By Mike Quimby and Don Scare
Last month, the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos went head to head in Super Bowl 50. NFL players train long and hard to keep their performance optimal. How do you ensure you have a winning fleet in place? When it comes to trucks, there are many things you can do to keep your fleet operating like a champ.
See the following playbook:
Recognizing the importance of preventative maintenance is critical when operating a fleet. A preventative maintenance program is used to proactively avoid or reduce vehicle breakdowns. Taking pre-emptive measures can help prevent potential problems and limit vehicle downtime, lowering overall operating costs.
Preventative maintenance should be performed on a scheduled basis, including daily vehicle inspections. Remember, if a vehicle becomes unsafe due to lack of maintenance or repair, a fleet manager can be held liable.
Are you putting a plan in place to ensure your fleet makes it to the goal line? A comprehensive plan takes many factors into consideration, including responsibilities, communication, measurement, accident mitigation and maintenance.
Ensure your fleet plan contains a purpose and scope that accounts for all drivers, a comprehensive list of responsibilities for the entire team (i.e. drivers, managers and supervisors), safety rules and regulations.
Right truck for the job
Is your fleet using the right trucks to help your business win? It’s important to look beyond acquisition cost when securing vehicles for your fleet. To spec the right way, fleet managers must recognize how trucks will operate within their specific business application.
Determine if the vehicle is fit for the required loads, delivery routes, terrain and driver needs, among other factors. It’s also crucial to know if the equipment is up-to-date with the changing business environment (think electronic log books and fuel emission standards).
As a fleet manager, are you regularly holding driver huddles? Communication through a monthly email or an in-person meeting is recommended. Regular and practical communication between fleet managers and drivers will help create a more dynamic relationship and working environment. Opening the lines of communication can help improve productivity and driver safety.
Consider holding meetings timed with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) release of Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) numbers. Is your company’s rating in line with the goal? Huddles can also be scheduled seasonally. For example, at the start of winter, remind drivers about cold weather issues of which they need to be aware of once again.
What recommendations do you have for keeping fleet vehicles from getting sidelined? Leave a comment or send us a tweet, @ElementFleet.
Every other month Fleet Management Weekly features insight from Mike Quimby, senior vice president and general manager at Element Fleet Management. Don Scare, manager, Truck Excellence at Element Fleet Management also contributed to this article.