A driver we spoke with related an all too common complaint which he experienced.
“I was working for a dedicated regional automotive parts carrier, a medium size not so new fleet of tractor trailers in Ontario, Canada. I picked up my load near Toronto and set out for Detroit, Michigan. About three quarters of the way there the engine overheat sensor sounded so I pulled off onto the shoulder and raised the hood.
“The problem was plainly visible. The rusty idler pulley had failed and seized up, burning out the still turning drive belt. I was surely going nowhere. Dispatch called a tow truck so I very impatiently waited for it to arrive.
“It did not come quickly. By the time it arrived the sun was setting. I was towed to the nearest truck stop which happened to not have a repair shop. So, dispatch called a mobile repair shop and told that dispatcher what the truck needed. Hours later the tech arrived, parts in hand.
“He turned out to be a slow worker and more time passed. By the time he was finished the repair, I was out of hours. Dispatch had to send a driver to bring me and the truck back to the terminal then to deliver my load.
“Curious, I inquired of dispatch how they scheduled their preventive maintenance of the vehicles. I was told they had no set schedule, but just caught each truck when they could. I was furious but held my temper. They had a shop and a manager, but no shop management system.”
Expenditures Add Up
This is not a rare occurrence. We’re certain many drivers have had similar experiences. This one in particular must have cost the fleet dearly for a small repair. Factor in the tow charge, mobile technician repair, truck out of service most of a day, and additional driver pay to deliver a late load with penalty and you have a maintenance issue that never should have happened.
The sad part of the story is that with a shop management software system it likely would have caught the fault during a PM and repaired it quickly in the terminal shop. This carrier chose to forego necessary maintenance inspections to load more freight. We believe this is the wrong approach for a fleet to assume. You don’t put off maintenance to haul another load.
Get Proactive to Reduce Breakdowns
Scheduling regular maintenance means spending a little to keep the fleet in top operating condition which is far better than the alternative, namely costly repairs, downtime and delayed delivery penalties. Clearly, if your fleet is operating this way you are missing opportunities to increase the fleet’s bottom line.
Maintenance must always include critical inspection of the entire vehicle with particular attention given to the unique characteristics of your fleet’s equipment. Trucks have hundreds of moving parts that continue to wear so there will always be some component failures. Your objective is to reduce the frequency and occurrence of breakdowns and thereby increase revenue generating uptime
Sticking to PM schedules is imperative. But it’s easy to do if you utilize a software based shop management system even for a small fleet. We recommend FleetSquared. It’s a cloud based shop management system built for heavy duty truck fleets of today and beyond.
Get Help with Preventive Maintenance
FleetSquared makes short work of creating PM schedules and checklists that match up with manufacturer’s specifications. You get alerts when maintenance is due on each vehicle. PMs can be staggered so you don’t have too many trucks in the shop at a time.
With FleetSquared all paper based documents are now produced digitally and stored that way for easy access – previous repair records and all – at your fingertips. It’s easy to get started with FleetSquared. Your techs will be up to speed in 30 minutes or less.
The service manager creates digital repair orders and assigns work to techs without leaving the office and suddenly has more time to do what’s best: managing the business. And there are no expensive setup or ongoing training costs.
FleetSquared is designed to streamline and speed up various aspects of small fleet shops work. It’s easy to use and comes with a free 30 day trial for you to test drive it. And it’s affordable. Sign up with your email to start your free trial today. There’s absolutely no risk.
Work smart and prosper with FleetSquared.