Fleet or work trucks are equipment you need to accomplish more in a shorter period of time. In short, it is a tool that can help to make you more productive and profitable. If your trucks don’t work efficiently, you won’t be able to achieve your targeted output and revenue.
To avoid losing work truck productivity or resolve the issue when it happens, your first and foremost mission would be to identify its most common causes:
1. Mechanical Issues of Old vehicles
Everything deteriorates with age including mechanical equipment like trucks and engines. Older vehicles have a higher tendency for frequent breakdowns. While there are other factors that contribute to the decline of a vehicle’s performance, these are not as significant as the wear and tear caused by years of use.
How to Combat this Problem
The best way to solve this problem is to avoid it from happening. All vehicles have a limited useful life. So instead of using them up to their last trip, you should devise a vehicle replacement strategy to retire and replace your work trucks before they become a burden to your operations.
Work with commercial truck and trailer lifecycle experts to forecast the proper time to re-market each work vehicle and prepare a budget for its replacement. One way to do it would be to determine a specific mileage as your basis for deciding to remove an aging vehicle from the fleet. This can help to prevent downtime, eliminate unnecessary operating costs, avoid missed business opportunities, and optimize productivity.
2. Unplanned Maintenance
Unforeseen downtime is one of the most damaging causes of lost work truck productivity, and it almost always happens if your fleet isn’t backed by a contingency plan. A contingency plan is a strategy designed to address abrupt repairs on the road with little or no disruption to the operation. It is made possible by providing a replacement unit if the assigned vehicle can’t be used for an extended period of time.
But a contingency plan should be a last recourse and you must not rely on it as a solution to all and every incident. It is called a contingency plan for a reason. Besides, using another vehicle as a substitute for one that’s having a breakdown doesn’t really prevent loss of productivity to the entire fleet.
How to Combat this Problem
You can reduce or prevent unscheduled vehicle downtime with proper preventive maintenance and daily vehicle safety inspection to ensure vehicle reliability. In case unforeseen breakdowns still occur, you can use mobile maintenance to address the problem.
3. Truck Over Specification / Under Specification
Both over spec’ing or under spec’ing of a work truck can badly affect its productivity, as it might not be able to perform its tasks effectively. This could result in wasted costs. An under-spec’d truck is one that lacks features or specifications required to perform its job efficiently. An over-spec’d truck on the other hand is one that carries more features than are necessary for the job. It can incur costs which could have been avoided.
Using a work truck that is not specified for the job at hand can be costly, counter-productive, and unsafe.
How to Combat this Issue
Productivity is most achievable if you have the right equipment for every job. Ensure an optimum performance of your trucks in any job by making sure that your vehicles have the right specs for the job you’re about to take. Engaging in a contract that requires more time, money and effort from your end is making you less productive and losing more.
If a valuable client has specific requirements, you may consider upfitting certain trucks specifically for that client. It will make the job easier and faster, make your truck more productive, and make your customers more satisfied.
As a fleet manager, you can optimize your fleet’s productivity with proper planning. Furthermore, developing a system that minimizes downtime and ensures the replacement of aging work trucks before they become non-productive cost centers can greatly improve productivity. You also need to try a telematics program to effectively track and manage the productivity of your fleet. Last but not the least, talk to trusted commercial truck and trailer dealers like Truck-N-Trailer, the truck dealer Oklahoma City fleet managers trust. It will be a great move to ensure the quality, specification and performance of the work vehicles you acquire.