By Joseph Evangelist
Executive Vice President, Transervice
As originally appeared in FleetOwner Magazine’s IdeaXchange
You don’t need a crystal ball when it comes to determining the useful life of an asset in your fleet. What you do need is to spec and maintain it properly so that it continues to function for the time period that is right for your particular operation.
To get the most out of an asset it needs to be purpose-built for the intended application. This includes looking at the vehicle’s operating environment including travel radius, terrain and weather conditions. But it also includes ensuring it is spec’d for the weights it will carry, that the engine is spec’d to match the duty cycle and that there are enough driver amenities to help you in your recruiting and retention efforts.
Another thing to factor into the vehicle specification process is the truck’s potential resale value. This will require some guesswork, but there are many resources that you can access to find out what specs are valued on the secondary market and which are not.
Once you’ve added a vehicle to your fleet, you need to set up the appropriate maintenance schedule based on manufacturer’s recommendations and your own duty cycle requirements. The next step is to start accumulating data on what technicians are finding during preventive maintenance inspections and services, as well as any data from on-the-road breakdowns.
If you have several similarly spec’d trucks, you can aggregate the data to spot trends. This will allow you to move from a preventive type maintenance program to more of a predictive maintenance model. For example, if you notice that for a particular group of assets alternators consistently fail at 100,000 miles you can schedule service campaigns to proactively replace those alternators and potentially avoid a road call.