Preventative Maintenance Is A Top Fleet Priority
If you were to ask any fleet manager about their number one priority when it comes to fleet maintenance, many will tell you that PM or preventative maintenance tops the charts. A survey conducted by Arsenault Associates, Inc. shows that preventative maintenance is the main concern of trucking companies, at least those who are currently using fleet maintenance software for fleet maintenance.
“According to Arsenault, preventive maintenance (PM) scheduling is the main priority of trucking companies that use maintenance management software. It states that 36 percent of respondents conduct PM for expense management.”
The importance of preventative maintenance can simply not be overlooked. Studies show that less than 44 percent of fleets are currently using software programs that are specifically designed for fleet maintenance. Some do use software programs, but not those that are designed specifically for these tasks. Word, Excel and others can only offer so much. The only software that is capable of automating preventative maintenance scheduling are those that are designed specifically for this purpose.
“‘Trying to manage a fleet using less technology is like settling to ‘not lose too much money.' In this troubled economic environment, that just won't do,' Arsenault commented.”
Organizations should focus on the big picture. Choosing a fleet management software program that meets the companies' needs will allow managers to ensure smoother operations. One of the key areas where these programs can help is with cost. Companies that choose a preventative maintenance program may spend a bit more on maintenance but they will come out on the better end in the long run.
Many companies feel that maintenance may get in the way of their operation. Some may feel that lost sales or delivery schedules could cause a profit decrease. Others may argue that they will lose sales to their competitors if they cannot meet their specific delivery schedules. Of course, the cost for towing in vehicles that are broken down or paying fines related to maintenance issues could cost much more in the long run than these minor interruptions. Not maintaining vehicles could mean paying hefty tow bills when those vehicles do break down. This is a particular concern for companies with larger trucks in their fleet.
“‘With a car fleet, you can easily go out and rent a car,' he said. ‘With a work truck, you can't necessarily run out and rent another truck. You've got inventory, tools, and the upfit. It knocks the vehicle out of service.'”
So what exactly is a fleet manager to do? Many experts recommend a strategic program for fleet maintenance. Ensuring that preventative maintenance is done and is done regularly will help to lower the costs associated with broken down vehicles and those associated with fines. Software programs that are designed to help with preventative maintenance schedules can be purchased from a number of companies and they offer varying benefits.
The best rule of thumb is for fleet managers to spend some time getting acquainted with these programs and choosing one that will meet the operation's specific needs. While there are a number of programs available, not all are alike so managers will need to spend time learning more about the software and how it works.
Preventative maintenance is of course, only one consideration when it comes to a fleet but it is an important one. Most fleet managers will say that they are more concerned about PM than they are about cost, alternative fuel sources and many other issues facing fleets today. Fleet maintenance software programs are designed to help ease the mind of managers when it comes to routine maintenance and keeping their fleet on the road.