When you own or manage, a fleet of vehicles, it might seem like every single day something else is breaking. Sometimes these things are simply unavoidable and, in some regard, this is a part of the business. But not everything that happens, has to happen. If you make it your mission to be an advocate for preventative maintenance you might be able to save yourself some headaches and some cash at the very same time. Keep in mind that you do have to bear this load all on your own either, you simply need to be the catalyst and the example, and the hope is that the rest of your team will follow suit.
Understand Your Specific Vehicles
It is not enough to know how to put air in a tire, you need to know the details about the specific tires on your specific vehicles. When you are familiar with your fleet, then routine truck maintenance won’t feel so daunting, or confusing. You can review a fleet manager’s guide to preventative maintenance for semi-trucks to get a general idea of where to start. This is also something that your drivers and dispatchers should go over as well. Even team members that are not technically responsible for doing said maintenance need to be able to spot the need for it before a worn-down brake pad becomes the need to replace a total ABS system.
Understand the Equipment
Again, even if you are not going to be the one that performs the maintenance, you should have a basic understanding of what each piece of equipment is and how to work it. Not only is this going to make your job easier at times, but it also shows that you are a collaborative leader. Nobody wants to ask their boss the difference between a tire inflator and a tire compressor to be met with an answer of ‘huh.’ Since adding air to tires is a pretty routine occurrence, you need to be sure that the people doing it are not causing more harm than good. Proper tire pressure levels, how to measure for them, and what machines to use to fill them up should answer you know in the blink of an eye.
Understand Your Team
You have to have eyes and ears on your personnel if you want to up your fleet maintenance game. These are the people that you are trusting on the ground level to keep your business moving, literally. Both drivers and office staff should be modeling care for the company vehicles in the same way that you do. After all, specifically with drivers if their truck goes down, they might lose out on wages.
Hold training sessions and be clear about expectations in terms of what you are counting on them for. Sometimes employees can get stuck in a ‘not my problem’ state of mind, and that can result in negligence which can result in major vehicle issues. Be conscious of that too and use this as an opportunity to reward positive contributions to the team to show your staff that you appreciate their attention to detail.