Strategies to Improve Your Maintenance Program
Heavy equipment is more complex than ever before. This creates a set of challenges for those tasked with maintaining them. In an economic environment that continues to prioritize the reduction of operating costs without compromising on safety or revenue opportunities, securing a robust, centralized fleet management system has never been more crucial.
Using fleet management software to manage a maintenance department can be an incredibly powerful tool. If properly implemented, it can improve efficiency and productivity of service personnel and transform your service program from being reactive to proactive.
During our 2021 Interface Conference this past fall, we had the pleasure of listening to Kyle Snearly, Director of Client Implementations at Fleet Cost & Care, David Thornton, a Senior Technical Product Manager, and Charlie Jeffcoat, Director of Fleet Maintenance at TNT Crane & Rigging speak on best practices to ensure an efficient maintenance program and a safe, rent-ready fleet.
Below are five key takeaways from the session:
Ensure Data Accuracy and Transparency
Transparency within the service department is key and incomplete data can lead to an inaccurate diagnosis of an equipment problem. Fleet management software can capture and centralize a multitude of unit-level data that can be shared between teams in the field and in the office in real-time.
- Centralize all unit-level data points and service records to reduce communication gaps
- Reduce human error and improve data accuracy by inputting maintenance information only once
- Communicate deficiencies immediately and electronically with a fleet management app that enables service managers to plan ahead for service activities and informs dispatchers of potential scheduling issues related to unit downtime
Organize Preventative Maintenance Activities
It’s not easy to balance a laundry list of preventative maintenance activities, retain bold operations, and keep the equipment available to generate revenue. Maintenance managers need to plan to ensure equipment is ready to work. Utilizing a centralized fleet management system will improve the efficiency of your service department and reduce unit downtime.
- Establish a company-wide policy for tracking service and preventative maintenance
- Establish service intervals for preventative maintenance activities at the unit-level
- Prioritize units for service based on operational needs
- Streamline the parts ordering process
- Integrate a GPS tool to reduce the potential of human error and capture more accurate hours and mileage
- Use a fleet management app so field employees can report deficiencies and defects back to your corporate office, service center, or yard in real-time
- Communicate proactively and effectively between multi-branch operations
“We have a preventative maintenance program which allows our guys to start seeing problems before they become a problem. Brakes getting low, air leaks, oil leaks, etc. It can get very costly when you have to fix your equipment in front of your customers, scramble to get parts, involve so many team members, and try to get the crane back up and going. Even worse a customer could demand to take the crane off the clock until it is fixed. The more we got them involved in that side of it the better things got. We hold people accountable and own the safety of all of our equipment,” stated Charlie Jeffcoat, TNT Crane & Rigging.
Fleet management software ensures a digital trail is created any time a deficiency is reported. Take useful action with automated efficiency and help the service department by controlling all deficiencies reported from the field with a fleet management software. Maintenance management should verify that all deficiencies affecting the safe operation of a crane are corrected prior to issuing a certification to the crane owner or operator.
- Use a fleet management app to give power to the maintenance department to open a work order as soon as a deficiency is reported
- Find a balance and reasonable point of checkpoints to not overwhelm the guys in the field with data entry
David Thornton with Fleet Cost & Care explained that “processes are key when it comes to using a fleet management software. If your maintenance department does not have a routine or a rhythm for managing that screen, you will get overwhelmed. You may have duplicate reports of deficiencies that may not be a deficiency from the maintenance perspective but more of an inconvenience to the operator. Manage the screen on a routine basis, mark your needed repairs, and address the history of all the reported deficiencies”.
David went on to add, “We hope in the future we can pull this data from an ELD provider to build a better bridge for maintenance planning.”
Understand Your Labor Costs
Do you know your productive vs. non-productive labor ratio? Fleet management software enables you to better understand how employees’ hours are allocated, and from a high-level, assess departmental efficiency.
- Evaluate the efficiency of each team by measuring productive and non-productive labor
- Inputting labor information correctly will reveal the actual cost of that unit overtime and can influence future fleet-related decisions
- Establish goals and thresholds for non-productive and productive labor for your teams to keep them focused and reduce costs
When it comes to maintenance operating costs, fleets look for any opportunity to reduce spending and improve efficiencies. One option that could be improved for many fleets is the management of warranty claims.
- Add potential warranties and flag down certain units in a fleet management app
- Set system alerts in a work order for potential warranties
“We make all of our equipment the responsibility of management so we can make sure it’s safe for our communities, our employees, and our families. Running up and down the road to do the job and ensure everybody comes home safely is our top priority.” Charlie Jeffcoat, TNT Crane & Rigging
Improving your maintenance program not only keeps your equipment up and running, but it is also a contributing part of cultivating a safety culture within your operation. Using fleet management software to refine and organize your maintenance program positions your company and your equipment to be safe, reliable, and rental ready for its next job.
To learn more about how fleet management software from Fleet Cost & Care can transform your maintenance department CONTACT one of our industry experts.