How To Reduce Truck Fleet Downtime
Time is money for trucking companies. Their competitiveness often depends on how fast their drivers deliver consignments. For this reason, downtime can be quite disadvantageous to these firms.
Downtime refers to a period when vehicles aren’t on the road. This can be brought about by mechanical damage, poor weather, traffic, or detention. The latter is the extra time taken to unload or load a truck outside the allocated period. Often, this time causes income loss to the carrier. For this reason, most truckers might charge shippers or receivers this cost. The fee isn’t standard. Companies often perform a detention pay calculation to determine how much to charge. As a result, some may ask for a flat rate while others may require a per-hour fee.
Usually, downtime causes significant negative effects to fleet firms. It can lead to unbudgeted costs, customer dissatisfaction, low productivity, and reduced revenue.
Measures To Lower Truck Fleet Downtime
Downtime can be catastrophic to any trucking company. If you manage such a firm, this article offers some proactive steps that could help you avoid or reduce downtime.
- Ensure Regular Maintenance Of Trucks
An effective measure that could help is performing regular maintenance of all trucks. This preventative measure is carried out at least once a year. It enables you to identify any vehicle issues before they can cause truck breakdowns or accidents while on the road.
If you have an in-house mechanic, some of the tasks they’ll perform may be brake fixing, oil and filter changes, tire rotation, engine tuning, and parts tightening. Also, they’ll replace old or worn-out windows, light bulbs, springs, and other components. However, if you don’t have this expert on your team, you can hire an external one.
That said, trucks are usually inoperable during routine maintenance. This could cause downtime, too. To avert this, ensure this preventative measure is performed during off-hours. This way, you’ll avoid losses because your trucks won’t be out of service when they should be on the road.
- Conduct Vehicle Inspections
Besides the periodic maintenance of trucks, regular inspection is also advised. The difference is, the latter is performed before and after each trip.
Regular inspections help you identify issues that could cause vehicle breakdown while on transit. Some of the tasks involved are checking the steering mechanism, brakes, seatbelts, tires, fuel, lighting systems, and other parts. If any of these components are damaged, restoring them at this time helps prevent unexpected breakdowns and future costly repairs.
Also, consider fitting telematics systems into your vehicles. These will make inspections easier for you. The units will help you better monitor your trucks by gathering data about their faults. This way, you can deal with a minor issue effectively and in time before it becomes a significant problem that could cost you expensive repairs.
- Replace Old Trucks
After using a truck for a long time, they get to a point where they require frequent repairs. In such a case, it’s best to replace the old vehicle with a reliable one from a dealership, a private owner, or the internet.
In the short term, this could seem like an expensive cost. However, this measure will reduce the downtime caused by an old vehicle each time it’s being restored. Also, it’ll save you significant amounts of money in the long run, which you could have used in the repairs of the aged truck.
If the cost of buying a new vehicle may be unaffordable at the moment for your company, consider renting another truck in the meantime. Also, it’d help if your firm could come up with a contingency plan for this matter. You can determine how long vehicles should be on the road and have replacement costs in your annual budget. This way, you’ll avoid the unexpected effects or expenses of downtime caused by old trucks.
Trucking companies heavily rely on the fastness of their drivers to offer timely delivery of consignments, ensuring maximum customer satisfaction. This way, they’re able to build and maintain a good reputation in their industry. Besides that, it makes sure there’s a continuous income flow in the firm, which helps them grow and achieve their goals.
Trucks’ downtime can affect the fastness of carrier services. This may be brought about by unavoidable factors like poor weather and traffic or preventable issues such as detention and mechanical damage. All of these can cause significant negative effects to trucking companies. They can lead to customer dissatisfaction, unexpected expenses, reduced productivity, and income loss.
Fortunately, some measures could help prevent or reduce downtime. Some of these have been provided in this article. They include ensuring regular maintenance of trucks, conducting vehicle inspections, and replacing old trucks.