Keeping your fleet on the road is likely one of the biggest concerns in running your business. It’s the only way your customers can get what they need on-time, every time. However, keeping up with maintenance demands is difficult. Breakdowns happen, vehicle technology is more complex, talented technicians are in high demand, and maintenance costs are rising.
We achieve 95 percent uptime on average for our Ryder- maintained fleets, so we understand both the challenges of staying on the road and how to meet them. Here are three tips to help you improve uptime with your fleet:
Do Preventive Maintenance – Staying ahead of potential problems is the most effective way to keep your fleet on the road. This means making sure you perform regular preventive maintenance at intervals that make sense for your vehicles. Proper preventive maintenance includes changing fluids and filters as prescribed by the engine manufacturer, lubricating the chassis, and the comprehensive inspections of tires, brakes, engines, exhausts and drive trains, as well as electrical, pneumatic and hydraulic systems. Cab and body interiors/exteriors should also be inspected, along with refrigeration and cargo-handling equipment (lift and rail gate, e- and f-track). Technicians should also troubleshoot any issues to prevent breakdowns. Driver comfort and convenience features should also be inspected to ensure proper operation.
As you perform preventive maintenance on your vehicles, make sure they are ready for annual U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) inspections as well to avoid any potential violations or downtime.
Schedule all of your preventive maintenance to work with your vehicle’s delivery schedule, so that you will be able to arrange for another to take its place or receive service when the vehicle is domiciled. Make sure you keep a record of all maintenance performed.
If you keep current with your preventive maintenance schedule, you’ll also find you are putting your drivers’ hours of service to best use.
Use Top Quality Technicians – Be confident in the technicians who perform your maintenance. They should be well-trained on how to use the latest technology to diagnose and repair vehicles, and have substantive knowledge of vehicles from all major original equipment manufacturers. Those who are knowledgeable and skilled will be able to complete work in a timely manner. For example, the average turnaround time for a vehicle receiving maintenance in a Ryder Shop is 1.5 days – three times faster than the industry average.
Employ Cutting-edge Technology and Tools – All of the diagnostic and repair tools used on your vehicles should be the most current available in the transportation industry. This allows for precise and effective repairs, and guarantees you have used the appropriate tools to work on today’s more complex vehicle technology.
When you use these three practices together, you’ll find your vehicles spend more time on the road and less time in the maintenance shop.
Authored by Bill Dawson
Bill Dawson is Vice President of Maintenance and Engineering at Ryder.
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