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Alex Borg

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Jun 14, 2024

5 minute read

Fleet Management Blog

3 Strategies to Resolve Issues Faster (and Reduce Downtime)

In the same way that everyone would like their trips to the dentist to be as quick as possible, every fleet wishes they could resolve their vehicle issues faster. After all, the sooner a vehicle is restored to top shape, the sooner it can get back to putting in work for your organization.

3 Strategies to Resolve Issues Faster (and Reduce Downtime)

When compiling data for our 2024 Fleet Benchmarking Report, we discovered that, on average, Fleetio customers resolve vehicle issues in only 1.68 days. That’s a testament to the agility of their maintenance teams and the processes they have in place for reporting vehicle defects promptly.

So what can you do to bring your fleet efficiency more in line with the industry average? Here are three actionable steps you can take:

1. Eliminate information bottlenecks in your workflows

In many ways, fleet issue management workflows are a lot like a relay race where fleet personnel are the runners and information is the baton.

  • Drivers kick the race off by spotting an issue and reporting it.
  • Fleet managers pick things up from there by creating a work order for that issue and assigning it to a technician.
  • And finally, technicians cross the finish line by completing the work order and marking the issue as resolved.

Essentially, the faster information travels between these roles, the more quickly your organization can remedy any problems your vehicles experience. And while efficiently passing along issue and work order details might sound easy on paper, it can be surprisingly difficult in practice, especially for fleets that rely on phone calls, emails, physical documents or spreadsheets to manage their maintenance.

For example, at many organizations, it’s not uncommon for paper inspection forms detailing vehicle issues to languish for hours while fleet managers are away from their desk or focused on other responsibilities. Similar delays occur when drivers spot vehicle problems in the field but have to wait until they return to base before they can officially document them. Over time, these kinds of holdups cause issues to persist significantly longer than they would if issues were reported and administered with the urgency they demand.

By unifying your fleet operations with mobile-optimized maintenance management software, you can streamline your vehicle issue workflow and eliminate the kinds of operational bottlenecks that delay issue resolutions. The ability to submit vehicle issues from their phones allows drivers to report problems as soon as they spot them from anywhere. Meanwhile, mobility enables fleet managers to convert issues into work orders and delegate technician assignments whether they’re at their desk, in the service bay or out to lunch. This instant exchange of information from anywhere enables fleets to immediately respond to issues and, ultimately, resolve them faster.

For Fleetio Users

To ensure that vehicle issues don’t go unnoticed, Fleetio sends push and email notifications to personnel as needed. Fleet managers are alerted when they need to approve work orders and technicians are pinged upon being assigned tasks.

Find out how your fleet stacks up

Average vehicle issue resolution time is just the tip of the iceberg. Our 2024 Fleet Benchmarking Report contains a wealth of insights you can use to compare your performance metrics against the wider fleet industry.

Download the report for free

2. Rightsize your service personnel

As fleets grow, so do their maintenance needs. And because there’s only so much even the most productive technicians can accomplish, it behooves organizations to regularly assess if their technician headcount is keeping up with their service workload.

To do this, make a point of periodically checking in with your technicians to gauge their thoughts on the volume of work being assigned to them. Anonymous surveys are a great way to collect these opinions in a low-pressure way.

Additionally, make sure to investigate any irregularities that your issue and work order-related reports surface. For example, if you find that work orders are frequently taking longer to complete than anticipated, find out if your time estimates need to be adjusted or if something is causing delays in your shop. If you determine that feelings of being overwhelmed are causing productivity to dip, it might be time to bring on additional technicians.

For Fleetio Users

Enabling the “Time to Resolve” dashboard widget makes it easy to track how quickly your vehicle issues are being resolved. From the first screen you see upon logging in to Fleetio, you can instantly view your average issue resolution time over the last six months.

3. Focus on preventive maintenance

Up to now, we’ve focused on accelerating and optimizing your organization’s responses to vehicle issues, but it’s important to note that fleets can also reduce their resolution times from a different angle. By reducing the severity and frequency of the issues their assets experience, technicians can clear the unplanned work orders that remain with far greater expediency. And by scheduling preventive maintenance (PM), fleets can achieve that effect.

Think about how long it takes to perform a single oil change as opposed to how many hours a technician would need to restore an engine that’s prone to overheating, filled with sludge and partially corroded. In the long run, not only is PM more affordable than running your vehicles until they fail, PM also consumes far less of your mechanics’ time and sidelines your assets for significantly shorter periods of time.

Are you at risk of preventable breakdowns?

Try out our free breakdown risk calculator to see if your fleet maintenance processes are putting you at unnecessary risk of costly vehicle breakdowns.

See your risk level

For fleets looking to get started with preventive maintenance, creating PM schedules is a great first step. Vehicle manufacturers publish recommendations on when to perform different service actions (based on mileage and time since purchase), so we advise following their suggestions before making adjustments as needed to best suit how your vehicles are used.

Looking to resolve vehicle issues faster?

By enabling fleet personnel to collaborate more effectively, Fleetio helps organizations resolve vehicle and equipment issues quickly. Powerful reports help fleets identify the causes of issues and prevent them accordingly.

Learn more

About the Author

Alex Borg

Alex Borg

Content Marketing Specialist

Alex Borg is a Content Marketing Specialist at Fleetio. Beyond writing, his interests include going to concerts, playing guitar, and hanging out at the beach.

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