If your business has any vehicles, you’ll need to inspect and maintain those vehicles regularly if you want to maximize your investment and increase the lifespan of those assets. This principle applies, regardless of whether you’re managing a couple of company cars or an entire fleet of vehicles for your nationwide workforce.
So how should business owners and decision makers think about vehicle maintenance? And what steps can you take to practice maintenance more efficiently?
Vehicle Maintenance Works Best When It’s Preventative
Inspecting fleet vehicles, making repairs, and following basic procedures like oil changes are most effective when these actions are taken preventatively. In other words, it’s important to review your vehicles, improve them, and flag potential issues before you start to see problems.
Preventative vehicle maintenance is ideal because it allows you to:
· Save time.
If you take care of issues proactively, those issues tend to be less complex and easier to fix. Instead of having to order a part, wait for that part to come in, and apply a time-consuming and expensive fix, you can make an easy part swap or prevent the issue from ever occurring.
· Save money.
Because your employees are spending less time on repairs and upgrades, and because you’re buying fewer replacement parts, you should end up saving money if you treat your vehicle maintenance as preventative. Regular maintenance can be an expensive line item for your business, but it’s much cheaper than allowing all your vehicles to suffer catastrophic issues before you touch them.
· Reduce complexity.
Regular, preventative maintenance is simple. You can follow simple workflows and practice routine diagnostics to prevent the majority of issues and keep those vehicles functional. If you allow more complex issues to take hold, everything gets more complicated.
· Increase vehicle lifespan.
Maintenance is also valuable as a preventative measure because it can increase the lifespan of your vehicles. Each vehicle in your fleet will serve you longer before it needs to be replaced.
· Improve safety.
Don’t forget about the safety of your drivers. If something goes wrong with a vehicle on the road, it could put your driver and the drivers around them in immediate jeopardy. If you catch the prospective issue proactively and take care of it, you won’t need to worry about anything.
Vehicle Maintenance Is an Investment
Because vehicle maintenance is preventative, you should think of it as an investment. Business owners sometimes balk at the cost of vehicle maintenance and look for ways to “trim the fat,” but companies that invest in their preventative maintenance end up saving money in the long run.
Vehicle Maintenance Needs to Be Consistent
Your vehicle maintenance is only going to be effective if it’s consistent. Consistent practice ensures equal treatment of all your vehicles and minimizes the chances of errors leading to major problems. These are some of the best ways to improve consistency within your organization on this front:
· Better software.
Using better fleet vehicle maintenance software means you’ll have a single source of truth (SSOT) that all people in your organization can consult. It can also automate many features of your vehicle inspections and make documentation easier.
· Better documentation.
Speaking of documentation, make sure you thoroughly document not only your workflows, but individual inspections that you complete for each vehicle. Every employee doing inspections should be keeping records in a similar way.
· Better education and training.
You’ll be able to practice maintenance more consistently and effectively if you provide better education and training to your employees. Hopefully, each new hire will have at least some experience in vehicle maintenance, but it’s still important to teach them the fundamentals for your organization.
· More checks and balances.
Better supervisors, better review processes, and other checks and balances can make sure that no one is cutting corners on your team.
Vehicle Maintenance Should Be Cost Effective
It’s unwise to minimize spending on vehicle maintenance too much, but you should strive for efficiency.
· Minimize redundancy.
Reduce instances of redundancy so you’re not duplicating efforts. Have a clear system for who’s in charge of each set of responsibilities.
· Identify and solve obstacles for maintenance staff.
Proactively look for obstacles faced by your maintenance team. What are the roadblocks preventing them from working more productively? How can you remove those roadblocks?
· Experiment with new workflows and ideas.
Don’t be afraid to experiment to see if you can make your processes smoother and more seamless.
If you can apply all these concepts to vehicle maintenance within your business, you should be able to save money, save time, and reduce complexity overall – all while keeping your drivers safer. Vehicle maintenance optimization can get complicated, but with the right tools and strategies, you’ll have a clear path to better processes.