Fleet maintenance is a key part of logistics and must be a constant concern of entrepreneurs – both those who manage transport vehicles and those who own agricultural machinery.
Indispensable to ensure the proper functioning and efficiency of the equipment, it must be planned strategically by the managers. Lack of fleet maintenance poses a risk to the safety of drivers, cargo and operations. This means that, in the long run, the absence of review puts the financial health of the business at risk.
So every little detail deserves attention. The care with the fuel used and the conditions of the tires, for example, are extremely relevant, since they are the biggest expenses involved with the vehicles. In addition, these factors are also related – keeping tires in good condition extends their useful life and also generates fuel economy.
Types of Fleet Maintenance
There are different types of fleet maintenance – and they all have their importance. While preventive and predictive maintenance seeks to act in advance to avoid unnecessary expenditures, the corrective must solve problems that they failed to anticipate. Let’s better understand each one of them:
Preventive maintenance is designed to keep vehicles and machinery in the best possible working condition. This category includes interventions planned and executed before the occurrence or occurrence of problems.
It is no coincidence that it is often said that “prevention is the best medicine”. The idea of preventive fleet maintenance is to carry out an accurate diagnosis of the condition of the equipment and to define what measures need to be taken to prevent damage and accidents.
It is this type of conservation that, besides avoiding expenses with the fleet that were not foreseen, also avoids the idleness of the machines and the suspension of the logistics chain of the company. Recalling that these last two factors mean high costs for the enterprise.
The best way to carry out preventive maintenance is through a fixed conservation calendar. On the dates determined by the schedule, the inspection of items such as the condition of the tires; the suspension; the brakes; the fluids; the engine, the exhaust; the electrical system and the batteries.
Very similar to preventive maintenance, predictive maintenance is, however, more costly for the entrepreneur. She also assumes that it is much better to anticipate problems. However, predictive acts through the use of technological tools.
The focus of this type of fleet maintenance is the regular monitoring of the mechanical and performance conditions of machines and vehicles. This is accomplished with the help of last generation resources and your results are usually very positive.
To ensure this type of conservation, it is necessary to invest in equipment such as crawlers, ultrasound, thermographic cameras and technologies capable of performing vibration testing and visual inspection.
The investment, therefore, is not low, as it should also include the training of the teams that will carry out the work. On the other hand, predictive maintenance is very efficient in terms of cost reduction, generating long-term savings for the entrepreneur.
Unlike the first two categories, corrective maintenance is not done in advance and becomes more necessary when these are not done properly. In cases where this happens, it turns out to represent larger – and “unexpected” – expenses and may cause losses for the enterprise.
The idea of maintenance is not exactly to repair machinery and vehicles but to “maintain” the initial state of the fleet. So, from a certain mileage or time of use, it is natural. The problem is that in most situations, it could be avoided.
Unscheduled replacement of parts, use of unplanned labor, and the cost of a stationary vehicle significantly increase fleet maintenance costs. For this reason, it is recommended that there be a strong policy of anticipating problems so that these cases are no more than rare exceptions.
Preventive actions are fundamental
Taking into account the high added value of machinery and vehicles and the need to preserve them, the entrepreneur must have a well-structured fleet maintenance schedule.
The cost of corrective maintenance will hardly be reduced to zero. However, a calendar of preventive and predictive actions should be the main focus of the manager. It should also be part of the strategic cost reduction planning of a business.
Poorly prepared teams, lack of checklist and control indexes are among the main mistakes in this regard. Tire and fuel management are, for example, factors that can not be neglected.
In addition, since people are “closer” to vehicles or machines, listening to drivers is an important part of fleet maintenance. Abnormal noise and difficulty of control are aspects that can be easily perceived by them.
In short, keeping in mind all the factors we have mentioned, keeping operating costs low while being attentive to how the fleet works is the key to success.