Using GPS Maintenance Reports to Minimize Truck Downtime

Trucks are often the workhorses of a business. They are relied on, day after day to keep working, and to work hard. Truck downtime is costly and obviously to be avoided or minimized as much as possible.

What’s the key to keeping any vehicle breakdowns to an absolute minimum? Regular preventative maintenance, performed at the specified intervals for the vehicle according to the manufacturers guidelines. And while that’s not new, following through on that wise advice is often easier said than done.

Why do a lot of firms find it so difficult to perform regular service checks and routine maintenance on their trucks?

Idle time costs

When a business is highly dependent on an asset, such as a truck, any downtime for that asset can be linked directly as a business expense, essentially the opportunity cost of having the asset out of action, and not earning the company money. There’s also the cost of additional operating expenses, such as a driver who may be unable to be productive without the vehicle.

For businesses that run a fleet of trucks, often with a combined worth of many millions of dollars, it’s imperative then that any downtime is kept to an absolute minimum. But herein lies a danger: Keep the trucks so busy the fleet never has time to do routine maintenance or ignore minor problems or bring the trucks in and wear the cost of the downtime?

Run the risk?

For some fleet managers, they’ve had a bad experience with scheduling maintenance for their trucks. In the past, trucks were pulled off the road at arbitrary intervals just because the manufacturer required it, whether the vehicle actually needed servicing or not. In other cases, vehicle log books were inaccurate and unnecessary services were being performed too frequently.

This led to the dangerous practice of pushing trucks until they broke, in the hope they might get lucky and the fleet could get by without any maintenance stops.

Inevitably this would prove true the maxim, a stitch in time saves nine, with trucks suffering serious damage and spending even more time off the road, or in extreme cases being written off completely. Not performing maintenance on the truck, will often void the vehicle’s warranty as well, another good reason to not do it.

The perfect compromise – GPS-monitored maintenance

Of course everyone knows you can use GPS to navigate from point A to point B. But a lot of fleet managers are starting to understand the many other benefits of using GPS tracking on their vehicles.

The ROI on GPS tracking hardware and fleet management software is such that most fleets who purchase a Telogis® fleet tracking solution recover their costs within about 120 days!

One of the reasons Telogis fleet management has a great ROI is to do with scheduling maintenance correctly.

On the one hand it won’t ignore it altogether, forcing you to cross your fingers nothing will go wrong but it doesn’t schedule maintenance stops just for the sake of maintenance. By using the onboard GPS data, Telogis software accurately tracks the vehicle’s usage, whether it’s engine hours or miles driven, and alerts you when a maintenance will be due based on this information.

This provides you with sufficient time to make sure the required service is scheduled in plenty of time, allowing you to make sure the driver can be reassigned to another vehicle and the workshop have the capacity to service the truck.

Overall, this means services are only performed when they’re actually needed, pit stops are kept to a minimum and your fleet runs as efficiently as possible.

And you can stop crossing your fingers and toes, desperately hoping you’ll get lucky and your trucks won’t break down. Now you’ll be able to rest easy, knowing your vehicles are being properly maintained and downtime will be much less of a worry.