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Tony Summerville

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Nov 7, 2018

3 minute read

Fleet Management Blog

Automating Outsourced Fleet Maintenance Operations

Most small and medium-size fleets outsource maintenance work, and many large fleets use a mix of both in-house technicians and outside vendors. Typically, it costs less to outsource maintenance for cars and light/medium-duty trucks and vans (especially for preventive maintenance tasks like oil changes), but scheduling, approving and recording outsourced maintenance and repairs are some of the most manual processes in fleet management.

The administrative burden of maintenance tracking

It’s imperative to have a complete maintenance history for every asset in your fleet so you can understand maintenance costs, identify problematic vehicles, reduce liability and rework and recoup warranty rebates. But historically, fleet management systems have required manually inputting all maintenance records in order to receive the benefits of a maintenance tracking system.

Other areas of fleet management have data sources that can be automatically integrated into a fleet management system -- fuel data from fuel cards, GPS/odometer data from telematics, etc. But outsourced maintenance is still heavily paper-based and very difficult to automate.

Our vision of a better way

At Fleetio, we’ve long believed we could radically improve fleet operations by reducing maintenance costs and administrative overhead for all fleets. It’s a hard problem, but an important one as maintenance costs continue to rise.

Our primary objectives:

  1. Automatically capture all completed repair order data (including line items, parts used, etc.) from third-party systems, reducing the administrative burden of manual data entry and expediting data availability for maintenance reports (it sometimes takes weeks for people to manually enter outsourced maintenance data into a fleet management system).

  2. Enable electronic approvals of maintenance, which gets rid of the phone tag between shops and fleet managers, speeds up approvals and ultimately reduces vehicle downtime. People should be able to quickly review repair quotes and approve or reject them from a mobile device.

  3. Leverage our large customer base to negotiate better discounts for all Fleetio customers at national and regional maintenance providers. Our economies of scale and reduced overhead make significant discounts possible, even for small fleets of 10 to 20 vehicles.

We’ve made incredible progress on our vision. Fleetio customers can now use our growing Maintenance Provider Network, which currently includes over 7,000 national maintenance provider locations and more than 30,000 independent shops - with more shops being added every day.

Drivers simply find a nearby in-network shop using our mobile app. The shop creates a repair order and submits it for approval. Each fleet can have auto-approval rules and define specific people to manually approve repairs that don’t qualify for automatic approval. Once approved, the work is completed and the driver is quickly back on the road. Payment is automatically handled and the maintenance data automatically flows into Fleetio.

A new standard for fleet maintenance operations

In working toward our vision, we’ve created a completely new way for fleets to manage their outsourced maintenance. The ability to automatically collect maintenance data from shops was once something only available to larger fleets who chose to outsource their fleet operations (giving up much control) to third-party Fleet Management Companies (FMCs) like Element, ARI and Donlen.

With Fleetio’s Outsourced Maintenance Automation, we’ve built technology that democratizes the ability to seamlessly scale maintenance operations by eliminating administrative overhead, unlocking significant discounts and increasing fleet data visibility. Our partnerships with great companies like Bridgestone, Monro and Pep Boys bring exclusive discounts to Fleetio customers that create an immediate ROI based on maintenance savings.

We’re excited about what we’ve accomplished so far to create a new standard for how fleets manage maintenance operations, but there’s plenty more to come as we continue to focus on rethinking and combating the challenges of fleet management that have plagued the industry for decades.

About the Author

Tony Summerville

Tony Summerville


Tony is the CEO and founder of Fleetio and a passionate thought leader who lives at the intersection of transportation and technology. As a competitive swimmer growing up, he was once ranked 5th in the nation for his age group.

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