Understanding the unique challenges faced by your fleet of vehicles is easier than you think when you add logging to your routine. Keeping track of key details, such as the frequency of unexpected mechanical issues, can help you adjust your maintenance schedule to save money while avoiding unfortunate downtime. No matter what kind of fleet you're managing and maintaining, these five tips will help you log their details successfully and without creating a lot of extra work.
The most accurate and thorough logs of mileage, oil changes, and more won't help if it still lacks information about unexpected problems. Make sure your log has space for recording accidents, roadside breakdowns, calls for jump starting, and more. For example, your reports may show that a certain vehicle cost three times as much as usual to repair during a year, but was that extra cost due to a collision rather than routine wear and tear? You'll only know if you take the time to include every cause of damage and wear, not just the planned ones.
This extra logging is especially valuable when you're running a fleet that is routinely inspected for safety by public inspectors, such as semi-trucks. Citations for maintenance and safety failures help you discover where your fleet maintenance efforts are lacking, and it becomes quite expensive not to correct routine issues leading to repeat tickets.
Measure Data Directly
Logging is only as good as the information being entered into your logs. The manual methods of using hand-written sheets, computer spreadsheets, or even specialized software requiring input can't compare with automatic data gathering.
Since most vehicles used for fleet purposes feature a convenient data bus connection, it's perfectly possible to record almost all of the necessary data directly from the vehicle's onboard computer. GPS tracking is also integrated to give you more accurate mileage records, speed estimation, and more to help you adjust your maintenance plans to the actual driving habits of your fleet operators.
Involve the Driver
No effort at logging fleet vehicle information will succeed without the input and help of the driver of each individual vehicle. Your drivers need an easy and quick way to input any relevant data without having to take time away from their other duties. With smart phones combining with ubiquitous cellular and wireless Internet service, app access encourages regular updates throughout the work day. Making it easy for drivers to participate in logging will make your logs more valuable without requiring you to create rewards or punishments in order to guide employee behavior.
Unite All Maintenance Facilities
Are your fleet vehicles going to different garages, maintenance providers, or other facilities depending on the work they need or the type of vehicle? It's all too easy to miss essential logging details that lead to repeated maintenance that is totally unnecessary. Paying for double or triple repairs and maintenance visits quickly inflates your fleet management costs. Choosing a logging system capable of providing seamless updates between facilities, ensuring that all records stay up to date at all times. Your maintenance providers should always be able to check the records and update them immediately after any work done so there's never any question if the information is accurate.
Print Custom Reports
Finally, don't just leave all that data stored in your company's computers. While it's great that you can reduce total paperwork by using digital logging, you should still run off some custom reports on a regular basis. Keeping some reports printed out, such as comparisons of fuel efficiency or maintenance costs between different vehicles, encourages your team to spend more time actually checking the reports for essential decision-making information. When the data stays hidden within the logging system, it's easier to ignore.