If you are a fleet manager or a small business owner looking after your fleet of vehicles, one of your top priorities should be fleet maintenance.
And yes, this one is a no-brainer. After serving your customers and ensuring your drivers are coordinated correctly, maintaining your fleet is the next most important thing for your business.
The reason behind this is pretty simple. As a fleet manager - or business owner - you’re also responsible for vehicles’ condition. Not to mentioned that your business is not much of a business without its fleet of vehicles.
You are the go-to person who needs to audit vehicle maintenance repairs. And you’re the person responsible to withdraw, replace, and in the end, sell your vehicles when the time comes.
What is fleet maintenance
So, where do you start? It’s all about costs (minimizing them of course) and customers really. The sooner a vehicle gets repaired when there is a breakdown or gets proactively “sent” to the auto repair shop, the better for your business. In terms of costs, workflow and customer’s satisfaction that is. It’s also about extending a vehicle’s life-cycle, and getting the best you can out of your initial investment.
Analyzing some different scenarios
Let’s have a quick look then at the kind of fleet maintenance scenarios that you need to be prepared to deal with.
Temporary malfunctions – Be prepared
If for any reason you need to temporarily withdraw one of your vehicles, you need to have at the very least an alternative vehicle to tide you over so that workflow is not disrupted too severely. The last thing you want is heavy delays in your services. Your customers will not want to wait and you and your drivers should be able to handle situations like this. Unexpected events are part of the game, but you have to prioritize professionalism above all. And that means that you should be prepared or at least act on time.
If something happens out of the blue, chances are you are jeopardizing to lose one of your – reasonably dissatisfied – customers. Or, you may be forced to find an alternative such as leasing a supplementary vehicle for a short while and of course this means extra cost. And how efficient is this one for your budget?
Permanent withdrawal – admit that it’s time to sell
The truth is that one way or another at some point you’ll need to sell one or more vehicles in your fleet. Be it because one of your vehicles keeps causing delays, or because of repetitive breakdowns, you’ll have to be decisive and take action. Don’t just ignore these signs. It’s time for you to replace your vehicle.
Apart from breakdowns, this may also happen because your business’ needs changed and your fleet in total (or gradually) needs to be reinforced with new models (vehicles with new features, dimensions, etc.). So, when you need to permanently withdraw one your vehicles you’ll try to sell it for the best possible price, right? Yes, but how feasible is this if you haven’t already set the ground for it? Make sure you plan such moves well in advance, and do any ‘emergency’ maintenance required before the sale.
Fleet Maintenance and safety
There may be times when one your vehicles has an issue that keeps getting unnoticed by one of your drivers. If nothing is reported, you won’t know about any potential issue and of course you’ll (quite rightly) keep scheduling routes for this specific vehicle. Chances are that - sooner rather than later - it will suddenly break down. The thing is that apart from the additional costs we mention above, it may also cause an accident. Wouldn’t it better to be aware of such situations beforehand so that you can at least prevent them? Maintenance, maintenance and more maintenance.
Get the best out of your fleet
To get the best out of your fleet it’s simple really. You just have to look after it via good fleet maintenance. Treat it like you would if the entire fleet was your own car. You can do a lot of that yourself by taking the points and scenarios above on board. But you are not alone. There are also great fleet management apps and solutions out there. Like our very own Veturilo for example. :)
Most of our early users have said that even having a small fleet of vehicles, it’s actually quite hard to stay on top with the upkeep. Maintenance is always tough to keep track of. That’s why we’ve developed a way to help you keep track of any issue that arises in your fleet - through relevant alerts and notifications. Part of this system is our Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) alerts. Just as a vehicle diagnostic app might do. So you can get a little help from your, er, app.