Posted by & filed under service, Trucker's Tips.

Downtime happens. Parts break, repairs are necessary and for a time (hopefully short) you have a downed vehicle. Because you are aware of this you have budgeted for the cost of downtime but researchers have found that the cost is typically a lot higher than the amount anticipated, in some cases 8 times more annually. Let’s take a close look at the costs and how to avoid them so that your fleet runs as efficiently as possible.

First, determine how much downtime costs your fleet by calculating component costs. From there you can develop a formula to apply to specific repair events.

Key things to consider are:

  • Driver’s salary, benefits, bonuses, and commission
  • Productivity costs
  • Detailed tracking of downtime

The costs of downtime

You already have a repair and maintenance budget for your fleet and adjust it year-to-year based on the age of your fleet and upcoming maintenance that you know will be needed. The obvious costs are the dollar amount for repairs that are needed to get a vehicle back on the road again as quickly as possible. Over the life of a fleet that cost can become easy to predict. But when a vehicle breaks down, the cost is actually even higher such as the cost of towing, emergency repairs and the delay it causes to deliver the product or service. But repair and maintenance are just the two obvious parts of the overall cost.

The cost of productivity

Loss of productivity is a bit more difficult to measure than the dollar amount on a repair invoice. The costs snowball from there and grow into a bigger issue for you and your fleet. Let’s look at some additional costs that happen when a vehicle is down for emergency repair.

  • Higher demand placed on other vehicles in your fleet to compensate increasing their wear and tear.
  • Without certain equipment on the road there may be a period of time when you are not able to offer your full line of services to customers.
  • If deliveries are delayed, customers calling for service cannot receive it and go elsewhere, adding to the financial hit on your company.

With this in mind, it’s easy to see how downtime can add a cost as high as $400 to $700 a day just in productivity. This is the cost of not meeting deadlines or targets because of a fleet vehicle that you are not able to use while being repaired and often not included in downtime calculations.

Be proactive

Being proactive is critical when considering the obvious and less obvious costs of downtime.

  • Have a proactive maintenance plan focusing on preventative instead of reactive maintenance. Perform routine maintenance on brakes, tires and oil changes on a set schedule.
  • Develop a plan to replace or repair components at the end of expected life instead of waiting to replace when they break.
  • Incorporate maintenance alerts through telematic systems to keep fleet managers up to date on maintenance needs.
  • Develop a plan for vehicle replacement. When the repairs go up significantly on a vehicle the repairs and downtime is no longer cost effective and may be time to get a new vehicle.

The  most efficient use of your time and money is to keep vehicles on the road. Downtime happens, things still break and go wrong even when using strong maintenance programs, but the costs will be significantly lower. Keeping vehicles on the road is the most efficient use of your time and money. When you have a plan for maintenance and downtime, and stick to it, you will notice your operating costs go down as productivity goes up.

To schedule your routine maintenance check up, give us a call at 419-221-3750.

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