Which is the best maintenance strategy: Cure a problem or prevent it altogether?
Source: FleetAnswers Effective fleet management involves two types of maintenance. First is preventative maintenance, the type focused on preventing future problems by being proactive before they begin. The second is curative maintenance, or the type that works to fix a problem after a breakdown or similar issue has developed. While both are necessary in the fleet, fleet management teams need to decide where their primary focus will lie.
The Challenge of a Curative Approach
Curative maintenance seems more appealing to some fleet managers, because it only addresses problems when they occur. This can make it easier to justify expenditures, because a vehicle that is not running needs to be addressed. Yet there is a serious problem associated with this particular approach to maintaining vehicles.
First, breakdowns interrupt the regular workflow significantly. If your driver has a deadline for a service call or delivery, and the vehicles suddenly stops running or has a flat tire, your entire day as a fleet is disrupted.
Second, breakdowns are costly. The problems associated with a breakdown, quite often, could have been avoided with attention to preventative maintenance. The cost is often much lower for the prevention than the cure, especially when you factor in the cost of downtime.
Is curative maintenance avoidable? Not entirely, but much of it can be prevented with a preventative approach.
The Benefits of a Preventative Approach
Taking a preventative approach to fleet maintenance is the safest and often most cost-effective option. When a vehicle is regularly inspected from a qualified maintenance professional for a routine maintenance check, the chance of a breakdown lessens significantly. If you want to do what you can to ensure your vehicles are reliable, then you need to take a preventative approach to vehicle maintenance.
A preventative approach also helps you keep your drivers safer. Braking defects, problems with tires and problems with steering that make a vehicle unsafe to drive will also be spotted before the driver is placed in an unsafe position. Unfortunately, if you don't take the time to stop and check your vehicles, then they may be putting your drivers at risk. Safety checks are part of a preventative maintenance program, and vehicles with braking and tires, that could put drivers in jeopardy, can be addressed before a problem arises.
Can preventative maintenance fix all potential maintenance problems? No, reality says that you will still suffer an occasional unexpected breakdown, but it also says that prevention can help you address problems before they turn into a serious breakdown more often than not. You can significantly limit downtime and the costs of expensive repairs with an attention to preventative maintenance.
So which is better? In reality you are going to do a little bit of both in your fleet, but your main focus should be on a preventative approach. With a routine maintenance plan in place, you can keep your vehicles running at their best, protect driver safety and limit downtime.
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