Tag Archives: Ways Fleet Management Software Can Improve Productivity

7 Important Tips For Optimized Fleet Maintenance

Companies that operate fleets spend large amounts of money on vehicle maintenance. This is essential for them to keep their businesses going. Optimized Fleet maintenance is not just a business function.

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It has a key role to play in the commercial and economic activities of a nation, especially fleets consisting of trailers, trucks, and off-road vehicles for transporting goods. Therefore, maintenance of the fleet vehicles is essential to support the growth of the fleet operators’ business and economic advancement of a country.

As maintenance of vehicles is an expensive affair, most companies tend to cut corners and postpone or resort to quick fixes. This often leads to an increase in downtime and higher expenditure in the long run.

Read Also: How to Manage Fleet Downtime with Fleet Management

Fleet operators who understand the consequences of not completing maintenance jobs on time focus on optimizing their fleet maintenance activities and reap the benefits. If you are a fleet operator, read on to get some useful tips on optimizing fleet maintenance.

Fleet Maintenance – What Is It

Before understanding as to how you can optimize your fleet’s maintenance, it is important to have a clear idea as to what constitutes fleet maintenance. As a fleet owner, you need to schedule routine checking of your vehicles to understand the condition of the various parts of the vehicles in your fleet.

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This is essential to keep the vehicles in good running condition and reduce downtime. This also ensures the proper maintenance of the workflow of your business. Regular or preventive maintenance checks of your vehicles enable you to spot problems early and take timely action.

Washing the vehicles regularly to prevent the accumulation of dirt and ensuring that all accessories and maintenance tools are in good working condition are also part and parcel of fleet maintenance activities.

Top Tips For Optimizing Fleet Maintenance

Fleet maintenance may be a mundane task, but it should not be neglected. It keeps the productivity of your enterprise at the optimum level. Having said that here are a few tips for optimizing fleet maintenance:

Select Appropriate Vehicles

Optimization of fleet maintenance starts with the selection of the appropriate vehicles for meeting your requirements. If you do not choose the right vehicles, you will end up spending a lot of money on maintenance and even fail in meeting your delivery commitments.

In addition to losing your clients, you will also have to suffer financial losses in the long run. When you choose the right vehicles, you will be able to utilize them better and save both time and money.

Employ Telematics To Automate Fleet Maintenance

The best way to optimize fleet maintenance is to use the telematics system. It helps to automate most of the mundane tasks. It is not impossible but it is very challenging to do it manually. The use of technology eliminates human errors and makes fleet maintenance more efficient.

The telematics system helps you to monitor the operation and performance of each vehicle in your fleet with the help of both computer and mobile applications. These applications notify you when there is a problem with the performance of a vehicle or when it is misused in any manner. This also ensures the security of your vehicle in the fleet.

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The fleet telematics system also informs you as to how and when you can schedule maintenance jobs so that you can ensure that the vehicles are maintained at the optimum operating condition. This goes a long way in increasing the productivity of your fleet.

The applications enable fleet owners to get a clear idea of the maintenance cost involved and this helps them to eliminate the possibility of maintenance scams. As such, a fleet telematics system automates most of the functions of your business and enables you to reduce losses and enhance your overall profits.

Optimal Utilization of Vehicles

You can drastically minimize the need for unnecessary and unexpected maintenance through planning and proper utilization of the vehicles and keeping track of the load being carried by each vehicle. It also pays to have a clear idea of the routes and terrain through which the vehicles have to travel at the time of planning the schedules.

Keeping in view factors such as the terrain, topology, and the accessories that are needed to be loaded into your vehicles will be of great help in reducing the wearing out of your vehicles. If you load the vehicles more than the specified limits, there is no doubt that they will wear out faster and they will have to be taken to the repair shops for maintenance more frequently.

Read Also: How to Drive in More Profit With A Car Rental Solution

Increased downtime of the vehicles adversely affects their utilization. This, in turn, impacts productivity and the bottom line of your business.

Create A Maintenance Operations Control List

As a fleet operator, you must create a checklist of the various maintenance operations that need to be carried out on each vehicle in the fleet. This is to ensure that no aspects are overlooked and tasks are carried out systematically.

A checklist is also helpful in the early detection of issues with your vehicles and proactively taking action to rectify the problems. In addition to speeding up the maintenance process, it also enables you to reduce downtime and improve vehicle utilization.

When creating the checklist, you must keep the manufacturer’s specifications in this regard in mind. This is because the requirements for each type of vehicle are different.

Preventive maintenance, which involves periodic inspection as well as timely service, eliminates 50 percent of the maintenance issues. Preventive maintenance checks include inspecting wheels and checking alignment, applying lubricants at appropriate intervals, and checking hydraulic and transmission systems, among others.

Allocate the Maintenance Tasks

Allocating the various maintenance tasks to different staff members helps to improve the availability of the vehicles in your fleet. Also, it helps to streamline the maintenance workflow and asset utilization. Further, the allocation of maintenance tasks to different specialized groups ensures that no issues are left out because of oversight.

Formulating a stringent compliance policy would be of great help in this regard. Educate the drivers about your company’s policies concerning the fleet operation and empower them to comply not only with company rules but also road laws.

Develop A Plan Based On the Needs of Your Business

When developing a fleet maintenance plan, it is crucial to keep the needs of your business in mind. Most fleet operators lose money due to the downtime of their vehicles in the fleet. This is because they fail to carry out important business tasks on time due to maintenance downtime.

This can adversely affect your company’s customer base and you may even lose out to your competitors. You can avoid such pitfalls by scheduling the maintenance operations, keeping your customers’ demand trend in mind. In this regard, it is worth considering factors like seasonal demands, customer preferences, and workforce availability when scheduling fleet maintenance work.

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If you do it in a systematic and organized manner, the downtime of your vehicles will not adversely impact your business activities.

Provide Training and Encourage Transparent Communication

When it comes to optimizing fleet maintenance, training has an important role to play. You must train the drivers to operate the vehicles they are attached to most properly. They should also be educated in using the latest technologies that you have deployed for optimizing fleet maintenance.

Transparent and timely communication are also important factors that impact fleet maintenance optimization. They help you to eliminate unexpected vehicle breakdowns and downtimes. Drivers should be sensitized to immediately inform you about the maintenance requirements of the vehicles they drive.

Read Also: How to Optimize Your Fleet Operations with Reports

Moreover, trained drivers may be able to resolve some minor issues during a trip itself. Further, sharing information about the need for route changes and completing additional emergency tasks, etc., will go a long way in optimizing fleet operation.

Final Thoughts

Fleet maintenance management is no longer a challenging task. You can take the help of technology. The tips given above will be of great help to you in improving the efficiency of your vehicle maintenance optimization efforts.

How to Optimize Your Fleet Operations with Reports

Use a data-driven approach to optimize your fleet operations with reports. The reports generated by fleet management software are based on various metrics that help you measure your fleet performance. Analyzing the reports will help improve your fleet performance.

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Let’s take a look at the different reports, and how you can optimize your fleet operations using these reports. But first, let’s check out the basic points to consider while setting up a reporting system in a fleet management software.

Develop an Effective Reporting System

There’s a fine line between essential information and information overload. When the fleet managers get too much information from the software, they will be confused about how to optimize the operations.

Read Also: How to Manage Fleet Downtime with Fleet Management

That’s why it is essential to develop an effective reporting system that will provide the essential data. Consider the following points while setting up a reporting system in your fleet management software:

  • What kind of information should be gathered by the reports?
  • What is the frequency of generating reports?
  • Who should have access to the reports?
  • Is there any specific information requested by the senior management?
  • Should the reports be one-time or long-term?
  • What areas of operations do the reports cover?
  • Can the data from one report be used for another report?
  • Do you need reports for inventory management?
  • Will the reports help track compliance?

These questions will help you decide on the essential reports needed to get an overview and in-depth information about your fleet.

Reports and the Information They Provide

Let’s take a look at the basic reports that a fleet management software generates and how you can use that data to optimize your fleet operations.

Trip Assigned and Trip Completed Reports

Report Data: These reports will have the details of the trips that you’ve assigned to each driver and the status of the trips.

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Report Analysis: A comparative analysis of these two reports will help you monitor driver performance and productivity. In case the trip is not completed, then the fleet manager needs to find out the valid reasons for the incomplete trip.

If it is because of a repair or accident, then immediate action needs to be taken. Also, the fleet manager needs to check and update the preventive maintenance program. If the incomplete status is because of traffic or reroutes, then the situation needs to be checked to arrange an alternate solution.

The trip assigned report will give you the fleet availability rate. You will know how many vehicles are on-road and how many not in use. Fleet managers should try to maintain an availability rate of about 95% at any point in time with a 5% backup for emergencies.

Expense Report

Report Data: This comprehensive report will give fleet managers an overall view of the expenses incurred. The report will have details of expenses related to regular service and maintenance, fuel and spare parts. You can also have individual reports for

  • Total fuel costs/fuel costs per trip
  • The average mileage of the vehicle
  • Service charges
  • Cost of a replacement vehicle in case of original vehicle downtime
  • Driver expenses

Report Analysis: The comprehensive report will let you know if the fleet management expenses are within the budget. It will also be useful when the fleet managers are presenting data to the higherups. Individual reports of fuel expenses, replacement parts, and such will help keep a close eye on these expenses.

They can also help avert fuel theft and replacement part thefts. Comparing the fuel usage based on the vehicle type to the route details will help identify if there are any detours in the route.

Inspection and Maintenance Reports

Report Data: These reports will give you data when and who did the vehicle inspection. It will also give you details of when the vehicle maintenance and the services were done.

Read Also: Advanced Fleet Management: What Is It?

Report Analysis: Analysing these reports will give you a heads-up on the vehicle maintenance schedule, which can help you in assigning the vehicles.

Vehicle inspections help you identify minor problems before they blow up into huge issues, leading to more vehicle downtime and operational losses. You can also use the maintenance reports to prepare a preventive maintenance program and schedule the services.

Vehicle Running Report

Report Data: This report will give you the day-to-day breakup of the vehicle movement. It will give you data like total running time, distance travelled, driver details, and idling time. You can have this report generated daily, weekly, and monthly based on your requirements.

Report Analysis: Analysing the daily report will help you easily find if there are any inconsistencies in the route,  fuel usage, or vehicle performance. The weekly and monthly reports will help you gauge the vehicle’s overall performance.

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Fleet managers will find the monthly reports useful while presenting fleet maintenance reports to higher management. This report also helps in efficient fuel management as it can help optimize the route and vehicle performance.

Distance Travelled Report

Report Data: This report will give you details of the distance travelled on each trip by each vehicle in your fleet.

Report Analysis: You can compare the optimized route planned with the distance travelled to check if there are any discrepancies. It will help weed out any possible malpractice right at the early stages. The distance travelled report will also help in scheduling maintenance that needs to be done after every 5k or 10k kilometers.

Safe Driver Ranking Report

Report Data: This self-ranking report gives an accurate overview of a driver’s performance and their driving behaviour.

Report Analysis: The reports will help you check if the drivers follow traffic regulations, drive within the stipulated speed, and practice safe driving. This report can also be compared with any complaints received about driver behaviour to evaluate their performance.

Action can be taken against drivers who drive rashly or behave badly with the passengers. On the other side, fleet managers can reward and encourage drivers who have a good track record.

Calendar and Duty Roaster

Report Data: Fleet managers can use this roaster to get an overview of the available vehicles and drivers. It will also give details about the shift hours, duty days and leave days of the drivers.

Report Analysis: This roaster cum report helps fleet managers manage the operations of the entire fleet. They will have a clear picture of the engaged and available drivers, which will help in trip allocation. The shift hours will help check if the drivers are working overtime.

If the drivers are putting in too many hours of overtime, then they can get physically and mentally fatigued. It could lead to accidents. So, fleet managers need to keep an eye on the hours of duty of each driver to ensure they have the proper work-rest balance. The dashboard will also allow fleet managers to assign drivers and vehicles for sudden unplanned trips or emergencies.

Predictive Maintenance Reports

Report Data: The predictive maintenance reports will help fleet managers schedule reports based on the vehicle type, manufacturer service plan and driver inputs.

Report Analysis: This report will be very helpful in maintaining fleet performance. Fleet managers can assign vehicles based on the preventive maintenance schedule. So, the vehicle’s downtime will also be greatly reduced.

Read Also: Top 10 Benefits of Mobile Apps in Fleet Management

Proper maintenance at the right time will also help enhance the vehicle’s life and performance. Predictive maintenance also helps reduce operational costs and expenses incurred due to vehicle repairs and replacements.

Compliance Reports

Report Data: The compliance report will have all data regarding a vehicle’s compliance and statutory regulations. Details of when the vehicle was purchased, its registration, and FC will all be available in the report.

Report Analysis: Fleet managers will find this report useful while checking if all the vehicles meet the compliance set by the government. If the vehicles don’t meet the regulations, then there could be hefty fines.

Also, the vehicle may have to be removed from the fleet until the issue is resolved. This will further cause more operational losses. Therefore, this report will help fleet managers prevent such problems.

Conclusion

The reports that a cab service provider will need are different from the ones that a school bus fleet needs. Therefore, it is important to have automated tracking reports that are customized to your business requirements.

Reports not only help manage and monitor the fleet but also reduce vehicle downtime and operational costs. If you are interested in setting up a fleet management system with a customized reporting system, contact us now.