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  February 10th, 2023 | Written by

How Fleet Managers Should Optimize Their Daily Maintenance Checklist

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Rising costs, labor shortages and issues in the supply chain are making fleet management much more complex. Old practices aren’t as effective, so business leaders need new ways to keep their companies modern and in step with the times. 

The needs of logistics professionals can change by the day, so keeping pace is critical. Here’s how logistic professionals can optimize their maintenance checklists. 

Implementing Automation

The first step in optimizing a checklist is to implement automation. Machines have become much more intelligent over the past few decades. Modern technology frequently sees artificial intelligence (AI) excel at saving time in the workplace and on the road. 

Fleet managers should take advantage of automation because it’s also a beacon of safety. Since 1972, on-the-job injuries have dropped significantly, and automation receives much credit for smoothing processes.

Companies can benefit significantly from fleet management software. These programs take paper out of the workflow and give professionals the data they need in front of them. Software is ideal for those who want to improve time management and automate specific tasks. For example, programs can bill customers, manage operating expenses and monitor vehicles through tracking software. 

Prioritizing Safety

Workplace safety has improved in the last half-century, but fleet managers and drivers still face risks when they hit the road. Drivers are the most integral pieces of any business utilizing fleets, and managers should emphasize safety and train them to implement best practices. Knowing the expectations now can save many headaches in the future. 

Safety should be a top priority from day one, and that starts before the keys go in the ignition. Fleet owners can optimize their checklist by training drivers on what to watch for with their vehicles and how to perform maintenance. For example, suppose a tire goes flat on the highway. Training the driver to fix it themselves saves money and reduces downtime because they know the best way to mitigate the issue.  

Using Telematics

Another way fleet managers can optimize their maintenance checklist is by implementing telematics. This software is ideal for tracking driver behavior while on the road. Employees who know they have a tracking device in the vehicle are more likely to adhere to best practices while operating. Telematics gadgets alert fleet owners of drivers’ habits, whether speeding, phone usage, hard braking or other detrimental acts.

Most fleet owners use telematics to correct driver behavior and ensure safe driving, but the benefits go beyond that. Managers have legal backing if someone steals the vehicle. A GPS tracker lets owners know where their trucks are at all times so law enforcement can find those culpable. 

Telematics can optimize your maintenance checklist by providing the information to drivers more quickly. These devices often detect vehicle problems before a human. Finding issues earlier leads to a more straightforward fix and less strain on the company’s wallet when it’s time to repair. 

Determining Task Responsibility

Technology can tell fleet owners the problem, but it takes humans to look under the hood and fix it. Drivers can perform maintenance tasks, like airing tires or changing the oil. Other, more complicated tuneups may need a certified technician specializing in certain vehicle parts. 

Fleet managers must divide who gets what responsibility to ensure every maintenance element goes smoothly. Owners can optimize their maintenance checklist by assigning tasks based on who can perform them the best. Employee experience will play a key role in addition to the type of vehicle. 

Reducing Maintenance Costs

A maintenance checklist should include tasks that reduce costs in the long run. Fleet owners can save money by doing small things now and preventing more significant problems in the future. Some of these tasks may include:

  • Washing: Washing might not be at the top of a fleet manager’s list of maintenance tasks, but it’s critical. No matter where they drive, cars end up with dirt and debris on the exterior and undercarriage. Fleet owners can optimize their checklists by creating daily and weekly tasks. For example, drivers should sanitize the steering wheel daily. Weekly, they should perform tasks like cleaning the mirrors and door handles. A clean car shows employees and consumers that the company cares about safety and cleanliness.
  • Waxing: Waxing is another preventive maintenance task. Fleet owners operating on the coast or in cold-weather areas should be wary of rust buildup. Salt from the ocean and the roads can easily damage a car by causing rust. Waxing twice a year protects vehicle parts from breaking due to rust damage and makes the maintenance checklist easier in the long run. 
  • Tires: Tires are an integral part of any fleet. Owners can use tires as a way to optimize their maintenance checklist. Drivers and managers should track the psi of every vehicle because it plays a significant role in other factors like driver safety and fuel mileage. For example, properly inflated tires increase fuel mileage by up to 3%, but underinflated tires harm fuel economy. 

Upgrading When Necessary

Modern problems require modern solutions. Sometimes, fleet managers and drivers can take precautions and perform preventive maintenance. However, the vehicle doesn’t want to cooperate for one reason or another. The problems could stem from unknown issues or a car reaching the end of its life. Fleet owners should keep an eye on what components require the most attention because an upgrade could be in order.

A maintenance checklist should include every component of the fleet’s vehicles. Owners should account for extensions and attachments like trailers. Cars wear down over time, and managers should consider upgrading the entire vehicle or individual parts. Enhancing the fleet with aftermarket updates like a cold air intake or iridium spark plugs could make the checklists easier for drivers in their daily duties.  

Optimizing the Maintenance Checklist 

Today’s economy makes things more challenging for fleet managers. Supply chain disruptions, rising prices and other problems increase the job’s complexity. The heart of the work lies with the cars and drivers. These professionals should optimize their maintenance checklist to keep pace with today’s demands.

A modern-day checklist starts with automation. Fleet owners should let management software take care of tasks like billing and scheduling vehicle maintenance. Automation allows them to focus on the bigger picture. 

Managers should also heavily emphasize safety to their drivers and help them take steps to protect themselves and their vehicles. Minor optimizations in the short term can save a fleet company a lot of money in the long run.