Every fleet manager knows the basic components of a fleet maintenance program, but how to set up a fleet maintenance program is a different skillset entirely.
While there is no one way to guarantee success, we believe these ten components should be top-of-mind in how to set up a fleet maintenance program.
- Create A Culture of Safety
- Find and Retain Top-Tier Technicians
- Establish a Proactive Preventative Maintenance (PM) Program
- Monitor Quality
- Develop Responsive Customer Service
- Commit to Data
- Employ Experienced Management
- Limit Outside Spending
- Secure the Best Parts (& Pricing!)
- Recover Warranty Cash
CREATE A CULTURE OF SAFETY:
A safe maintenance program requires investment in the infrastructure necessary for its success. This includes PPE, training for technicians and managers, and a team to manage and monitor the program. But more than this, we have found that consistency and priority are vital in creating a culture of safety.
When asking yourself how to set up a fleet maintenance program, one of your first steps should be to ask how I can develop a safety plan. As we said, consistency is critical. When an incident happens, we conduct a Corrective Action Program (CAP) to perform a deep dive discussion into causation and then prevention. This happens with every incident regardless of severity, the circumstances, or the team’s workload. We believe that all incidents are preventable, and our goal is zero incidents.
FIND AND RETAIN TOP-TIER TECHNICIANS
Finding and retaining top-tier technicians is an industry-wide challenge. In addition to automotive technology evolving rapidly, there is a generational shift away from individuals pursuing skilled trade professions. These both contribute to a nationwide shortage of technicians.
We’ve developed best practices to successfully hire technically savvy technicians, commit to quality, and a solid safety-first mindset. What do we do that sets us apart? Our recruiters are responsive. We know that technicians have multiple offers and that delays can cause us to lose top talent. We train our hiring managers on the importance of speed and use technology to monitor every step in the recruiting process to ensure timely interviews and hiring decisions.
ESTABLISH A PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE PROGRAM
You cannot ask how to set up a fleet maintenance program without first asking how to set up a preventative maintenance program. Preventative maintenance (PM) is vital to minimizing downtime and controlling costs. Our goal in prioritizing PMs is to not see the vehicle again until the next PM is due. Operationally, this means preventing road failures and garage drive-ups, or any type of out-of-service repair activity between scheduled PM dates.
We recommend keeping PM parameters as tight as possible to achieve our goals. If there are repair failures after a PM, they are measured, and changes are made accordingly. Keeping a close eye on PM success and failure rates helps us make immediate improvements to the quality of our PMs, and it keeps our clients’ vehicles on the road while keeping maintenance costs down.
To ensure the consistent delivery of quality vehicle maintenance, we provide KPI dashboards that allow our clients to monitor, track and make critical decisions about their fleet every week. When asking yourself how to set up a fleet maintenance program, be sure to monitor quality. Our quality management process consists of four steps:
- Track Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) like task repeats, PM quality, and standard repair times.
- Track post-work inspections, confirm expectations, and identify training opportunities and enact operational standards to ensure that proper tools and processes are in place. An example of this is requiring field technical training and certifications to ensure our workforce is accurate and efficient.
- Validate your improvement by checking with clients, inspecting work through employee and garage scorecards, and conducting detailed operational reviews.
- Continuously repeat these processes to ensure that consistent quality is achieved.
DEVELOP RESPONSIVE CUSTOMER SERVICE
Each of our clients has unique needs regarding schedules, communication, and account management. Our clients have come to expect an atmosphere of partnership right from the start. Our team can identify customer pain points during each implementation discovery process, develop custom-built solutions, and consistently deliver on established expectations to fulfill our clients’ needs.
COMMIT TO DATA
Today’s fleets are more data-driven than ever, and it is crucial that maintenance operations have the means and the discipline to capture the best data possible related to repairs, analyze it and act on it. When setting up a fleet maintenance program, committing to data will give your leadership teams the most comprehensive information possible to make fully informed decisions.
Because we provide customized solutions, we have the capability to integrate maintenance data with our client’s fleet management systems (FMS). This integrated data is used to inform decision-making at every level related to fleet operations, including:
- Preventative Maintenance
- Asset Management
- Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
- Quality of Repairs
EMPLOY EXPERIENCED MANAGEMENT
How you set up a fleet maintenance program is equally important to whom you select to run your fleet maintenance program. Along with hiring top-tier technicians, we believe our success is mainly dependent on our fleet managers, who are former experienced technicians. Amerit’s fleet managers (FMs) can give advice and training and inspect technicians’ work to guarantee it is accurate, safe, good quality, and done to specification.
Our FMs are also heavily involved with the decision-making process – always considering safety and cost. This makes them essential and trusted allies for continuous improvement within our operations. When our clients need consultations on new purchases, advice on vehicle specs, and more insight, they rely on our trusted FMs.
LIMIT OUTSIDE SPENDING
One of the ways we focus on limited outside spend is by keeping our preventative maintenance programs at the forefront of our operations. Our bumper-to-bumper PM protocol aims to catch problems early on, so we can avoid costly repairs down the road while improving vehicle uptime.
In addition to a robust PM program, we ensure our teams are the right size and have the appropriate skill sets to keep most maintenance work in-house. We recommend organizing by:
- Reviewing your most common outsourced spend
- Analyzing to see if that skill should be brought in-house.
- Looking at downtimes related to your vendors in combination with bill rates.
- Verify the financial optics – is it cheaper to keep this work in-house or to outsource it?
SECURE THE BEST PARTS (& PRICING)
When procuring replacement parts for your fleet, we have found that using a blended approach to parts acquisition is key to success. By creating a strategic national supplier network, our parts and tire programs boast several benefits: cost reduction, less vehicle downtime and greater access to parts availability. Purchasing the right parts for the correct application will play a key role in how to set up a fleet maintenance program. Here are some of our guidelines to help you determine whether you should choose Aftermarket or OE parts: When selecting Aftermarket, consider if the part offers a reduction in cost without giving up quality. Specific categories for aftermarket marks include PM, brakes, heating, and cooling. OE parts should be used when aftermarket parts are unavailable, the price is advantageous, or the OEM warranty calls for an OE product.
RECOVER WARRANTY CASH
Warranty collection is key to managing maintenance expenses for fleet owners. If you do not manage your vehicles’ warranties, you leave money on the table that could be used to offset maintenance costs.
We help our customers recover cash by entering warranty information into your FMS as soon as a vehicle is cycled into our fleet list. This ensures that you’re notified when a repair is under warranty.
While you can use our components above to build a fleet maintenance program, you can also work with us directly. We’re ready to help you by identifying challenges, creating solutions, and implementing protocols that will deliver safety and quality, and provide long-term cost savings to your maintenance operation. To speak with a member of our team, please visit Talk To An Expert.