Preventive Maintenance

One of the challenges for any growing business is bringing structure to various processes, and if your business operations involve multiple vehicles, it might be time to consider a formalized preventive maintenance program. Regular maintenance can prevent expensive breakdowns and improve driver and passenger safety, and while there are costs associated with establishing a maintenance program, most businesses will realize overall savings in the form of improved reliability and less downtime.

Here’s a brief overview of what’s included in a proper preventive maintenance program. In a future post we’ll drill down into more detail about what should be included in your plan.

The first step in establishing a program is an understanding of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requirements as well as any state or local regulations. These are the “have-to” items in your maintenance program.

Any new initiative should have goals associated with it so you can measure progress. In general terms, goals will include improving the safety of operators and passengers, minimizing downtime and scheduling maintenance in a way that allows operations to continue running smoothly. The specific numbers or percentages assigned to these goals will depend on your organization.

Understand that a true preventive maintenance program is more than just scheduling oil changes. It involves activities like regular pre-trip inspections to identify problems before they become larger issues, careful scheduling to maximize fleet availability during peak times and even regular interior and exterior cleaning of your fleet vehicles.

Just as important as the “what” of your maintenance program is the “who.” As you design the program be sure to involve the stakeholders who are most affected by it; specifically, your drivers, fleet managers and any internal staff (such as dispatchers) whose performance depends on vehicle operation. Giving these employees a seat at the table will not only improve your program, it will result in better buy-in when the time comes to implement it.

Finally, even the most carefully designed maintenance program won’t be effective if you don’t regularly assess its progress. Put a plan in place to analyze data and results in an effort to continually improve the program. Items like repair and tow data should be analyzed to identify recurring trouble spots, and you may find opportunities to improve fuel usage and vendor costs as well.

Questions about the benefits of a preventive maintenance program? Contact Consolidated.