In the day-to-day operations of your company's fleet, maintenance is easy to overlook. It's far too simple to neglect oil changes, brake system maintenance, and other important checks and maintenance tasks. Yet if you are not properly maintaining your vehicles, your company productivity is suffering.
While there is a cost associated with fleet maintenance, over the long term it saves far more than it costs. Vehicles that are properly cared for will run more efficiently, lowering fuel costs. Your fleet will also suffer fewer on-the-job breakdowns, which lead to costly delays. A well maintained fleet will help your drivers avoid penalties and fines when stopped by law enforcement personnel for safety checks. If you are not maintaining your vehicles, you are likely wasting money instead of saving it.
Downtime for fleet vehicles has a great impact on your productivity and budget. When a vehicle is out of commission, you either have to pay for a replacement rental or incur the obvious expense of losing a valuable resource for your business. Downtime sidelines a driver and impacts your customer service. Carefully scheduled maintenance that occurs during off-road hours can help reduce unexpected breakdowns without impacting the overall usefulness of your fleet.
And while there are lots of options when it comes to contract maintenance, not all programs are created equal. When selecting a provider, look for one that sets up schedules for your PM service based on intervals that best fit with your vehicle utilization. This will help ensure you get the longest life out of your assets with the least amount of downtime.
Questions to ask a contract maintenance provider
When you’re performing due diligence on potential contract maintenance providers, make sure to ask them the following:
- Hours of operation: Can they service your vehicles at times that fit your schedule so trucks don’t have to be taken off the road for regularly scheduled maintenance but rather, can be maintained when the vehicle is not needed?
- After Hours Service: Do they have an established protocol for emergency services complete with service trucks, technicians, communications, and parts? Do they have a network of third party service providers throughout your AOR?
- Rental Vehicle: Review the availability of rental vehicles for both routine and emergency replacements.
- Types of Core Services: Investigate the types of services they specialize in and what repairs are sent out to third parties. For diagnostics, you will want to know if they have the necessary software packages that are compatible with your fleet.
- Bay availability: Does the service provider have the bay space to accommodate your fleet or can they bring service to your location to expedite the maintenance process? You don't want to have trucks waiting hours for a simple PM service.
- Technician work force: You’ll want to know the number of technicians on staff but also what types of certifications they have. Ask about the percentage of techs that are ASE certified. Make sure to inquire about how much training techs get on an ongoing basis so you can assess if they will be able to accurately maintain the technology on your trucks.
- Parts inventory: Having the right parts on hand is critical to getting your trucks out of the service bay even if they are only in for a regular PM service. Look into the depth and breadth of parts inventory as well as the quality of parts in a service provider’s inventory.
- Data availability: Can you access vehicle service histories and maintenance and repair date quickly and easily on the web? If you have to wait to access information, or if it’s only available in a paper document, you might want to look elsewhere for someone to handle your maintenance. Quick access to maintenance and repair data allows you to make better decisions in real time.
Wholesale motor oils, lubricants and chemicals
These days lubricants are a spare part, every bit as essential to your operation as the machine itself, and should be handled as such, not as a commodity.
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