Keeping trucks on the road and making deliveries is a constant challenge for fleet managers. The costs of unscheduled downtime add up rapidly as money isn’t coming in while overhead expenses to maintain operations continue unhindered. Even scheduled downtime can have unexpected costs if the shop maintenance bay is at maximum capacity already with emergency maintenance.

Fleet managers need to develop procedures to keep downtime, planned or otherwise, to a minimum. The following strategies can help achieve that goal:

  1. Establish a rapport with local dealers and service providers. It behooves fleets to be on good terms with the providers they interact with on a regular basis. This means local dealers as well as those providers drivers utilize while on the road. Building these relationships can mean the difference between a provider making the time for a surprise maintenance issue and turning the fleet manager away. Having good relationships with dealers can also help when trucks experience emergencies off the beaten path as they can make recommendations as well as get involved if a driver is having difficulties with an unfamiliar service provider.
  2. Communicate urgency correctly. When a fleet makes every maintenance need sound like an emergency, it’s easy for a service provider to tune them out. When fleets overinflate urgency, it diminishes a service provider’s response to actual emergencies. Dealers appreciate fleets that let them know when repairs aren’t urgent and they’re more inclined to help when an emergency does come along.
  3. Be your own advocate. It’s easy for a fleet to drop off a broken truck and pick it up in working order, but steps need to occur to make that happen. Fleets can reduce their turnaround time on repairs if they provide information upfront such as noting the most common part that causes certain malfunctions.
  4. Utilize mobile service providers. Getting the dealer to come to the fleet can save a significant amount of time when it comes to preventative maintenance. If fleets have to wait for a maintenance bay to clear out when it has a backlog several trucks deep, they’re going to be waiting longer than they care for. By utilizing mobile services, fleets don’t have to contend with full maintenance bays.
  5. Identify common causes of downtime. Throwing potential solutions at a problem and hoping one sticks isn’t the best business practice. Identifying the root cause(s) of the problem allows fleet managers to address them at the source. Investing in telematics can help pinpoint those areas.

Downtime happens, but unplanned maintenance and frequent emergencies are symptoms of a larger problem. Contact the experts at DriverCheck to learn how trucking telematics can improve your fleet’s proficiency and bottom line.