Understanding the true cost of fleet vehicle downtime
Source: FleetAnswers How costly is downtime for your fleet? Today's fleets may budget for the costs of downtime, but some researchers have found that the costs are significantly higher than what fleets anticipate, with some estimating the yearly cost of downtime to be as much as 8 times what the fleet expects. A closer look at these costs, and how to avoid them, is essential to ensuring that your fleet is running as efficiently as possible.
The Obvious Costs of Downtime
The obvious costs of downtime are the repairs necessary to get the car or truck back on the road again. Over the life of a fleet, these costs can become easy to predict and budget for. Most fleets have a repair and maintenance budget, which can be adjusted year-to-year based on the age of the fleet and any obvious upcoming maintenance needs.
When a breakdown happens on the road, the obvious costs increase again. Towing costs, emergency repairs and the delay in delivering the product or service provider to the customer adds to the cost of the breakdown. Yet these two obvious costs are just part of the big picture.
The Cost of Productivity - Less Obvious, But Still Costly
Productivity, unlike repair costs, is a cost connected to downtime that is more challenging to measure. How much does it really cost a fleet to have a truck sidelined? Here, you must consider all possible costs. A sidelined vehicle adds more demand on the other vehicles in your fleet, increasing their wear and tear. If certain equipment is not on the road, you may not be able to offer your full line of services. You also may have employees who cannot get to customers or deliver services. Deliveries are delayed, customers who call for service cannot be served and your company takes a financial hit.
The bottom line is this: when you can't meet your targets and deadlines because you have a fleet truck unavailable to you, your entire business suffers significantly. When your vehicles are not on the road, you can be losing between $400 and $700 a day in productivity alone! Add to this the cost of the repairs, and you can see that the costs of downtime are really quite high.
Taking a Proactive Approach to Costly Downtime
With the obvious and less obvious costs of downtime, fleets need to be proactive against this potential. A proactive maintenance plan, which focuses on preventive maintenance instead of reactive maintenance, can help limit downtime and keep trucks and cars on the road longer. This type of plan will perform routine maintenance, such as brake service, oil changes and tire care, on a routine schedule, keeping these crucial systems well maintained to avoid potential breakdowns. It may also involve a plan to replace or repair certain components at the end of their expected life cycles, rather than waiting for failure. Telematics systems can help by incorporating maintenance alerts to keep fleet managers informed of upcoming maintenance needs.
A plan for vehicle replacement is also an important way to stop the increased costs of vehicle downtime. Vehicles have a limited lifetime, and the number of breakdowns and costs of repair go up significantly as the age of the vehicle increases. Running trucks into the ground may not be the most cost effective plan because of the high costs of downtime.
Efficient fleets are those fleets that keep their vehicles on the road, avoiding downtime whenever possible. Make a plan for this, and watch as your operating costs decrease because of fewer problems with downtime.
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