Embrace Resilience Through Maintenance

The current vehicle shortage and COVID-19 related shipping issues have forced many of us to get creative with our fleet management strategies.

While short supply is an industry trend of the moment, some things never go out of style.

Preventative maintenance is more important than it ever has been, and can mean the difference between your fully-functioning fleet and a spike in operating costs as well as increased downtime and delays. But how do the delays and shortages impact your maintenance moving forward?

Between an increase in drivers returning to the roads as COVID-19 restrictions lift and the global microchip and vehicle shortages, the most effective course of action is to review your current maintenance policy and develop a new plan for tomorrow. There are new considerations that haven’t come into play in the last few years, and remaining proactive ahead of these points can lead to a fleet that drives longer and remains healthier.

How can you maintain a fleet with longevity in mind?

Take a look at some of the maintenance pieces of your fleet to understand how they’ll need to stretch with your fleet schedule. You may have reduced maintenance as your drive time went down during the pandemic, but getting it back up and running is the quickest course to vehicle success. You also want to study driving schedules pre- and post-pandemic, to understand how you should adjust your maintenance parameters to build a fleet that’s balanced and steady.

You should also consider how driver behavior impacts vehicle health. Study your telematics to understand how choices on the road are adding up in the shop, including:

  • Harsh braking
  • Speeding and rapid acceleration
  • Swerving and sharp turning

This gives you the room to make decisions for the future like training or driver incentivization, both of which can lead to better driving and healthier vehicles.

How has your replacement strategy changed in the last two years?

The pandemic impacted costs across the globe, and it’s natural to still be feeling the pinch of tighter purse strings.

The first step is a wellness inspection of the vehicles that sat idle for extended periods during the pandemic. This should be done before they get back on the road– to avoid any unexpected surprises while driving– and could require additional maintenance to ensure a safe fleet.

That could also mean revising your replacement strategy, so you’re not faced with inflated vehicle purchases in a competitive market. It’s not ideal, but you have the potential to find new life in your old vehicles. Working with ARI, you can study the data in your fleet to determine:

  • What vehicles are strongest
  • Which vehicles can operate past original expectations, and what maintenance needs to be done to achieve that
  • Which vehicles are more costly to operate than they’re worth

From there, you can develop a revised replacement strategy that aligns with your new preventative maintenance schedule, continuing to drive your fleet as an investment for years to come.

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