COVID Cost Control: Exploring maintenance and repair strategies during a pandemic

Between working remotely and social distancing these days, does it feel like you’re observing your world from outer space? Every day—in every area of our lives—we’re orbiting through the same steps: calculate statistics, rehash strategies, and compare them to your normal life “PM” (that stands for “Prior to March 2020” in this case, but we’ll talk about actual PMs in a minute).

Your fleet is no exception. Your current state may seem downright alien compared to the budget and strategy you started 2020 with. Now you’re looking at utilization statistics, considering cost saving strategies, and contemplating the next best fleet move in this parallel universe.

It’s time to stop looking into the black hole of what’s already happened, and take one giant leap toward your fleet future. Let’s explore your available short-term maintenance and repair options, based on your current utilization patterns.

Tips for active vehicles

If your company was deemed an essential service, the demand placed on your vehicles has likely increased. Unfortunately, this added wear and tear can lead to eons of trouble. While it’s tempting to cut back on spend in times of economic uncertainty despite steady business volume, don’t lose sight of the long-term impact of your immediate decisions. During this sudden spike in utilization, prioritizing preventive maintenance (PM) and repairs is critical to ensure your vehicles are ready to service your customers.

  • Preventive Maintenance – Strictly adhering to PM schedules for your in-demand vehicles is the best way to deter component failures that can hit like a meteor and prematurely take your vehicles out of service. This is especially important when order-to-delivery timeframes feel light years long due to irregular OEM factory schedules.
  • Repairs – Functional and safety repairs remain mission critical. Keep your vehicles in top operating shape so they remain reliable and ready to serve.

Tips for underutilized vehicles

Reduced use of company vehicles may reflect a slowdown in business demand, which translates to less demand on your fleet. To offset temporary changes in revenue, you may need to reduce operating costs to help support your organization’s budget needs in the short-term.

  • Preventive Maintenance – If your analytics show utilization is below expected levels, you can temporarily extend your PM intervals. This allows your fleet to route money reserved for preventive maintenance back into the company’s warped budget for the time being. Proceed with caution to avoid any increases in repair frequency and operating costs, and reinstate your regular schedule as soon as business picks back up
  • Repairs – If you have vehicles that need cosmetic or non-critical repairs, you can postpone those expenses to help reduce immediate budget constraints. Additionally, reducing repair approval limits can slow down the occurrence of skyrocketing repairs by giving you the opportunity to consider your options.

Don’t forget that even idle vehicles are prone to wear and tear. Check parked vehicles weekly to ensure they’re ready for launch when the time comes.

Help for both scenarios

This doesn’t have to feel like you’re in that scene from Apollo 13 where the Houston crew dumps the box of gear on the table to invent a way to “put a round peg in a square hole.” Whatever your operating situation is right now, ARI can help.

We can help you determine if it is wise to temporarily modify your PM schedules or potentially enforce a PM holiday. We can also guide you through short-term changes to your existing approval limits and approved repair types. These short-term preventive maintenance and repairs strategies may not fly you all the way to the moon, but they can help you feel less like you’re living on Jupitar or Mars.

Feel free to contact us for in-depth advice on managing your maintenance and repair strategies. You can also subscribe to The Morning Brake, for once- or twice-weekly news from the fleet and automotive industries and more.