Saving money in fleet maintenance by 10%

MEX Maintenance Experts
MEX Maintenance Experts

Doing Preventative Maintenance, Being Vigilant and Taking responsibility in your Fleet Maintenance Management, done correctly will save you 10 per cent of your maintenance budget. Presented by MEX GM Steve Ninnes.

Implementing a Maintenance Software is the first step in curbing your fleet maintenance costs. But what can you do to guarantee that you are saving money in your fleet maintenance procedures. Saving Maintenance Money!

There are many factors to take into consideration when dealing with trucks and loaders. You don't just have the engine, you have a whole host of components that make up the whole unit. From the hydraulic lifts installed, to the bucket of the loader.

When talking about saving maintenance costs, a target that one should work towards is around 10 per cent. Anything more than that is a bonus. This is not by any means out of reach and can be achieved with very little effort.

How can this be achieved? You can do so by following these three points:

  • Doing Preventative Maintenance (PM)
  • Being Vigilant in your approach towards maintenance
  • Taking more Responsibility

Doing Preventative Maintenance

You've got a fleet of vehicles, whether it be 4 trucks, 22 Loaders, or 1000 vehicles of all shapes and sizes that you have to do maintenance on. These vehicles have Preventative Maintenance schedules that range from

  • 250 hour,
  • 500 hour,
  • 1000 hour,
  • 4000 hour,
  • At 200 hours the turbo needs to be thoroughly maintained
  • Once a year the barrel needs to be replaced etc…

All is well, you have your schedules in place. The problem is that operations always want the trucks. No matter what, they need the trucks working their hours. But the Unit's need to be maintained is always there. Being able to work with operations to schedule trucks to be maintained and looked after now becomes a key aspect in your PM Program's effectiveness.

Operations don't work an 8 hour shift giving the maintenance team all night to work on the equipment. That just doesn't happen. They are a 24 hour operation and so a maintenance time needs to be agreed upon for each unit.

You, the Maintenance Manager has to make it clear to operations of your intentions. If there are six trucks, tell operations that out of those 6 trucks, we can give a guarantee that four will be operational all the time, allowing for 2 to be properly maintained at scheduled times and rotated into your operating fleet.

Take a look at your data, if you have a lot of breakdown maintenance, and your PMs are low in volume, then you've got a problem. Talk to operations, stress the need to get the units in for regular PM checks, increasing your PM rate and in the process reducing breakdown maintenance. Realistically a goal of three months to balance out the Breakdowns versus PMs should be adequate.

Being Vigilant

When we hear the term breakdown, most people fear the worst. That the breakdown was in fact caused by a large failure in one of the units. In most cases yes, but there are many cases where even the smallest thing like a radio not working, or a busted air conditioner can lead to the breakdown.

Be vigilant, look at your maintenance practices and analyse on a case by case basis on what you need to do to complement your maintenance efforts.

What are some of the things you can do? Firstly add some care into your maintenance. When bringing a unit offline, think about what the operators have been complaining about and act on them if you feel the need to. But most importantly ensure that the Unit is clean upon delivery.

Yes that's right, “Clean the unit!” Even if it means nothing in a maintenance point of view, presentation is everything. It's more psychological than anything, for when you hand back a clean unit this will go a long way in helping your cause of being vigilant. You'll find that your efforts are being appreciated. Even if you have put a new engine in a truck. If the equipment is returned dirty, operators will think you have done nothing to the car.

Don't stop there, Fix the radio if it's broken, if there is a tear in the seat, mend it, the air conditioner is busted, replace it.

Look at what's really going on with the equipment, rather than bog standard maintenance. Look at trends in stuff, for example a bucket that is worn out and you replace the teeth every two days. Does that seem cost effective? Rather than placing a Band-Aid on it, get a new bucket on there, refurbish it!

Yes there is always the history of the equipment's maintenance that you can go through to find trends, but you as the maintenance team should already be aware of the common faults. You should know the trends on a loader that's always sent in every four weeks with the same issues.

We can call these the Hidden failure mode. Everyone knows about it, everyone accepts that it happens, but no one does anything about it. You can change that by taking a stand and being vigilant towards your maintenance.

Taking Responsibility

When you work with mobile gear, you come to the realization that there will be accidents. This is one of the biggest issues and can be a major factor in driving up maintenance costs. There's nothing worse than busting a gut to get a piece of gear back into action, and literally half an hour later someone's run it into a wall.

Make a stand and throw the responsibility of any maintenance costs stemming from an accident back to the operations budget. Charge operations for the maintenance repair costs of each unit that has been in an accident. Make it known that accidents are not a maintenance cost. This puts the operators on alert and as a result forces them to be more careful on the job, knowing perfectly well that if they do cause an accident, their budget will be hit for the costs and their supervisor will be on their case.

In Summary, do your PMs on time, be vigilant and take responsibility and you'll be well on your way to reducing your Fleet Management Costs by 10 per cent.

Stephen Ninnes
MEX General Manager

Originally published on the MEX Blog