As the fleet maintenance provider for some of the largest and most complex fleets in the country, we have some unique insights into how to choose a fleet maintenance provider; the process and pitfalls commonly encountered when choosing a fleet maintenance provider.
These pitfalls usually come in the form of not asking the right questions, probing into details and not requiring full transparency. When selecting maintenance vendors, we recommend fleet managers and senior executives ask the following key questions to help you make a more informed decision. And perhaps more importantly, look for answers that lead to standardization, consistency, and efficiency- these three undoubtedly bring savings.
- How does the fleet maintenance provider manage quality?Organizations must find out how third-party providers communicate expectations and ensure quality. Managers should require clearly defined quality metrics, as well as targets for key metrics such as preventive maintenance (PM) currency and out-of-service ratios.
At Amerit, we advise that out-of-service ratios should be 3-5% and PM currency at 98-100%, depending on the asset class and the application. Amerit views metrics differently to our competitors. We don’t negotiate to drive them lower; we believe metrics should be set as high as is realistically possible. It’s a philosophical difference that sets us apart and ensures the highest quality for our clients.
- Will the third party provide priority service?How will the third party ensure turnaround times are as expeditious as possible? Are they servicing other customers as well as your fleet? How is work prioritized? You should ensure that your provider can clearly articulate how your work will be prioritized. For instance, because Amerit builds service solutions that fit each client’s need, our technicians are dedicated to a single customer or a small group of customers. This practice allows us to ensure your vehicles will never wait while we are servicing other customers.
- Does the vendor demonstrate a track record of success?Past performance is the greatest indicator of future success. Whether you are selecting a vendor for one location or many, you should ask for references and case studies.
When talking with references, ask pointed questions about how the consolidation process went, were there mistakes made? How did the supplier handle communications? Crisis? Did they actually bring all the savings that they presented? What happened in year two? Do they continuously and proactively bring forward other areas for improvement and savings?
Amerit Fleet Solutions has implemented maintenance service programs on local, regional and national scale for some of the most complex, unique and hardworking fleets in America. Our reputation as the most trustworthy, professional and responsive fleet maintenance company in the USA is built on this track record of success.
- How does the maintenance provider handle the unexpected?In addition to the normal ebbs and flows of fleet activity and seasonal spikes, there will always be periods of time when things go awry, from unforeseen weather-related breakdowns to natural disasters. How can the third party flex its workforce during times of crisis to meet the fleet’s needs and ensure that the timeliness and quality are not impaired?
At Amerit we understand that periods of flex are a part of the business. With 1,800+ technicians across the country, and a specialized “A Team” for urgent situations, Amerit has purposefully built a workforce that can meet those needs, even during crises or severe storms.
- How does the maintenance provider attract, develop, and retain the best technicians in the industry?Your fleet is literally in the hands of the technicians your provider hires so you need to ensure your provider has the ability to recruit top tier talent. You need to ask: How does the third-party provider attract and retain the best technicians? Are they actively seeking and developing new channels with which to find talent? What is their track record for hiring? How many do they average?
Effective recruiting, training, and career development means organizations can hire and retain the most talented technicians. At Amerit, we invest heavily in training technicians and encourage them to obtain higher industry certifications. After training, we focus on making sure they stay with us through continual career development.
With a large team of recruiters focused on finding and hiring the exact skills that our clients need, and a Glassdoor rating that leads the industry, Amerit is the leader in hiring the talent that your fleet can rely on.
- How will detailed information on all services be captured?Fleet organizations can’t accept anything less than 100% accuracy in the data about their fleet. Without it, you don’t have complete data, and what you do have you won’t be able to use effectively to make critical decisions about your fleet.
To ensure you get the best data, trend tracking, and on-demand KPI dashboards make sure you dig into these questions: What type of technology does the third party utilize? How do they ensure 100% complete and accurate data? How do they train technicians on effectively using these systems? Will you have access to raw data and compiled KPI dashboards?
Amerit’s proprietary client data portal, FleetCommand, supports data driven decisions through custom-built maintenance data dashboards, based on your most important KPIs. With complete, consistent, real-time data our clients are able to spot trends, monitor performance, track spend and even drill down to the individual detail by RO or VIN. With FleetCommand you have complete visibility and control.
- How will the third party manage the transition and implementation?Transitioning from one vendor or maintenance process to another is a pivotal time for your fleet operations, and if not handled with care you can be exposed to disruptions that can debilitate the performance of your fleet. Making sure everything is ready to go on day one is the vendor’s responsibility, and it is critical that they follow a detailed process of recruiting, onboarding, training, systems implementations and much more.
That’s why Amerit has a large cross functional team of experts from across the organization, the New Business Implementation team (NBI for short) that handles every aspect of every new location start-up. From one location to many simultaneously, a detailed process and a documented playbook ensures standardization, eliminates disruptions and ensure the smoothest transition for existing and new staff members. When discussing this phase with possible new vendors, ask for details about their process and team. Ask for details about your involvement and how they will communicate with you throughout the implementation.
- How does the provider manage safety and risk?How does the third-party provider ensure techs work safely and your assets are protected? And how does the vendor handle inherent risks in the industry, including liability issues?
We’ve found that we can provide enhanced safety and minimize risk through positive communication, benefits, and a focus on safety. Each of Amerit’s employees works with a dedicated HR generalist with whom they interact constantly. The company also invests heavily in ongoing training for safety, HAZMAT and other areas of risk. A safe workplace and trained techs mitigate risks to you, your drivers, your assets and your community.
- How does the third party ensure consistent, standardized work processes and policy for all vehicles?Can the vendor ensure that PM schedules are consistently maintained, especially if the fleet operates across multiple locations? Is the approval level for parts purchasing consistently adopted? Are all assets being maintained the same way?
Amerit takes great pride in our reputation of being the most trusted, dependable and hardworking fleet maintenance company with a national presence, offering a single, consistent, national solution. With uncompromising dedication to quality driving everything we do, our teams are focused on providing outstanding quality and responsiveness, spotting trends, monitoring KPIs, and ensuring processes and standards are being kept to.
Fleets should not accept anything less than exceptional customer service and performance across the board.
- How will the third party bring continual quality improvement and cost reduction to the fleet?What type of improvements and cost savings will be made after the first year? Does the third party do more than just fix vehicles? Do they constantly bring new ideas to the fleet, track trends and analyze data? Will they truly act as your strategic ally, putting your needs above their own? Do they offer a single point of contact for all your locations?
Amerit is the single source supplier to some of the largest and most complex fleets in the country. Our Account Management team acts as an important partner to their business, an important ally when goals and priorities shift and the go-to resource for new projects, lowering total costs, increasing efficiency and ensuring the safe, reliable operations of all the assets in the fleet.