Truck driver with blue heavy-duty truckIn a perfect world, your fleet would never break down. Deliveries would always be made on time, and heavy-duty trucks would drive like it was the first time they ever hit the road.
But this isn’t a perfect world. Breakdowns happen. Luckily, we can minimize their impact with things like routine maintenance. Regularly servicing your fleet and following a consistent maintenance schedule will help keep drivers from experiencing a world of headaches and prevent costly downtime related to equipment malfunctions.

A proper maintenance program with regularly scheduled service intervals, can play an important factor in controlling costs that ultimately impact your fleet’s bottom line. Dedicating specific service managers to oversee these operations helps limit confusion around fleet maintenance scheduling.

What is the Best Way to Manage a Fleet of Company Vehicles?

Fleet management requires a diverse skill set, especially when you’re charged with overseeing many vehicles. It can be especially difficult to keep track of exactly when and where each truck received maintenance services. That’s why logging each trip to the shop, whether for routine safety inspections or a major entire overhaul, is vital to managing a fleet of company vehicles. From maintaining the basic heavy-duty truck oil change interval to reconstructing internal systems, and everything in between, you need to make sure you’re documenting when, where and by whom services are being performed.

The primary goal of all maintenance operations, whether preventive or predictive, is reducing truck downtime. If a truck is in the shop, it’s not available for deliveries or anything else you need. This causes dilemmas across the board, especially if this was an unexpected maintenance appointment. Designated Inland Truck Parts & Service locations are equipped with all the necessary parts your rig needs to get back on the road as quickly as possible. Reducing downtime means managers don’t have to scramble to rearrange delivery days, times and loads to adjust for a fleet member that is out of commission.

Operating Cost Analysis

How to calculate

Cost effectiveness is on the minds of all thriving companies. And properly managing your fleet can save you big bucks. Heavy-duty trucks that are cared for and maintained properly will run more efficiently, which, in turn, will lower fuel costs. When that stretches across your entire fleet, the savings can be substantial.

With the proper truck maintenance checklist, the risk of workplace injuries may drastically decrease as well. Consistently surveying various members of the fleet can prevent major faulty mechanical issues before they happen, including failing brakes and steering system malfunctions, semi-truck tire repair and GPS vehicle tracking problems.

Routing is another important factor to consider when seeking to maximize fleet efficiencies. Based on truck and load size, your navigation software needs to be able to swiftly map the most precise and unobstructed route to get the various members of your fleet to their destinations safely and efficiently, while staying compliant with current ELD regulations.

Heavy-Duty Truck Preventive Maintenance Checklist

When it comes to keeping up your fleet, routine truck maintenance can go a long way in making sure your trucks stay on the roadways and out of the repair shops.

A simple inspection checklist can significantly increase the expected life span of your vehicles, keeping them on the road and generating substantial savings by reducing the need for replacement units. Regular inspections also help uncover small issues and address them quickly before they turn into larger, more complicated problems that require additional time, money and resources to correct. And, not only are routine inspections beneficial, they are also required annually by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

While maintaining efficient trucks is crucial to continuing operations, the importance of drivers cannot go unnoticed. Every driver in your company should know and understand the policies on how to react when a repair is needed, or if they are involved in an accident. Instructing each individual on the proper ways to pre-check their unit prior to departure can help prevent malfunctions that could occur on the open road.

Bracing for the Future in Fleet Management

Technology continues to evolve and the electrical systems in today’s trucks will likely change in the near future. The current electrical demand for a heavy-duty truck is roughly 3-5 kW. However, projections indicate that number could jump to 40 kW by 2030. This means determining how and when to upgrade your fleet could be costly up front, but economical in the long run.

New and improved engines, systems and other technologies will all be developed with the mindset of efficiency and cost effectiveness. Heavy-duty truck tools need to be continually researched and updated to ensure each unit within your fleet is contributing, by increasing your profits and delivering loads on a routine basis.

Big Data and The Future of Predictive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance relies heavily on data, but if you have incomplete or faulty information, you may be replacing an old component before it has run its full course. While the data and technology is continuing to improve on expected product duration, there could be instances where particular parts still last several additional years, and replacing them prematurely hurts your bottom line.

However, waiting for component failure can significantly impact a number of indirect costs, including towing, inconvenience, unhappy drivers and customer dissatisfaction. While it’s a developing field, predictive maintenance is still in its infancy. There’s no doubt, however, in the long run, it will be a beneficial and integral part of fleet management.

Effective Fleet Maintenance

In order to manage your fleet properly, it’s important to continue to schedule routine maintenance appointments, develop checklists for drivers to complete, and properly self-inspect your units on a regular basis. For assistance in any of these categories, or other questions regarding your truck, visit your friends at Inland Truck Parts & Service today!