If you want to get more out of your fleet vehicles and increase your business’s profitability, it’s important to invest in fleet maintenance. Whether you’re running a logistics company or a transportation enterprise, fleet maintenance has the power to improve your bottom line.
Your intuition will likely tell you that more consistent maintenance will lead to more reliable vehicles – but the benefits of fleet maintenance go far beyond that. How exactly does this system work and what’s the best way to take advantage of it?
The Value of Regular Fleet Maintenance
These are some of the clearest and most accessible benefits of routine fleet maintenance:
· Vehicle longevity. The average lifespan of an average new car for consumers is around 8 years or 150,000 miles. If you’re operating the vehicle in a commercial setting, you’ll likely hit 150,000 miles much quicker. But if the vehicle is constructed properly and it’s properly maintained, you might be able to get 15 years or 300,000 miles out of those vehicles. A good maintenance strategy, therefore, can practically double the expected lifespan of each of your vehicles, nearly doubling their expected value while only marginally increasing costs.
· Reduced maintenance costs (overall). Routine maintenance may seem like an inconvenience, but it saves you time and hassle in the long run. Catching small issues before they become big issues and preventing catastrophic failures will save you a ton of time. You’ll need to invest a bit of upfront time into each vehicle, several times throughout the year – but overall, you’ll pay far less to keep those vehicles in solid condition.
· Higher driver safety. Don’t forget about the safety of your drivers. A well-maintained vehicle will be less likely to unexpectedly fail and will provide more safety and reliability to its drivers and passengers. That means your drivers will feel safer, they’ll have higher morale, and you’ll have fewer injuries and accidents to deal with.
· Higher cargo safety. In addition to your drivers, the lower risk of accidents will improve your overall cargo safety. If you’re carrying valuable shipments on a regular basis, preventing even a single accident could save your business hundreds of thousands of dollars.
· Less unexpected vehicle failures. When a vehicle is out of commission, it can totally disrupt your operational plans. An unexpected vehicle failure can delay shipments and cause complications for the entire team. With better maintenance plans in place, you should have fewer unexpected vehicle failures.
· Warranty capitalization. Most businesses that rely on vehicles also rely on factory warranties. When a flaw becomes visible or when a part unexpectedly fails, it’s a manufacturer’s duty to replace that part. Regular maintenance allows you to notice these flaws and defects before they become a problem and helps you capitalize on your available warranties.
· Insurance and other incentives. Depending on your business environment, you might also benefit from insurance discounts for your better-maintained vehicles (as well as other financial advantages).
Important Tips for Better Fleet Maintenance
Follow these tips to get even more value from your regular fleet vehicle maintenance:
· Use the right platforms. An integrated software system designed for fleet maintenance will help you stay organized and consistent as you keep your vehicles in good condition. It can also streamline employee productivity so you spend less time on maintenance and more time on the road.
· Document the process. Whatever your approach to vehicle maintenance is, take the time to document it. Having an ironclad maintenance schedule in place, along with checklists for what to inspect, will ensure you get the best results from your fleet maintenance program.
· Establish leadership. Establish a leader to be in charge of your fleet maintenance program. This person will be accountable for ensuring that all your vehicles are inspected and up-to-date. They’ll also be responsible for overseeing the inspection process to make sure it’s being followed correctly.
· Consult each vehicle’s requirements. Be sure to consult each vehicle’s requirements, per the manufacturer who created them. Different vehicles have different needs, so a “one size fits all” approach won’t be good enough.
· Record the details. Always document the inspections you perform. This way, you can guarantee a higher success rate and trace problems back to their root causes.
· Stay consistent. It’s important to remain consistent. Fleet maintenance is only successful if you do it like clockwork; a temporary or inconsistent effort isn’t going to provide you a return on your investment.
Fleet maintenance shouldn’t be treated as optional, nor should it be treated haphazardly. Only with a rigorous and consistent system in place will you be able to capitalize on the benefits of this standard program. A bit of extra time and money upfront can help you maintain or improve your profitability for many years to come.