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5 Preventive Maintenance Best Practices For Your Fleet

The saying, ‘prevention is better than cure’ is never truer when it comes to fleet maintenance. We share five preventive maintenance best practices to help keep your vehicles operational.

UK, by Ross Jephson, Chevin Fleet Solutions

For cost control, long term asset reliability and safety, successful fleets can maintain vehicles by implementing and managing preventive maintenance (PM) programs. Fleet maintenance is important to minimize the possibility of unscheduled issues leading to higher costs for breakdowns and repairs.

True PM is proactive, and, increasingly, it’s becoming predictive too. Proactive vehicle servicing consists of inspections, preventive maintenance, scheduled repairs and service. Reactive maintenance tends to be mainly due to breakdowns. These can be costly to rectify, detrimental to your budgets and are often caused by the lack of a preventive maintenance approach.

How can you implement the proactive preventive maintenance approach into your fleet?

Scheduling for success

Never wait for a failure to bring vehicles into the shop. A PM program should consist of scheduled items based on mileage or other measures such as engine hours or fuel use.

PM services are commonly designed to increase in detail and complexity as vehicles age or acquire higher than expected mileage. This can also have an affect on the level of service and amount of time taken to complete work. Unscheduled downtime due to asset failure can be costly, not just in terms of additional budget but also time and reputation. There’s nothing worse than having to cancel a customer delivery or appointment due to a lack of vehicles. Having an effective fleet maintenance program in place is essential in preventing problems before they arise.

Follow up on inspections

Any preventive maintenance program is driven by information found during regular inspections. These can include mandated pre-use inspections by drivers that allow a prescribed list and are increasingly reported electronically on Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIRs).

Regardless of the practices implemented in your fleet, inspections are key to finding and fixing areas in need of attention before they cause a breakdown or other costlier, unscheduled repair.

Help technicians improve PM

Your technicians are an investment and an asset but they will require training to be able to effectively and efficiently perform PM services. For your PM program to be successful, technicians must begin their training with an understanding of the importance of performing through preventive maintenance. Routine refresher training is worthwhile, as to is making sure that training addresses new programs, shop tools, new technologies, vehicles and other assets in your operation.

PM is only as good as the person performing it. Technician’s must proactively service each vehicle to reduce breakdowns and repairs, with shortcuts never being taken.

Optimize parts inventories

Optimizing your shop’s parts management and inventory programs supports cost-effective and efficient preventive maintenance for your fleet. There is a need to ensure adequate stock of commonly used maintenance parts such as fluids, filters, belts and hoses. It’s good best practice to organize parts based on systems and components to help streamline PM.

Parts room housekeeping is a valuable best practice for visibility of inventory during routine PM. Training your parts room personnel so they know your operation’s PM programs will help them to identify fast moving parts that need to be ordered more frequently. Alternatively, using fleet management software can carry out this process autonomously, ensuring that the correct inventory is always available.

Use data to enhance PM effectiveness

Whether PM work is done in-house or outsourced to service providers, using data to track the effectiveness of your preventive maintenance programs can help ensure success. Such information provides the insight needed to manage your maintenance operation and make adjustments to PM frequency or task lists to best suit your fleet’s changing requirements.

Advanced fleet maintenance software has these capabilities in addition to many more that help directly to improve the effectiveness of PM programs. Such systems readily monitor mileages and other parameters to plan and track the servicing needs of vehicles. The capabilities also include being able to provide automated notification of servicing schedules to drivers.

Parts management tools in fleet maintenance software can drive up PM efficiency. They achieve this by ensuring that inventory control ensures that that parts are on hand for maintenance tasks when needed. Increasingly, software integration with bar code based inventory systems are being used to automatically track parts and generate re-orders when needed. Many parts suppliers can integrate their ordering systems with fleet management software which streamlines the ordering process.

The real value of preventative maintenance best practices

Visibility into preventive maintenance activity is valuable for keeping overall costs down and fleet reliability up. Effective PM can make a big difference to your bottom line since the cost for routine maintenance tends to be significantly less than those for unscheduled downtime.

By planning, scheduling and performing the appropriate preventive maintenance at the right time, fleets and their customers can benefit from a more cost-effective, reliable and safer operation.

Chevin established in 1990 in a small town in the heart of the UK is a leading global provider of dedicated fleet management software, with solutions for organizations of every shape and size…

4 Ways Fleet Tracking Systems Can Improve Supply Chain Management

The success of any logistics company depends largely on the efficiency of its supply chain operations. But the process of producing an efficient supply chain is utterly complicated.

California, by BOSS Magazine

One proven method of improving the supply chain’s efficiency is to increase the visibility of the fleets and the goods through the use of fleet tracking software. We’ll look into the various ways fleet tracking systems can improve supply chain management. Let’s dive in!

Enhancing Operational Efficiency

Fleet tracking systems are usually heavily automated. These systems don’t require constant monitoring as they will automatically send notifications when something needs your attention. This setup eliminates the need to hire additional staff for monitoring operations - thus eliminating errors that result from the human element.

Fleet tracking systems also improve efficiency for drivers and dispatch managers. With a fleet tracker, fleet managers can see vehicle location in real-time. With this info, your team can plan detours to avoid accidents or plan new routes to bypass traffic without wasting any time. Your drivers will also see information about their routes, such as accidents and traffic data, in real-time. This way, tracking systems enhance their driving experience.

Enabling Quick Decision Making

With real-time tracking options, fleet managers can avoid time-consuming paperwork and make timely decisions. They can instantly inquire into any technical difficulties drivers may be experiencing and receive prompt responses.

This information allows fleet managers to make timely decisions regarding maintenance, scheduled delivery, and pickups. Additionally, most vehicle tracking devices store data on each vehicle. Fleet managers and business owners can use these analytics to determine which vehicle performed the best, what factors contributed to delay, and what can be done to improve service delivery.

Improving Transparency

Analytics data from fleet tracking devices help to improve transparency across the supply chain processes. This data is critical for the efficient management of your business.

But how can data help to increase transparency in the supply chain?

Telematics data gives you the ultimate visibility into every supply chain operation and assets. You’ll know exactly where your drivers are, what they are doing, where shipments are located, and the outcome of every process and system. This information or part of it can be shared with your customers or any other relevant party. When shared with your clients, it leads to customer satisfaction.

Improving Cost Efficiency

One of the top challenges logistics companies face is keeping costs under control. For large organizations whose supply chain involves more than one hundred delivery vehicles, the costs of running these vehicles can rise significantly and affect the company’s bottom line. However, with a fleet tracking device, it’s possible to reduce operational costs significantly.

Fleet tracking devices help to keep costs in check through: route optimization, real-time fault code alerts, predictive maintenance or workforce cost reduction.

Anyone who has run a transportation or logistics business knows that fuel costs are a significant contributor to a company’s expenses. By optimizing the routes and identifying cost-efficient vehicles using fleet tracker analytics, logistics companies can save big on fuel costs.

The Bottom Line

Fleet tracking devices are the lifeblood of any logistics business. Besides improving efficiency in the supply chain management, they also increase driver safety, reduce vehicle theft, and ensure customers are happy with the delivery processes.

So, if you’re in the logistics industry and aren’t leveraging the power of fleet trackers, you’re slowly steering your business down the path to failure.

BOSS Magazine (a Digital Ink brand) is the perfect fit for content and marketing needs: trending industry news, extensive features on best-practice companies, and the information you need to lead.

How can ISO 55000 help during a pandemic?

We all agree that Strategic Asset Management is a good thing, and that ISO 55000 is a great framework to build an asset management system around. Have you given much thought to how Asset management and ISO 55000 can help us through a pandemic?

USA, by William Higinbotham, EA Technology LLC

I don't need to remind anyone of what we went through last year and how a massive number of critical decisions that had to be made correctly in a short period of time.

ISO 55001 consists of 7 main sections with 27 total topics of focus. Nearly all of these can help you prepare for and respond to the next crisis.

Section 4 – Context of the organization

While not obvious, this section is highly relevant. The first sentence “The organization shall determine external and internal issues that are relevant to its purpose…” If you don’t have a clear understanding of your purpose and issues relevant to it, how can you react to any crisis?

Section 5 – Leadership

Good leadership in any crisis may seem like a given and adherence to a standard won’t change that. However, the standard call for formalized leadership commitment to things like “Promoting cross functional collaboration” and “Promoting continual improvement”. This builds a culture of top down support that is crucial in a crisis. Section 5 goes on to make sure top management sets policies and establishes an organization that can manage the assets in normal times. This provides unforeseen benefits in times of stress as the organization’s purpose (context) is clearly defined. A well-structured and conceived asset management system will provide increased proactive leadership means in addressing a major disruptive event, which requires a reactive response. It’s already well-rehearsed.

Section 6 – Planning

This section seems a bit obvious. The more you plan, the better you are but no plan survives very long in a crisis. However, what this section puts in place are the rigorous processes for planning that can be used in any situation. It requires you document what will be done, who will be responsible, what resources are required, when it will be completed, etc. All of this sounds a lot like the answers to the questions above. Having all this information in a formal, consistent format will go a long way. This section also talks about risk and planning to reduce risk. While the pandemic may not have been expected, having already planned for the risk of completing a project late would sure come in handy when deciding what can be deferred.

Section 7 – Support

This is a huge section in the ISO document with many subsections. Having a plan developed by a handful of very smart people is good, but unless it is resourced and supported well, its just another binder on a shelf.

Section 9 – Performance Evaluation

This is the section that makes sure all the activities talked about in the previous sections are done well, evaluated for effectiveness, and reviewed by management. Without this, entropy will cause even a perfect system to degrade to uselessness.

Section 10 – Improvement

Section 10 requires the information gained during the execution of the processes defined in Section 9 to be used to improve the system. There is always room for systems to be improved. If you went through March and April 2020 and can objectively say there is nothing you could do better, then congratulations. For the rest of us, having a formalized system to manage improvements and foster continual improvements will make our response to every crisis that much better.

In summary, nothing could have prepared us for Covid-19 and hopefully we’ll never have to deal with something like this again. Unfortunately, we know that storms will hit, equipment will fail, blackouts will occur, severe economic conditions will impact funding, and illness will happen. In addition to all the other good reasons to implement an ISO 55000 compliant asset management system, having a rigorous system in place that helps your organization manage its assets effectively is really helpful; however, in addition to this, the system also breeds good culture such as having regular cross-functional meetings plus evaluating and escalating risks and opportunities as normal practice. These changes in culture end up making you better prepared during unforeseen events and allow for contingency measures to be put in place more easily as information, communications and awareness are well understood and practiced processes.

William G. Higinbotham has been president of EA Technology LLC since 2013. His responsibilities involve general management of the company, which is responsible for EA Technology activities in North and South America. William is also responsible for sales, service, support and training on partial discharge instruments and condition-based asset management. He is an author or co-author of several industry papers.

Developing Organization Resilience through Asset Management to Respond to COVID-19

The world was not prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic. Infrastructure (transportation, utilities, government, education and healthcare facilities) have had to rapidly move to new ways of management and delivery of essential functions to continue to provide critical services.

USA, by Dr. Christian Roberts, FIAM

Natural disasters impact assets, recovery is restoring asset capabilities. Pandemics impact the organizations asset management capabilities - its people. Recovery is restoring management control and organizational capability.

In many instances, existing Continuity of Operations Plans (COOPs or Business Continuity Plans) have failed to provide the direction and guidance necessary to respond to the pandemic. The reason? Most critical infrastructure COOPs focus on response, recovery and restoring service following natural disasters. In the case of natural disasters, the predominant impact is on the organization’s assets. Floods, fire, earthquakes and terrorism typically impact an organizations ability to continue to provide services due to fleet, facilities, infrastructure or systems being disabled. This is not the case with pandemics. In these instances, it is the organization’s asset management capability - predominantly its people - that is significantly impacted. Without clear management controls, processes and policies in place, the organization lacks resilience if it is impacted through temporary loss of staff, or worse if the staff loss is permanent. Response, recovery and restoring business capabilities quickly, as well as introducing changes to how we operate and maintain assets requires an established framework that aligns asset intervention and management actions to the (revised) service objectives and goals of the organization.

Reviewing Current Organizational Resilience

To better prepare organizations for future events NOW is a good time to undertake a continuity capability review. A continuity capability review will identify opportunities for improving operational resilience, identify gaps in current planned responses and support the development of Continuity of Operations Plans.

To improve resilience, organizations should fully consider the overall business functions including managing asset activities (maintenance and capital delivery) and asset management activities (strategic planning and marketing, communications, finance and legal). A review should fully consider the overall business functions of the organization. In a mature asset management organization this should consider not just the managing assets activities (maintenance and capital program management and delivery), but also the asset management activities related to strategic planning, service planning and marketing, corporate affairs/communications, finance and legal. The later is particularly important as without a program of communications, service planning and marketing customers are unlikely to return as quickly as they left. Similarly, given the current economic downtown because of the pandemic its vital to consider the financial situation and how to continue to both manage and take advantage of opportunities for government stimulus.

The pandemic outbreak provides an opportunity for organizations to identify actions that have gone well and observe current gaps. The author recommends documenting the emergency actions that have been put into play during the current COVID-19 pandemic with a view of reviewing their effectiveness after services have been restored.

Dr. Christian Roberts, FIAM. Chris is the Senior Vice President of Asset Management and Business Advisory at WSP USA Inc., a Board Director of the Institute of Asset Management and Chapter Chair of IAM USA. With over 27 years’ experience of international experience providing leadership to improve the delivery of customer services.

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