What do you think would happen if a consultant was hired to review your commercial fleet? Outside individuals can frequently see problems that are often missed by those who see them every day, without realizing it. After speaking with a number of fleet managers and fleet consultants who have been involved in numerous operations, we put together a list of some of the most common commercial fleet deficiencies/problems. Let’s take a look at them.
Common Issues at a Glance
Generally speaking, these are the most common fleet operation problems:
- Failing to share resources
- A fleet facility that is outdated
- Data that has been poorly analyzed or not analyzed at all
- Aging vehicles
- Preventative maintenance has been inadequate or neglected
Now let’s take a look at how to remedy the situations presented by the above listed issues.
Utilize Your Resources
Here are some ways to put to good use a number of resources that are available to fleet managers today:
- Seek outside opinions – As suggested earlier, an outsider can frequently notice things that go unnoticed by those who work in a fleet every day. An outsider can help to improve the fleet through the creation of customer service surveys, fleet user guides, service level agreements, utilization plans, capital improvement plans, business plans, and mission statements.
- Build relationships with the fleet – A culture of teamwork must be created so that everyone can improve efficiency by working together. They must all be willing to share their strong points. Consider monthly classes hosted by various staff members sharing their strengths. Increase knowledge and skills to higher levels with cross training.
- Work with user departments – Form a fleet advisory committee to educate from the top down with members of each user group. Everyone has a stake in balancing the needs of a fleet and input from each group will help the fleet to run more cohesively and efficiently. Look at the needs of a fleet not only on a department level, but on a city level as well.
This is a no-brainer. As problematic as old vehicles can be, outdated facilities can cause operational dysfunction when small problems snowball. The solution: move out! Seek out and purchase a new facility ASAP before things get worse.
Properly Analyze Data
As an example, one source of the data that should be analyzed properly is cost. You should be cost competitive if you plan on staying in business. Data that can be analyzed can include the following:
- Maintenance costs – can be increased by fleet age and harsh operating environments
- Cost for a vehicle – this can vary as much as 200% between fleet types
- Competitors – what kind of costs are your competitors dealing with
Fleet managers must know what competitiveness means, what factors drive a higher cost, and how to measure cost competitiveness. There are outside firms, maintenance software companies, and fleet consulting companies that can help with data analysis.
The problem of old vehicles is solved in the same manner that the problem with old facilities is solved – get new ones. It can be a pricey endeavor but breakdowns, downtime, maintenance costs, part replacement – these all can add up to a higher bill than would replacing an old vehicle. Wait too long to replace a vehicle and the cost will be phenomenal, possibly causing irreparable damage to the company’s bottom line.
So, what’s the most common problem with preventative maintenance? It’s not being done! The backbone of any healthy fleet is preventative maintenance. Inadequate PM programs can lie at the heart of vehicle breakdowns, downtime, and lost opportunities (as well as lost money). What’s more, a potentially dangerous vehicle failure could be in the works when something as simple as an oil change is put off month after month after month. Mickey Genuine Parts has parts for trucks and trailers. Schedule your maintenance with one of our certified service centers conveniently located throughout the United States. Contact us at Mickey Genuine Parts for details.