The starting point for a good fleet maintenance program is keeping detailed and up-to-date records of the vehicles and assets.
“First and foremost you need to gather the correct information when the asset comes on board into the organisation,” said Andrew Railz, director of eet consultancy Railz Asset Management. “I don’t believe a lot of people do that very well,” he said, adding, “It makes it very dif cult to go and order parts and things when you don’t have that information.”
The asset register should include obvious details such as the make and model of the vehicle, its VIN, warranty, engine oil speci cation, recommended coolant and other uids, and parts requirements.
The next step in developing a maintenance program is to consider the utilisation of the vehicle:
- Is it going to have high usage? It will need more frequent checks.
- What type of environment will it be operating in? A dusty or steep terrain will demand more checks than a well-paved urban environment.
- Will it be carrying heavy loads? Obviously that’s going to require more frequent attention.
- Will it have noteworthy idling time? If so, don’t space out service intervals based on kilometres travelled.
- What is the criticality of the vehicle to the organisation? If you can’t hire a replacement vehicle quickly and you can’t afford a breakdown then you’ll want to keep a close and careful eye on it.
Other considerations that will determine the maintenance program are:
- Will you be using genuine or non- genuine parts?
- Do you intend to use oil analysis or other condition-based monitoring techniques?
- Can it be serviced in a workshop nearby, or would it be better to use a mobile service?
- Will the vehicle have a dedicated driver or be a pool vehicle?
In order to complete a good preventative maintenance (PM) program you are also going to need to have systems in place that identify and manage defects and common maintenance problems.
“To me your maintenance program is never fixed,” said Railz. “If you have a system for identifying common failures in your assets then you’ll add additional checks on your PM list to take care of problem items.”
You’ll also need a way of measuring performance to determine if you have an efficient and effective PM program. One key performance measure could be the mean time between failures. Another could be to measure time for completing repairs against industry standard repair times.
Of course, the program should be built around the needs of the business to ensure that servicing is scheduled at times of least demand on the vehicle.
For those fleets with onsite workshops it’s important in our world of rapidly changing technology to have continuous training of workshop staff.