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Trucking Toolbox: Finding Low-Hanging Fruit in Truck and Trailer Fleet Maintenance

May 23, 2024

Data integrity is vital for accurate, consistent, and reliable information, and is essential for making informed decisions and maintaining trust in the system. Based on that premise, there are several actionable insights that can be derived from a carrier’s data and can be used to highlight critical areas within maintenance operations.

Using internal data to identify fluctuations in pending maintenance by equipment type and age allows for a targeted approach to addressing key concerns. Start the process by using the following examples:

Drive Safe by Practicing Tire Care

Tire maintenance constitutes a significant portion of maintenance expenditure and requires immediate attention. Regular inspections, proper inflation, and timely replacements can notably reduce downtime and improve fuel efficiency. For example, implementing a proactive tire maintenance program that includes routine tread depth checks and alignment inspections helps detect and resolve issues before they escalate. Consider evaluating tire procurement practices – whether new or retread – and ensuring optimal tire usage to maximize their lifespan. Tracking instances of on-road tire changes versus those performed in-house provides valuable insights.

Use Preventive Maintenance (PM) Scheduling To Boost Fleet Reliability

A robust preventive maintenance schedule is crucial in minimizing breakdowns and prolonging fleet longevity. Ensure PM tasks align with manufacturer recommendations and are tailored to each vehicle’s unique requirements. Regular oil changes, filter replacements, and brake inspections prevent costly repairs down the line. Analyzing PM versus non-PM costs and scrutinizing the necessity of interim shop visits between scheduled PMs are important considerations.

Streamline Efficiency With Inventory Management

Excessive parts inventory ties up resources and incurs unnecessary storage costs. Regularly conducting a thorough inventory analysis identifies redundant or obsolete parts for removal, optimizing space and reducing carrying costs. Reviewing inventory levels and usage patterns helps identify underutilized and excess parts for potential inventory level reduction.

Optimize Workloads With Overtime Management

Excessive overtime adversely impacts maintenance costs and employee morale. Reviewing work schedules and optimizing staffing levels minimizes overtime expenses while ensuring efficient task completion. Utilizing predictive maintenance tools to proactively monitor equipment health and schedule maintenance reduces the need for overtime repairs. Assessing overtime trends and aligning staffing levels with workload demands are important considerations.

Establish Controls

Implementing robust maintenance management software provides real-time visibility into activities, tracks key performance indicators (KPIs), and facilitates data-driven decision-making. Clear policies and procedures streamline operations and ensure compliance with industry standards. For instance, digital work order systems enhance task tracking, monitor technician productivity, and identify improvement areas.

Incorporating month-to-month cost comparisons across all VMRS systems can reveal trends in cost fluctuations. Breakdowns by tractor and trailer, along with parts usage analysis and labor variances, provide further insights. Additionally, walking the shop and auditing work orders and scrap bins offers valuable understanding of shop floor repair decision-making.

Continuous Improvement

By addressing these low-hanging fruit in maintenance operations, fleet managers can optimize resource utilization, reduce costs, and enhance overall fleet performance. Continuous monitoring and improvement efforts are essential for sustaining gains and ensuring long-term success.

To learn more or discuss any of the ideas shared above, please contact a KSMTA advisor or complete this form.

Bryan Burningham Maintenance Consultant, KSM Transport Advisors & KSMTA Canada

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