For fleet managers, vehicles being down and undrivable is one of the worst things that can happen. Not only do you have to figure out what to do with that vehicle (whether you repair or replace it), but you’re also losing money in the form of lost productivity.
The good news is, if you take the proper steps, you can avoid lengthy downtime and keep your fleet up and running — and making money. Here are five ways to reduce your fleet’s downtime:
1. Perform Regular Maintenance
Proactive maintenance is your best tool against fleet downtime. You should keep every vehicle in your fleet on an inspection and maintenance schedule — and stick to it! That way, if you do discover any minor issues, you can catch them and address them before they become major.
Performing regular maintenance won’t absolutely prevent downtime. But a proactive approach will drastically reduce the risk. Be sure to stay in communication with your maintenance provider so their crew understands your fleet’s needs.
2. Keep Your Fleet Refreshed with New Vehicles
Maintenance is always a good practice. But when you are having to pull certain vehicles out of your fleet for constant fixes, you should replace them. Buying new vehicles is a bigger upfront cost than just fixing the ones you have. But you will save much more money in the long-run. New vehicles require less maintenance, may get better gas mileage, and are overall money-savers.
What’s more, new vehicles generally come with a warranty of three years or more. With that warranty, you can get free repairs and replacements if something goes wrong. When you regularly buy new vehicles, you can slowly phase out the older ones and keep your fleet fresh and free of extensive downtime.
3. Retrain Drivers Regularly
It doesn’t matter if a driver has been driving for 10 months or 10 years. Retraining can be incredibly beneficial for every driver across the fleet. While safety is always a concern in training, it’s important for every driver to be reminded about bad habits that can damage the vehicle.
In addition, when training includes a refresher on best vehicle inspection practices, such as how to identify a bad tire or a faulty engine part, drivers are in a better position to get maintenance when their vehicles need it. Proper training can drastically reduce downtime by eliminating habits that are detrimental to the vehicle and identifying when maintenance should be performed.
4. Take Advantage of Any Downtime
Fleet downtime happens. But you can take advantage of it to make you get ahead of any issues. Planned downtime happens on holidays and other times when you know your fleet won’t be running in advance. Certain vehicles may also not run on certain planned days. These times are fantastic opportunities to inspect vehicles and perform any minor maintenance you can.
Unplanned downtime can also be turned to your advantage. If a vehicle’s battery dies, for instance, you can have the maintenance crew check the rest of the electrical system for other issues that may crop up in the future. Solving two or more issues when the vehicle is out of commission can prevent greater downtime in the future.
5. Plan for the Unexpected with Commercial Roadside Assistance
No matter how much maintenance you perform, how many new vehicles you buy and how many other steps you take to prevent downtime, there are times when vehicles are going to break down. Knowing this, the best preventative measure you can take against downtime is to make sure you have a great commercial roadside assistance plan to get your vehicles back on the road quickly when they break down during a trip.
Encore Protection offers excellent commercial roadside assistance plans for fleets of every size. Whether you operate a small business, corporation or even a government fleet, we can make sure your vehicles are back on the road so you can avoid extensive downtime and lost productivity.
Give us a call today at (844) 636-2673 or fill out our convenient contact form to learn how we can help your business save money!