How to manage your fleet’s maintenance

If you’ve invested in a fleet, then you want to get the maximum return on that investment. Managing your fleet’s maintenance effectively is key to getting the most out of your vehicles. It minimizes costly downtime and maximizes the useful lifespan of your assets. Here, Andrea Easton, Head of Finance and Operations at FleetEx shares her tips to help.

Make fleet management an official role

A systematic Fleet Management System takes time. Realistically, the only way to make sure that someone gives it the time it needs is to include it in their job description. With smaller fleets, the role could be part-time. Possibly the post-holder could be given other responsibilities to justify a full-time headcount. With larger fleets, however, managing them could be a full-time role.

You also need to provide your fleet manager with effective tools. If your fleet is really tiny, you may be able to get away with the help of a CMMS (computerised maintenance management software). Even tiny fleets, however, will generally benefit from using a proper CMMS.

Ideally, you want cloud-based software. This is more flexible and eliminates the need to think about maintenance such as upgrades and patching. One of the benefits of fleet-management software is that it often integrates with other, relevant apps such as mobile inspection apps. This not only increases convenience but also helps to keep your data current.

Fleet-management software, therefore, helps give you a clear and up-to-date view of your assets’ health. It will help with both automation and delegation of tasks and will also prompt you to ensure that they are done. For this reason, it can also help to increase productivity and lower overall costs.

Streamline vehicle inspections

For most companies, mobile apps are by far the most effective way to ensure that daily vehicle inspections are not only done but done properly. Ideally, the mobile apps you use should allow for some level of customizability. This is particularly important if your fleet includes specialist vehicles. If at all possible, they should integrate with your fleet-management software.

Remember, however, that effective vehicle inspections take time. It’s therefore important that you ensure your drivers have enough time to complete their vehicle inspections properly. If you don’t, then your drivers are going to end up cutting corners no matter what system you use for capturing data.

Similarly, if you want your drivers to take care of small maintenance tasks, you need to make sure that they have the time, tools and skills to perform them. Keep in mind that the amount of time needed for maintenance will often depend on the season. For example, tyres deflate quicker in cold weather and liquids tend to need topping up more frequently.

Schedule your preventative maintenance

Manufacturers will generally give recommendations on what preventative truck maintenance needs to be done with what frequency. The frequency will often be expressed in miles rather than days. This means that you always need an accurate record of your fleet’s mileage. Using telematics is the obvious way to make this happen.

Generally, manufacturers’ recommendations are limits, not targets. This means that you usually have scope to optimize your maintenance schedule to suit your workflow. You just have to make sure that you do not go over any stated limits. Again, this is usually easier if you are using fleet-management software as you can set automated prompts.

Manufacturer’s don’t usually set recommendations on how often a vehicle should be cleaned. Cleanliness can, however, improve safety and extend the useful life of a vehicle (as well as making it pleasanter to use). It’s therefore worth scheduling a “hygiene routine” into your maintenance plans even after COVID19 becomes nothing but a memory.