Posted in Fleet Maintenance on June 6, 2016

Once your fleet reaches a certain size, practicality demands that your assets be deployed across multiple locations. Although it’s possible to centralize fleet maintenance management – especially if it’s coordinated through a Service Relationship Management (SRM) platform – your trucks, as well as the shops that service them, may be widely dispersed.

With the average private fleet operating at 15 different locations,“trying to maintain consistency of service throughout that network is a key challenge,” notes Tom Moore, senior vice president at the National Private Truck Council.

That challenge is well worth tackling, though, as creating and maintaining clear rules of engagement for managing your fleet maintenance service schedule will keep you and your service providers on the same page. Clarifying the lines of communication helps avoid unnecessary delays, whether the event involves an OEM service provider or just a remote location of your fleet. An SRM platform provides the means to create and maintain these essential lines of communication.

Here are three tips for ensuring consistent fleet preventive maintenance (PM) processes:

#1) Make Information Readily Available to All

Fleet service event management is especially challenging for fleets with multiple locations. When shops and technicians can’t easily access in-context information, it’s almost impossible to implement consistent service procedures.

For example, one location might complete a warranty repair, but if that information isn’t shared, another location may replace the component a second time without realizing this is a recurring problem. In this case, the second location won’t investigate for underlying issues or claim the warranty on the replacement component. While OEM warranty information usually is obvious, coverage on replacement parts is not always as evident.

This can have a significant effect on your bottom line, with costs arising not only from the downtime and parts costs resulting from additional problems with the component, but from the failure to take full financial advantage of the warranty. An SRM-based process ensures that these gaps in communication don’t occur.

#2) Clarify and Automate Approval Channels

When a fleet is operating out of multiple locations, the fleet manager can’t be onsite everywhere. With SRM, though, the manager can get alerts about pending approvals via email or text, so there’s no waiting to get back to the office. Make sure the electronic estimates are reviewed and approved to ensure transparency to and ensure integrity when the invoice arrives.

In addition, approvals can be set flexibly – for instance, according to type of asset or type of repair – so you don’t have to rely on one person to give a go-ahead. You can also set escalation thresholds for various kinds of service events, so that approval is automatic unless the estimate exceeds a certain amount, for example. These settings help to further streamline the approval process.

#3) Make Fleet Preventive Maintenance a Priority

Haphazardly enforced maintenance processes make it impossible to maintain preventive maintenance (PM) currency, which is so important since a breakdown is always less convenient and often more expensive than a scheduled service event.

Access to in-context information across the entire service supply chain via the SRM platform enhances communication and collaboration. When the relevant information is standardized with VMRS codes and accessible by all involved parties, it’s easier to maintain a fleet maintenance service schedule that keeps your assets running smoothly.

Fleet Managers, Join the Conversation

Is your fleet spread over multiple locations? What challenges have you encountered in overseeing a dispersed fleet? How have you met those challenges? Please share your thoughts by posting a comment below.

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