Keeping your vehicle downtime low is essential to good Fleet Management; it reduces costs and increases productivity. It might sound like something that’s hard to avoid, but with some careful planning, you can save on quite a lot of fleet downtime. You can even save on the number of cars you need in your fleet. Let’s take a look at how…
VHCs are a vital part of Fleet Management
You wouldn’t skip a service, and the same should go for your fleet’s scheduled VHCs. So what, you might say. It’s not actually a service, it’s just a check-up. We can get away with skipping one. Wrong. While in theory, yes, it’s a check-up, not a service, VHCs are vital for picking up small issues before they become big ones. By sending your vehicles for VHCs at their appointed intervals, issues that pop up between services can be caught before they spiral out of control. Skipping them could also void your manufacturer’s warranty. Imagine trying to explain to your boss that a costly gearbox replacement could have been avoided had you simply caught that clutch wear at a VHC before it ended up wrecking the whole gearbox? Aside from the cost, it’s a lot of extra downtime your fleet could do without. Doesn’t sound like good fleet management, does it?
Keep to your regular service intervals
As we said, you wouldn’t skip a service… you wouldn’t, would you? No matter how busy your fleet is, do not be tempted to skip or delay a service. Manufacturers set these services for good reason. And by prolonging the gap between services, there’s more opportunity for parts to wear out and more potential for a catastrophic failure to occur. Once again, that could void your warranty and lead to more downtime while the vehicle undergoes extensive repairs. Be sure to book your services well in advance (systems like ForWare allow you to book your service and VHC appointments directly with the garage).
Plan your services and VHCs well in advance
Ideally, no Fleet Manager wants all their services and/or VHCs happening at once. The more vehicles you have off-road at once means you’ll need more cover vehicles in your fleet, or have to hire in cars to augment it. That’s neither efficient nor cost-effective. Have a look at when your services are due, and try to stagger them a few days apart. That way you’re allowing for ‘overruns’ should an issue crop up during an inspection that takes an extra few days to fix. Use a system like ForWare to plan this. Also, by booking your services well in advance, you’re helping to ensure that the garage will have the necessary parts in stock.
Analyse fleet downtime trends
Pay close attention to what issues are coming up across your fleet. Are certain vehicles going through tyres or brake pads quicker than others? Is it down to a particular driver? By identifying these issues and implementing ways to mitigate them, you would be amazed at the downtime you’ll come to save. It’s also worth bearing in mind when it comes around to your next fleet renewal programme. Perhaps a certain type of vehicle tended to have recurring issues or was quite fuel heavy in comparison to others. Definitely, something for a Fleet Manager to consider when it comes to replacing them.
Use an effective Fleet Management system
Fleet efficiency is only as good as the system it uses. Investing in an effective Fleet Authorisation system will pay dividends down the road. A system such as ForWare can help mitigate against some of the issues raised earlier in this article. For instance, it allows you to have booking facilities with your chosen workshop. There are built-in reminders so you’re alerted as to when a service is due. There’s full service history and billing integration, so you can effectively analyse areas that could be improved upon in terms of fleet maintenance spending.