amount of time your vehicles are off the road. One common issue is vehicles going to your vendor workshop for attention to an urgent problem (e.g., worn brake pads), going out again, only for it to be found that a service is due shortly after. There’s nothing more frustrating to your team than seeing the same vehicle going back and forth with various issues, especially when they could have been all dealt with the first time. That SUV that was gone for brake pads two weeks ago? Guess what? It’s now going back for service! Check against your service records when a vehicle is going for a repair – bringing a service forward a few weeks can save multiple visits, decrease time spent off the road and increase overall vehicle productivity. Conversely, the opposite can apply – a vehicle arrives for what you thought was a straightforward scheduled service only to discover that its front brake pads are 70% worn. You need information and authorisation to make that quick decision as to whether to go ahead with the extra work or not. ForWare makes this easier with predictive service interval reminders and real time authorisation.
Individual driving style can have a MAJOR impact on fleet maintenance. Poor clutch control, rapid braking and hard acceleration are just some of the factors that can result in an increase in fleet maintenance costs and undue time off the road. Mitigate against this by continually training drivers and by providing informational material on how to optimise their driving towards vehicle efficiency. Even simple things like reminders placed in staff areas can be very useful.
It goes without saying that being safety-conscious is integral to being a good fleet manager. Good fleet maintenance includes regular inspection of tyre tread depth and brake pad wear during inspections. Poor tyre and brake pad quality are frequent contributory factors to road traffic accidents, so it’s critical to stay on top of these, even more so if you manage a fleet that is subject to particularly harsh driving conditions. It’s also important to keep track of manufacturer warranty repairs and safety recalls to ensure your fleet is as safe as it can be. Fleet management software such as that of ForWare will allow you to efficiently keep track of these repairs, ready to access without the hassle of digging out boxes of files.
Good time management is key to fleet efficiency. Try staggering your repair intervals across the fleet; there’s no point in having several vehicles out of service at the same time. This will also reduce the number of spare vehicles required in your fleet, while also adding to the vendor’s workshop efficiency that will lead to better relationships between you and the vendors, having a network overview of Fleet vehicles in your workshops can help you manage this and keep your fleet on the road.
Any effective fleet maintenance process should fully integrate their Vendor’s Parts department. Ensure that your inventory is always stocked with common parts for your fleet – there’s nothing more frustrating for technicians and customers alike when a vehicle is unduly kept off the road while a required part is shipped in. It also helps to plan out and pick parts for scheduled services in advance to further optimise downtime. Adding service plans to your fleet vehicles will give you the confidence to stock the required parts and will help forecast your requirements into the future. Data is key, reports on Parts frequency of use by make and model will make sure you always have the right part at the right time increasing efficiency. If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it!
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to streamline all of the above and make your life as a Fleet Manager less stressful? Well… there is! ForWare Fleet Maintenance Software allows you to bring your network together online, streamline your processes, it encompasses predictive service intervals, scheduled repair reminders, health check reports, warranty records, work authorisation and billing integration while giving you detailed reporting at your fingertips.
ForWare is Easy-to-use Fleet Maintenance Software trusted by police, ambulance and other mission-critical fleets for more than 11 years.
Alan is a positive and proactive automotive professional with over 25 years of extensive experience in the motor trade.
Alan has been vital in developing and driving the ForWare System and implementing core workshop processes with some of the most significant state and private fleets in Ireland, the UK and Europe.
Schedule a FREE consultation today to see how we can make life easier for all involved—you, your colleagues, your customers and your fleet.