Preventative 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.

Preventative Maintenance Is A Top Fleet Priority

Mechanic working on Tire

Preventative Maintenance -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.

Update Video shows Auto Entry of Lower Interval Lube Service-Preventive Maintenance in TATEMS version 4.4.04

This new ability to automatically enter lower interval Lube/services that I posted about a number of months ago is now a reality in TATEMS version 4.4.04

In the video below I show you how to use the feature when it asks if you want to enter a lower interval Lube/service (PM) and also how you can have it automatically enter them without asking.

Enjoy and share if your inclined to.

To recap what's in the video.

Say you have a lube/service that needs to be done every 7500 miles and you also have one that needs to be done every 15000 miles.

If you have previously completed the 7500 mile one and then later add the 15000 mile one you will see a popup asking if you want to also add the 7500 mile one at the same time. If you say yes then the 7500 mile one will be entered with text in the notes section saying “Completed during 15000 mile Lube/Service”

You also have the option to have the system always enter those lower interval Lube/Services without asking.

I hope this is helpful for you.

Thanks Again

Marc Ready

P.S. If you have trouble viewing the video above I have included the YouTube version below.

New Labor Items spreadsheet and video and more

I hope your week is going well so far.

The last week or so around here has been a little crazy.

It was only 95 ° here in Las Vegas today, well below normal and the Gas prices have been getting lower. We filled up for $3.55 per gallon last Friday and have seen it as low $3.31 per gallon on the other side of town.

I usually make breakfast in the morning for my wife and me and a few days ago I did what I usually do.

I left my wife's breakfast on the counter and yelled upstairs to let her know it was ready.

Then I grabbed mine to sit down and watch TV.

She took longer than usual to come down. I was already finished when she walked over to her plate and found a plate full of ANTS! Oops…

So we spent the next few hours trying to eradicate them.

The next day as I'm making breakfast I noticed water in the kitchen sink. I thought it wasn’t draining because there were some plates on one side that were blocking the drain.

We removed the dishes and it still would not drain. So I grabbed the bathroom plunger and turned on the garbage disposal and stupidly tried to plunge the other side.

All of a sudden boom! The pipes burst, water goes spraying out the front of the cabinet, soaking my pants and flooding the cabinet under the sink and the floor.

Oh what Fun!!!

I took apart the pipes and used a 6 foot snake to try to clean it out, put it all back together, no go, tried multiple Liquid Plummer bottles, no go.

Finally got a hold of my landlord and she sent in the big guns drain cleaning service. He had to go in about 15 feet to the main drain and that did the trick.

Drama over…. For a few days.

So it’s about 6AM Monday morning and I’m downstairs in morning prayer and hear my 23 year old daughter coming downstairs to let the puppy “Kiba” out (Kiba means fang in Japanese).

A few minutes later I hear the door open and then a big bang, and the cats go flying, bells jingling and I’m thinking “what’s going on” So I look up, I don’t see my daughter, then I look behind me, the cats are staring towards the door, then I look down, and my daughter has collapsed on the floor.

I freak!

I jump up and she is laying there on her side, and the floor is hard tile, she is unconscious and her eyes are open.

As I keeled over her and starting asking if she was aright she slowly came back around.

Well thank God, it turns out she just fainted and after a while she was able to get up and eat something.

We figure it was just low blood sugar. She said as she was sitting out back waiting for the dog to finish his business she started feeling ill, like she wanted to lay down. She thought she could make it back inside but just couldn’t make it.

Scared me to no end… the sight of her laying is something I’ll probably never forget. You never want to see your child hurt in any way.

And now on to today's tip…

Shelly, one of our clients was looking for a report to show all the Labor hours and costs even if the Work Order was still open.

We did not include a time clock feature for labor items in TATEMS in order to keep it as simple as possible for technicians to use.

But due to popular demand we will be adding a way to track start and Stop times and dates on each labor item in a future
update.

In the meantime I created this spreadsheet that will let you see all the dates associated with each work order and the
associated labor so I created the spreadsheet profiled in the video below:

It’s called:

Labor on Work Orders Pending and Completed.

And it will link to you TATEMS data and display the following columns:

Equip #
Work Order #
Date Requested
Date To Complete By
Date Completed
First Name
Last Name
Labor Description
Labor Notes
Hours/Units
Cost Per H/U
Total Cost

You will need to have Microsoft Excel to use these spreadsheet and have it link to your TATEMS data.

The video also shows you what you will probably need to do in order to make it work on your computer if you are not running
Excel 2007 or 2010 or if you have a 64 bit version of Windows or if your TATEMS data is on a network then

see this video:

 

You can get the spreadsheet at our website it’s called:

TATEMS-LaborOnWorkOrders-PendingAndCompleted.xls

It’s ready for you online and ready to download here:

https://tatems.com/spreadsheets

It is spreadsheet number 60 in the list on that page.

I hope this tip has been helpful for you.

Have a great Weekend and a Happy 4th of July

Thanks Again

Marc

P.S. If you need a custom spreadsheet let me know below and if you are on Facebook please click the like button… If you do… actually like this post that is…

New short Video shows new dropdown added to Lube Service – Accomplished by

In the current version of TATEMS “4.3.00” we have added a dropdown to the Accomplished By field so you don’t have to keep typing the same person over and over again, or worry about misspellings.  If you choose to add them to the dropdown you will be presented with the personnel form so you can add the new person.  You also have the option to not add them to the list and they will still be logged as the accomplished by person or entity for that particular Lube Service.This very short video shows you how it works.

Is this helpful for you?   By the way,  I have to get a tooth pulled on Wednesday Feb 23rd at 11:30 AM PDT so I may not be available for the rest of the afternoon.  Wish me luck!