Over the last few weeks, I have been hearing a lot about long lead in times and VOR (Vehicle off the road)—we all know that there is a capacity issue and this has been confounded by the lack of new blood in the industry (although industry groups like the IMI are doing great work towards addressing this issue). Fleets are indeed having to do without vehicles for longer,—lead times for service, maintenance, and repair (SMR) have increased by 60% since the start of the pandemic. This is due largely (though not solely) attributable to workshop capacity, a consequence of the lack of staff in the industry.
In some cases, it is affecting the average time between when a company car or van booking is created to when the vehicle goes in for work. It’s not something a Fleet Manager can change, but its effects CAN be eased slightly with good planning. For instance, you can have your Fleet Maintenance systems configured to highlight repairs 3 weeks before due; this will help to absorb lead-in times and allow your workshop partner to book the vehicle on a date that suits the workshop planning. But what about breakdowns and non-scheduled work, I hear you say?
Well, other than getting more staff for your workshop partner, this is not something any Fleet Manager is going to be directly in a position to do, however, having the flexibility to expand your network will allow you to increase the range of workshops available to you, and as a result, available time. So, if you are a Fleet Manager reading this, ask yourself, can you add NEW workshops to your network easily?
To do this you need a Fleet Maintenance system that is agnostic and very easy to use for both you and the workshop; a system that can be installed without the need for new hardware or apps, a system that is user-friendly without compromising on capability. This will give YOU the ability to plug and play and EXPAND YOUR OWN NETWORK; don’t be tied into a network because it’s the only workshop on the system in an area that has 23 workshops. In the current climate, a Fleet Manager needs to have the flexibility to be able to create his/her own network or be forever tied to the workshop with a 4-week lead time because it’s the only one on the system.