The Costs Associated with Fleet Vehicle Downtime

Ever have an employee come up to you and say, “I can’t take that truck because the tags are expired?” Expired registration is one of the main causes for truck downtime. Sounds ridiculous but it’s true. Some big fleets have a very difficult time, every year, getting tags to each vehicle.

Work trucks are assets meant to generate income for your company. When they don’t run for whatever reason, your company is losing money. And we all know the rent, electricity, and every other bill is still due on the 1st!

How to accurately measure the cost of downtime varies with each company. Industry studies have determined that downtime can range from $500 to $900.00 daily. If your drivers or crews travel out of town, you may be looking at huge travel expenses (hotels, meals, per diem) while they sit idly, costing, not generating money. Any profit you expect has now been considerably reduced.

Accidents are another cause for truck downtime. Do you have a safety program that requires employee attendance? During your safety meetings be sure to discuss accident prevention measures as well as any accidents that have recently occurred. Remember that the driver can be your first line of defense in keeping your truck on the road, with good driving habits and proper pre/post trip inspections.

Turnaround time is extremely important once your truck does go down. Does your service provider work hard to get the repairs done and get that vehicle back to you in a timely fashion? Each day it sits at their shop is one less day it can generate billable revenue for your company. Be sure you have a viable Preventative Maintenance Program in place with a reputable local shop (or in-house). This will help to extend vehicle life span and reduce emergency breakdowns. OC Fleet Services can help you with a good PM program for your fleet.

Does a preventative truck maintenance program really pay off?
Let me count the ways:

Emergency Breakdowns

The last thing anyone wants is their truck and employees stranded on the side of the road waiting for a repair, or worse, THE WRECKER. Factoring in downtime, repairs and towing, your breakdown could easily cost hundreds of dollars.
 
You don’t pay your employees to sit on the side of the road. They should be out doing their job (generating income for the company). And, keep in mind, they expect to be working, not broken down and dealing with THAT frustration. They will now be way behind schedule, and once the truck IS repaired they still have a full day’s work ahead of them.
 
The entire time your driver is sitting, your customer is wondering where the truck is. So not only are you dealing with an unplanned emergency, you could be jeopardizing that hard earned relationship with your customer. Keep in mind that emergency repairs, by nature, will cost much more out-of- pocket than an ordinary repair. You will pay a call-out fee, mileage, and possibly a tow bill.
 
The answer? A preventative maintenance program!

Premature Wear

Who wants to buy a new truck before it’s absolutely necessary? They ARE nice and everything, with that new car smell, but the extra expense of payments on a new truck eats into profits that are hard enough to come by in the first place. If you follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule and change the oil, all other fluids, and replace worn parts routinely, you will increase the lifespan of your vehicle. Yes, it may cost a bit more up front, but in the long run you will save money.
 
The answer? A PM (preventive maintenance) program!

Safety
If your truck is involved in an accident and is deemed unsafe, the investigation could partially focus on maintenance. If you do not have a maintenance program in place, you may be liable for damages and any injuries that occur due to the accident. And if that happens, your insurance premiums may increase.
 
Do you really want your employees off work and on workers comp?
 
The answer? You guessed it! A good preventative maintenance program!
 
Keep your employees safe, your customers happy, and your trucks on the road!
Call Inland OC Fleet Services and we will work with you to establish and manage a PM program
Truck Repair and Communication

If you are like most of us, every day that your truck is down is a major pain,and expensive. Have you ever called the dealer or repair shop to check on your truck, only to be told, “Oh, your truck has been ready for 3 days, didn’t anybody call you?”

I read a new phrase last week when referring to communication. It’s called “Silo Mentality”. It means when one department doesn’t communicate with another department inside the same company. The problem arises in many cases when both departments are completing the exact same tasks but don’t realize it, because they aren’t talking to each other. Look inside your company to see if this phenomena exists.

In this day of constantly changing technology we are all expected to keep up with the latest media platforms and communication techniques. When texting first became available it was not allowed in many offices as it was thought to be used for personal reasons only. Now it’s almost essential for business communication in many industries and an accepted business practice. My point here is that communication techniques and platforms will constantly evolve. But they are no good to anyone unless they are used properly. Good communication begins with listening. When you connect with your customer for the first time, listen to them and figure out how they like to communicate: email, text, phone, whatever and implement a system based on their preference. Check back with them once in a while to see if this is still their preferred method of communication.

When used properly, communication could make the difference between you and your competition in the truck repair business, or any business! Be that company that communicates, it’ll pay off.

OC Fleet Services