Vehicle downtime is an immense burden on fleet businesses. It stalls operations, causes a hit to customer satisfaction, and puts employees out of work. Of course, fleets want to avoid vehicle downtime wherever possible. While it is inevitable in many circumstances, there are steps that fleets can take to circumvent vehicle downtime. Fleets that follow these steps will be more productive and keep their customers and employees happy. We will outline these steps to help any fleet, regardless of industry, avoid downtime and stay productive.
Conduct Regular Inspections and Keep Vehicles Maintained
When managers and employees think of vehicle downtime, they often think of maintenance issues. While this is not the only cause of downtime, it is one of the most significant factors. That is why performing routine inspections is a significant step towards preventing breakdowns and downtime. Regular inspections help you catch problems early that could become more costly and significant down the road. Periodic maintenance is crucial for reducing downtime and keeping drivers and other people on the road safe.
Staying in touch with your maintenance provider and tracking maintenance details in your fleet management software is also essential to ensure you are aware of your vehicles’ maintenance needs. If vehicles have recurring problems that continually need maintenance, it may be time to purchase a new vehicle. This way, you can avoid the risk of it breaking down due to a persistent problem. Purchasing new vehicles is actually the next topic.
Purchase New Vehicles Often
Purchasing new vehicles ensures that they won’t have any of those pesky maintenance issues that come up as a vehicle ages over time. Older vehicles are bound to have performance issues. Therefore, older trucks have more costly repair needs and more frequent repair schedules.
Another option is renting vehicles, so you can always easily replace your vehicles with new models without ever being locked into keeping an old vehicle in your fleet. Whether you’re renting or buying, it is crucial to keep newer vehicles on your fleet. It may seem like an expensive solution at first, but it saves you money in repair costs and downtime in the long run.
Select Vehicles Carefully
When purchasing those new vehicles, the selections you make matter. Ensure that the vehicle you select comes from a manufacturer whose vehicles are known for being low maintenance. Furthermore, pick a manufacturer whose parts are widely available. If it is difficult to get parts for your vehicles, it will take even longer to repair them if anything goes wrong. Insurance companies will usually tell you which brands are costly versus expensive to repair. Vehicles that are less expensive to repair are generally cheaper because their parts are more widely available.
Use Contract Vehicles During Busier Times of the Year
Of course, there are highs and lows in business, and it doesn’t always make sense to have a whole fleet of vehicles for the entire year. If you have seasonal periods of high volume, you can contract vehicles during these seasons. Of course, not all industries can do this, but if your industry can lease vehicles, this can be an immense benefit to you. Be sure to review the contract terms to ensure that the benefits outweigh the costs and that the deal will benefit you overall. If it works out, contracted vehicles can save you from buying new vehicles since you won’t require as many vehicles for your business.
Track Driver Behavior
Certain driver behaviors such as speeding, hard braking, and rapid acceleration can cause unnecessary wear and tear on a vehicle that can put it in the shop long before it is due. Use telematics to track driver behavior and get reports on your fleet management software that tell you how drivers hande your vehicles. If you notice any signs of aggressive or unsafe driving behaviors, you can coach those drivers to ensure that they treat your vehicles well and prevent them from going into the shop earlier than they need to. After all, it benefits both the driver and yourself to prevent downtime.
Decreasing fleet downtime is a necessity if you want to run an efficient and effective fleet. While some downtime is inevitable, these steps will help you cut down on the costs and repercussions significantly. Azuga can help you track driver behaviors and set up maintenance alerts so you can keep your vehicles in top-performing shape at all times. Find out how to get started with Azuga by speaking with an expert today!