U.S. fleet managers share similar maintenance operations

U.S. fleet managers share similar maintenance operations

Trucking companies operate quite differently than a trash pick-up operation, but given both organizations are tasked with complex fleet maintenance, these two business – and any other that centers on vehicles – have much in common. 

According to Fleet Owner, all fleet managers say a few of the most important business functions include finding the best skilled maintenance workers, creating lasting relationships with components makers and suppliers, and dealing with cost of ownership. But the most important part of any fleet-based business is keeping truck downtime to a minimum, according to experts who attended the recent Heavy Duty Aftermarket Dialogue. 

The panel of maintenance directors spoke about the state of fleet maintenance in the U.S. Canada. Prime Inc., for example, has about 5,000 tractors in service in North America, and is hoping to perform 80 percent of its maintenance in-house, while the rest of the work will be shipped out to staffing companies. 

Ron Svehia, senior manager of fleet maintenance for Republic Services, the largest refuse company in the country, said it is more difficult to find maintenance workers willing to operate on a garbage truck than it is to find those who want to perform work on a big rig. 

“Guys aren’t beating down the doors to come work on our trucks,” he said at the conference, according to the publication.

However, even though many fleet owners say they are having difficulty attracting the right technicians, new maintenance management software is helping existing workers keep fleets operating better than ever, the Commercial Carrier Journal.

The news source stated that huge advancements have been made in fleet maintenance that have taken the process from the whiteboard to computer screens.

“With the board, things were always falling through the cracks,” said Jerry Simmons, fleet manager at Advanced Disposal Services in Florida. “But today, I know at the beginning of each week what my [predictive maintenance] schedule looks like at a glance. At the same time, I can deal with unscheduled repairs more quickly and effectively, and I can track anything unusual going on.”

Simmons added that the software he uses can also help him develop solutions to a rapid report of several component failures. If need be, the alerts also allow him to call the necessary maintenance technicians to make the repairs. 

According to the news source, such technologies are having a trickle down effect that is improving every facet of fleet management companies, including workflow practices and other operational functions. In addition to software, new wireless technologies are helping firms track data on maintenance management remotely. 

By properly implementing these tools, companies gain greater visibility into maintenance programs. Managers can then make necessary adjustments that ultimately lower maintenance costs. 




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