A recent Fleet Maintenance Professionals discussion on LinkedIn asked: Which PM activities account for most of your cost savings and efficiency improvements? Which preventative maintenance actions derive the most benefit and should be at the top of fleet’s list?
Turns out, a big influence on preventative maintenance effectiveness is driver training. Drivers who understand the importance of vehicle maintenance and care often have the best fleet performance and lowest costs.
“The driver is not just the person that delivers the consignment, but is the first, and I feel, the most important part of the maintenance system. By carrying out daily vehicle checks, the driver can report defects at an early stage allowing defect rectification to be assessed and planned to reduce vehicle downtime, therefore reducing vehicle spend, ensuring vehicle safety, and improving business efficiencies.”
How do you get your drivers to care? You have to create a culture where preventative maintenance is important. Drivers must feel comfortable bringing up issues they’ve noticed, and confident that the company will actually fix vehicle problems.
Having a systematic process for drivers to submit issues and follow up on the status is key. Fleets that provide a maintenance feedback loop reap huge benefits down the road - in cost reduction, efficiency improvements and employee satisfaction.
Here are some ideas for getting a basic vehicle maintenance feedback loop in place:
- Send an email to all drivers simply asking them how their vehicles are doing.
- Review fleet maintenance costs to find the drivers responsible for the best & worst performing vehicles. Try to understand the difference between them to identify some action items specific to your fleet.
- If your fleet is not already required to perform daily inspections, develop a simple inspection process and get your drivers on board with it. Create a sheet with the basic inspection tasks and ask them to fill it out at least once a week. This is also a great way to get consistent odometer readings.