We know that managing your business’ fleet or site is a complex challenge. Juggling the need to keep your vehicles on the road, intermittent repairs, and preparing for the unexpected require delicate balance. Unplanned maintenance costs and breakdowns can lead to significant downtime, resulting in lost productivity and revenue.
But it’s not just these regular updates that you have to take care of. You’re managing the entire lifecycle of the vehicles themselves. To achieve this, you tend to strike that important balance between managing maintenance costs, while ensuring the reliability and safety of your vehicles.
This is where regular reliability audits can make your job easier, and help to ensure the safety and operational efficiency of your vehicles, your equipment, and your site.
But it’s important that they’re undertaken thoroughly.
Let’s take a look at what a regular equipment reliability audit entails, what to look for, and why it’s necessary in keeping your fleet running at its best.
What’s involved in an equipment reliability audit
You’re looking to gain a thorough understanding of your vehicles’ safety and reliability, so you need to be thorough.
To get you started, this is a general map to follow when undertaking an equipment reliability audit.
Set the baseline with a comprehensive asset data review
Start with an analysis of your vehicles’ performance records to evaluate their operational performance to date, and understand their recent and past maintenance practices.
- Examine the maintenance records and inspection data, service histories, annual mileage, fuel costs, and usage timesheets.
- Analyse your fleet budget, and find out the average maintenance cost per vehicle.
- Finish by looking at failure data, including repair costs and downtime records.
Undertake a vehicle inspection
Regular safety and performance inspections are essential maintenance practices to ensure your vehicles operate at peak efficiency. These inspections help catch potential issues before they escalate into more significant problems, and ensures your side loader trucks, rigid trucks, and other vehicles are operating at their best, catching potential issues before they escalate.
Identify underperforming or problem vehicles
A comprehensive data review ensures you know the health of each vehicle in your fleet, and regular vehicle maintenance helps to highlight any pressing problems.
Reviewing this information side by side, this allows you to identify any recurring issues, failures, and patterns that could indicate potential challenges. You can use this data to find any vehicles that have consistently higher maintenance costs, such as tipper trucks, and then investigate the reasons behind them.
Remove underperforming vehicles
When your vehicles aren’t running at their best, this can cause problems for your fleet. As well as leading to higher repair and maintenance costs, it also puts the strain of increased downtime onto your operations. This leads to lowered efficiency, and potentially lost revenue. Evaluate the cost of a complete overhaul or replacement for these vehicles. Consider swing lifter rentals as a temporary solution.
These underperforming vehicles are costing you more than they’re worth, so your business will then need to evaluate the cost of a complete overhaul, or replacing them entirely.
Review your operational and maintenance processes
Identify areas for improvement by reviewing maintenance processes, documentation completeness, and driver behaviour. Ensure drivers adhere to safe road standards and use optimal routes. Inadequate training for operators and technicians can result in increased harm to vehicles and staff.
If you identify underperforming vehicles in your fleet, you need to review your maintenance processes and practices to find out why.
Do you actually have all the data you need, or is there critical documentation that you’re missing? If so, this poses a bigger problem than auditing, and needs to be addressed.
It’s not just the maintenance practices. How are the vehicles being treated out on the road? Are your drivers operating their vehicles to safe road standards, and using the best routes?
Inadequate training in your technicians can lead to incorrect inspection data, unsafe practices, and reduce effectiveness of your vehicles.
Implement improvements based on your findings
The best case scenario is that the findings of your fleet audit tell you that your systems are working and your vehicles are being looked after.
However, the likely scenario is that there may be areas for improvement.
If there’s an overreliance on reactive maintenance, then consider implementing more regular vehicle checks and maintenance routines. Or look into more comprehensive pre- and post-trip vehicle inspections by the drivers, and regular mileage checks to determine if your vehicles are being driven correctly.
More regular maintenance means more regular auditing, and you’ll gain a more accurate understanding of your fleet’s performance. A more accurate understanding means you’re able to put proactive maintenance processes in place to reduce breakdowns and repair costs, keep your vehicles on the road, and boost the safety, efficiency, and productivity of your fleet.
Managing the outcome of your equipment reliability audit
The worst-case scenario to all this is that you need to remove assets from your fleet. In which case, you’ll need to evaluate the cost of a complete overhaul, or removing them and replacing them with a new asset.
It’s a costly exercise—not just in capital, but in lost productivity, lost revenue, and even a loss of reputation.
Or, you could look into fleet hire.
Boost the efficiency of your fleet with complete transport equipment hire
Consider truck hire as a strategic solution to boost the efficiency of your fleet. At Rentco, we are dedicated to providing high-quality transport equipment hire that ensures the safety, reliability, and efficiency of your fleet.
There are some big benefits:
- It’s cheaper than purchasing an all-new asset, and your rental costs are turned into opex rather than capex.
- We take care of the maintenance for you, with comprehensive preventative maintenance programs undertaken at our purpose-built facilities that ensure our vehicles remain in peak condition.
- You get 24/7 support to ensure your new assets stay on the road.
Let Rentco take the hassle out of your fleet management. Contact your nearest depot today to browse our equipment range, including tautliner hire, and discuss how we can supplement your fleet with reliable solutions.