fleet maintenance Archives - TATEMS Fleet Maintenance Software
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Finding Solutions to Fleet Maintenance Cost Increases

Hand drawing a pie chart on clear board

Controlling Fleet Maintenance Costs

Fleet Maintenance Cost Increases

There are going to be costs associated with any business. A survey done by GE Capital Fleet Services recently, shows that maintenance costs for fleets in the United States have increased by 7 percent for 2012. This has many fleet managers wondering just how much of an increase these costs will incur for 2013.

“In terms of monetary value, GE Capital Fleet Services found that monthly average maintenance costs for these vehicles amounted to $52.66 per vehicle, against $49.20 in 2011. Two of the most frequent elements within maintenance costs – oil and tires – both increased. GE Capital Fleet Services expects a further slight increase this year”.

Do Younger Fleets Help?

Studies have shown that while the cost for monthly preventative maintenance increased in 2012, younger fleet age did help to offset some of the increased labor and parts cost. The average car maintenance cost raised about $3.46 from $49.20 to $52.66 for each vehicle each month. Factors that influenced these costs include increased preventative maintenance expenses. Costs for oil changes increased although the frequency in which oil was changed decreased which helped to lessen the total impact.

Tires Play a Big Part

Tire expenses also increased, by eight percent and the cost of replacing tires increased by 15 percent. These increases are attributed to higher costs for manufacturing tires as well as larger rims which naturally mean more expensive tires. Overall, the quality of fleet vehicles has risen as well and continues to improve which has resulted in parts that last longer which ultimately means less frequent maintenance in the long run.

“‘While we expect passenger car maintenance expenses to rise slightly in 2013, improvements in vehicle quality will present opportunities for fleet maintenance savings in years ahead,' said Eric Strom, maintenance and safety product manager for GE Capital Fleet Services. ‘As cost savings remain the largest area of focus for both fleet and executive management, we're committed to working with customers to identify and reduce costs across their vehicle fleets.'”

Fleet Maintenance Software Can Help

Fleet management can expect maintenance expenses to continue on the upswing, particularly for fleets that are not yet accepting vehicle replacement cycles. The number of miles driven will increase the chance of component failures that could cost thousands of dollars to repair. The individual costs for replacing things like tires, changing oil and other repairs will also likely increase over the next year. Many industry experts believe that the best way to keep these costs to a minimum is to implement a fleet management system. Software programs that aid with fleet management can be very beneficial in helping to keep costs down.

Another way to offset cost increases is to cycle older vehicles. Aging of fleet vehicles is a large factor in the increased cost of maintenance and vehicles with higher mileage risk even higher costs than average.

“Cycling older vehicles is a great way to mitigate increases in maintenance spends, but careful consideration must be made not only to maintenance, but all aspects of lifecycle costs. The market today is actually favorable to cycling in many cases, due to stronger resale markets as well as better technology that is increasing fuel economy.”

Preventative Maintenance Still Best Way To Save Money

Companies that are looking to keep costs to a minimum can find vast amounts of information on lowering costs. Those who do not have a software program for fleet maintenance are urged to find one. There are a number of programs on the market that will ensure that vehicles are maintenance on a regular basis. Preventative maintenance goes a long way in keeping overall costs down. As a general rule, preventing a mechanical problem is less costly and less time consuming than repairing one.

Fleet Maintenance And The CSA Challenge

White Truck on the Road

Keeping Trucks on the Road with FMCSA Compliance

An analysis of the Maintenance BASIC under the Compliance, Safety and Accountability program from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration showed that a high number of violations are caused by requirements regarding reflective lighting. Broken lamps are another problem for many fleet managers along with wheel part repairs and chafed brake hoses.

“Seventy to 75 percent of all CSA points can be traced back to maintenance or unsafe driving violations”.

In the past, many of these issues may have been overlooked. Drivers and managers would simply have decided that while the issues were in need of repair, they were not extensive enough to actually shut down the fleet. Today however, these are issues that are commonly repaired right away because the points will count against the fleet and could possibly cause a major shutdown of operations.

Larger problems were typically always repaired right away but minor issues would have been overlooked simply because they were costly or time consuming and because they did not threaten the operation, they could be put off for a later time. Today however, the CSA looks at everything that could possibly cause an issue and ensures that managers are focusing on all aspects of operating their fleets.

Many organizations are learning that in order to comply properly with CSA standards, a pre-trip and a post-trip inspection are needed by the driver. Everyone in the organization should be focusing on CSA requirements

in order to ensure that the operation remains on track. This includes every operation that uses trucks.

“The most important thing to note with CSA is that if your business is using trucks, you are subject to it,” stresses Stephen Keppler, executive director of the Greenbelt, Md.-based Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), an international not-for-profit organization composed of local, state, provincial, territorial and federal motor carrier safety officials and industry representatives from the United States, Canada and Mexico”.

Historically, he says, a lot of refuse businesses did not really think of themselves as trucking companies; trucks were just one of many tools to collect trash and recyclables. Under CSA, they no longer have that luxury. Any business operating commercial trucks is going to be captured within this new safety net.

“On top of that, CSA uses real-time data generated from roadside inspections to put together its fleet safety ratings,” says Keppler. That means things like maintenance defects and out-of-adjustment brakes will find their way into in the public eye a lot faster than most fleets realize.

The CSA began in 2010 and since that time, the trucking industry has seen a dramatic reduction in violations, more so than in the last 10 years combined. Driver violations are down by more than 15 percent and roadside inspection violations are down by almost 14 percent. These numbers may continue in a positive direction as more and more fleet management programs are implemented by various companies.

“FCMSA's number one goal is safety: We want to ensure that every trip is a safe trip every time. And we think CSA is bridging multiple worlds in that process. And the nation's fleet maintenance professionals deserve a lot of credit for that; making older equipment work safely while learning to understand and use new technology in pursuit of low CSA scores and consistent safe vehicle operation.”

The integration of regulations by the CSA has required a number of changes within many organizations. Poor performers have been replaced and this covers every base from technicians and drivers to entire fleets. Even law enforcement officers who are tasked with carrying out vehicle and driver inspections have begun to adhere more to CSA standards in an attempt to make the roadways safer for everyone.

2 Quick New Videos… Fixing bad Odometer entries and 1st Puppy walk

New Puppy At 10 Weeks 06-15-2011

New puppy (Walter?) at 10 weeks old

Last week I mentioned that my wife wanted to get a little dog because she loves my daughter's little havaneese dog Vada So much.

Well she did it. She picked up a little 10 week old puppy!

But…he's a Cocker Spaniel / Border Collie Mix, so I don't think He's going to stay small.

The previous owner could not keep him, her parents said he had to go.

The name they gave him was Jethro, but we are leaning towards naming him Walter, after the character in the show Fringe. If you have any ideas for a name please leave in the comments below.

This is the Puppy's first walk

If you missed it I also posted a Video last week showing you a couple of ways to handle Tools or Equipment that you keep on your Trucks or Vehicles

Fixing Odometer Entry Mistakes.

From a previous tip:

I had a customer call me with a weird problem today.

Whenever he ran his mileage report under Reports-More Reports Report Type: Equipment, then select the report called “Equipment Miles/Km Traveled – Hours Run”

he was getting a reading of -26066 miles traveled.

I did a quick scan of his entries via remote access and could not see what the problem was.

So I download a copy of his TATEMS data file so I could have a better look.

What I found surprised me. In the middle of all his entries he had lower odometer reading for a date of Jan 7 2800 instead of Jan 7, 2008
so the report results was always skewed. He also had a current entry April 1, 2009 that had a lower odometer reading by thousands of miles than the one entered just prior to it.

It's an easy fix but sometimes those miss entered numbers and dates are hard to spot.

So…

If you make a mistake, in order to correct it, you can click on the “Update Odometer and Hours” button.

Then you can click the “View All for This Equipment” button to find your mistake and delete it or change it.
After you have fixed it, click the “Update and Close” button.

In the short video below I demonstrate how to delete or edit An Odometer Enter that was entered incorrectly.

I hope this tip has been helpful for you.

If you have any questions or comments please leave them below.

By the way it got up to 106° … the latest day in the year to reach this temp here since 1965…

Have a great weekend!