Most businesses rely on vehicles for one reason or another. Some businesses are literally in the business of managing a fleet of vehicles (e.g., car rental companies, service companies), while others may rely on forklifts, bobcats, and/or trucks. Regardless of the size of your collective fleet, if you operate vehicles, fleet maintenance is an essential task to keep your operation moving.
A good fleet maintenance program helps you manage your vehicles so that they run smoothly and reduces unexpected downtime. So what exactly is fleet maintenance, and how it can benefit your business?
Let’s dive in.
What is Fleet Maintenance?
Fleet maintenance is the process that ensures all the vehicles are in working condition and are safe for use. The idea is to reduce maintenance costs, increase efficiency, and reduce risk. Fleet maintenance management has one core objective: to ensure all vehicles are ready-to-use whenever your employees need them.
Imagine you have a client work order that needs a field visit from a worker. The vehicle assigned to the worker has a serious issue and isn’t in usable condition. Naturally, your other vehicles are in use out in the field, and next thing you know, your clients are unhappy, and business needlessly slows to halt. Active fleet maintenance programs can reduce these sorts of incidents from happening.
Here are some of the leading fleet maintenance benefits:
- Cost reduction – including fuel and maintenance costs
- Increased efficiency and vehicle performance
- Better driver safety
- Increased vehicle average life
- Better reporting and analysis
- Enhanced driver and customer satisfaction
5 Tools Every Fleet Manager Needs
A fleet maintenance program involves three main types of workers: Managers, drivers, and technicians.
A fleet manager is responsible for implementing and managing the entire fleet maintenance program. To be an effective manager, he/she needs to be very organized and have a clear understanding of how to delegate and assign maintenance tasks routinely so that they are prioritized and are executed within the appropriate time frame.
Fortunately for fleet managers, many modern solutions make tracking and scheduling these tasks significantly more accessible than in the past. These tools need help in maintaining fleet maintenance logs, help with reporting, and these tools give a complete overview of all the tasks and workers at any given time to the manager.
If you’re a fleet manager and interested in improving your fleet maintenance program and skills, here is a list of tools that you should use.
MaintainX is a must-have tool that helps you manage workflows, regulatory inspections, work orders, asset management, and improves communication with your teams. As a fleet manager, it is important to keep information standardized and organized to optimize organizational efficiency. With MaintainX, you can quickly assign work orders, checklists and communicate across your team with a digital audit trail for accountability with a simple to use app that your entire team can use on-the-go.
MaintainX is available on the Google Play Store for Android device, the Apple App Store for iOS devices, and it can be used on the web for desktop users. Workers can share photos, attachments, send unlimited messages, complete vehicle inspection forms, and more. Leave comments on outstanding work orders to ensure nothing is forgotten. Assign tasks on the go, check the status, and at the end of the day, generate reports to learn which areas of your operation are slowing your team down. If you manage a fleet preventive maintenance operation, you’ll love MaintainX.
GPSWOX is a leading GPS tracking tool that lets you track your entire fleet right from your smartphone. A tracking tool is usually available with most of the fleet maintenance programs but it comes with basic features. It works fine if you’re managing a small fleet but if you’re working with a transportation company or maybe a car rental service that has a gigantic fleet, you need a powerful tracking tool like GPSWOX. GPSWOX lacks collaborative functionality and the ability to run inspections but can be helpful for tracking fuel and routes.
It comes with some great features:
- Real-time tracking
- Fuel savings by monitoring fuel consumption at various routes
- Point of interest tool lets you add specific locations of your interest such as hotels and gas stations
- Mobile app available for Windows, Android, and iOS
- Instant notifications about vehicles based on your selected variables such as to get a notification when a vehicle reaches a certain speed. This helps you maintain the optimal speed across all routes for best mileage
- It supports and works with a wide range of trackers such as Bofan, Coban, and others
GPSWOX is a perfect fleet maintenance management tool that is a must for fleet managers that need to know where each vehicle is at all times. If your employer has trackers installed in the vehicles, switching to GPSWOX won’t be an issue.
NexTraq is a multi-purpose fleet maintenance tool that has a lot to offer you. It provides you with 4 different fleet maintenance programs:
- Driver safety
- Fleet visibility and productivity
- Mobile workforce
- Maintenance and ELD compliance
Fleet visibility and productivity is their GPS tracking solution while the mobile workforce is where you use their app. Driver safety is an important fleet maintenance management solution that you get with NexTraq.
Statistics show that more than 2 million drivers experience permanent injuries out of 3 million injured drivers in car accidents every year in the US.
As a fleet manager, you aren’t just responsible for the vehicles but you need to ensure driver safety too. This is where NexTraq’s driver safety solution can help you. While it lacks collaborative communication functionality, it does offer the following compelling features:
- MobileBlock feature that blocks driver’s smartphone and tablets during driving
- Driver accountability is ensured with the help of driver safety scorecard where drivers are rated based on speed, braking, acceleration, and cornering
- Drivers are trained using the driver training program
- It gets easier to make drivers aware of the importance of their safety
Maintenance and ELD compliance is another powerful solution by NexTraq that helps you with vehicle maintenance specifically such as:
- Fleet maintenance log can be maintained using a tablet or smartphone
- It logs hours of service, driver and vehicle inspection report, and record of duty status
- Engine diagnostics
- Electronic fleet maintenance logs
- A complete vehicle maintenance module
Trello is a functional introductory tool for fleet managers. While the interface is limiting for teams with a lot to do, its simple interface can help managers of small fleets keep track of what needs to be done.
It is a free collaboration tool that lets you communicate, organize, prioritize, and work on your projects easily. It won’t let you miss an important deadline. You can create boards, lists, and cards that let you communicate and organize your projects.
Fleet managers will find Trello limiting if they need to easily retrieve historical data for specific assets, track trends over time or create standardized procedures but they will certainly find themselves more organized than if they weren’t using any tool to help.
5. Google Docs
Attachments don’t work all the time. Imagine your assistant sent you a work order template for review in a Word file. You edited it, added a few comments, and sent it back. The assistant replies that he is unable to see your comments.
This happens a lot, and it wastes time.
Enter Google Docs.
Let’s put an end to attachments and switch to Google Docs which makes sharing files super-easy. You can add comments, retrieve old versions, see who edited the file, lock portions of it, and multiple users can work on a single file.
If you’re managing a large fleet, your life will be miserable if you use files as attachments as it will take forever to send and receive emails with minor edits. Think of all those work orders, proposals, applications, data files, sheets, forms, PPTs, etc. that you send and receive on a daily basis.
While Google Docs is best used as a supplemental tool to a fleet management program, even fleet management teams can take advantage of collaborative documents when the need arises.
Where You Should Begin?
These 5 tools are essential for every fleet manager. If you’re serious about fleet maintenance and if you really want to do an exceptional job at your current company, should consider the merits of integrating some of these tools.
Switching to these tools might seem complicated and expensive. Most teams find the most success by implementing one tool and new process at a time. For instance, by starting with MaintainX, you can begin automating your recurring work orders, collaborate, and manage your workforce in the field. If you find gaps in functionality, like GPS tracking, you can then work to implement GPSWOX to track your vehicles.
Once your team is up and running with modern tools, you’ll wonder how you managed things before. And yes, you’ll be able to manage most of the tasks and projects from your computer and/or smartphone. That’s the power of using tools for fleet maintenance programs.