In many shops, the responsibility for fleet management falls to the operations manager, lead dispatcher, lead mechanic, or someone else with multiple responsibilities. And because of these multiple responsibilities, fleet maintenance management is often limited to doing the bare minimum to maintain DOT compliance.
Even amoung those organizations using enterprise software system for their business with built-in fleet and equipment maintenance software included, a surprising number choose not to use. In many cases, the included fleet and equipment maintenance software is too complicated and doesn’t accommodate their needs. Instead, they rely on a combination of handwritten forms, equipment maintenance log books, and/or a fleet maintenance spreadsheet because it is perceived as an easy method to manage their equipment maintenance log.
A fleet maintenance spreadsheet may be cheap, but it is far from an effective fleet management tool. In fact, most fleet managers, especially in organizations with small to medium sized fleets, use their memory and gut feeling to manage many aspects of fleet maintenance management.
Certainly, keeping fleet maintenance management as simple as possible is the desirable goal, but there are factors that need to be considered as part of a comprehensive maintenance management strategy. Many of these extend well beyond the capabilities of a spreadsheet.
Search and Inquiry
According to benchmark studies, a single maintenance task will consume, on average, approximately 3 minutes of administration time just for search and inquiry. Searching through filing cabinets, accounting software, and spreadsheets not only takes time but is prone to error.
An easy to use and intuitive tool for maintenance search and inquiry can save a lot of time and help prevent bad fleet decisions.
The use of repair codes on work orders saves work order creation time and helps in consistency. This consistency has multiple benefits:
More accurate search, inquiry, and reporting
Easier identification of duplicate maintenance.
Easier maintenance comparisons between equipment of the same class.
Help in the evaluation of mechanic and technician performance.
Parts Warranty Tracking
Approximately 50 cents per $100 spent on parts is lost due to the lack of an effective tool to manage parts warranty tracking. These costs add up across your fleet and can eat away at your bottom line.
Parts warranty tracking is extremely difficult using a fleet maintenance spreadsheet and without fleet maintenance software. However, not all fleet maintenance software providers have this built-in feature.
Maintenance Planning and Scheduling
Maintenance planning and scheduling can help maximize repair shop time, minimize equipment down time, and gain control of preventative maintenance and your equipment maintenance log, instead of leaving it in the hands of your drivers and operators.
Again, maintenance planning and scheduling without fleet software is a challenge and not all fleet software providers have easy to use features and tools for preventative maintenance scheduling.
Ad-hoc maintenance reminders
Minor incidental maintenance and repairs that do not warrant the equipment to be taken out of service may have no significant impact on the equipment’s performance and function. However, to protect your investment in your fleet, these repairs need to be completed at next service.
Often these minor maintenance items are a major source of discontent with operators who often take great pride in the state of their equipment.
Without a management or communication tool to manage these maintenance items, remembering to complete them is often left to memory and sticky notes.
Without a fleet management tool, maintenance reporting is often restricted to a limited amount of information on a spreadsheet and your accounting package. However, these fail to capture key details that can assist in decision making about your equipment maintenance repairs. Reports on part and labour usage, unclaimed core charges, and maintenance planning and scheduling can be a big help in managing your fleet.
A good maintenance reporting tool can help you diagnose problems before they become expensive repairs. It can also help in the evaluation of equipment and technician performance, or simply determining what parts you should be stocking in your shop.
Fleet Harmony Cloud Fleet Management includes fleet accident management and IFTA software. Everything you need to effective manage your equipment maintenance log is included in an affordable monthly payment that includes usage and support. Contact us for more information.
Fleet Harmony has been a Sage Development Partner since 2006. All Fleet Harmony software are Sage Simply Accounting compatible and enables you to generate Sage compatible invoices.