Is it time to review your maintenance/repair strategy?

By Joseph Evangelist

Executive Vice President, Transervice
As originally appeared in FleetOwner Magazine’s IdeaXchange

An Analysis of the Operational Costs of Trucking: 2018 Update, published by the American Transportation Research Institute, shows that between 2016 and 2017 the total average marginal costs in the trucking industry grew 6.2%.

The survey looks at everything from driver compensation to fuel costs to insurance, tolls, permits etc.

One other key component of the survey is repair and maintenance costs, which rose slightly from 2016 to 2017 but have increased 60% between 2008 and 2017, now equaling 16.7 cents per mile.

One reason ATRI cited for the increased cost over time is that newer equipment is more expensive to repair and maintain because of all the technology that is now found on today’s trucks.

Not only do these more sophisticated components cost more to repair and maintain, they also add to the amount of training technicians need in order to be able to properly complete a repair as well as increased need for software and tooling. In addition, given the shortage of technicians, labor costs have increased as fleets use wages and benefits packages as part of their effort to recruit and retain technicians … if they can find them.

ATRI also believes that the growth of e-commerce, with its more frequent pickup and delivery model, is a factor in the long-term increase of repair and maintenance costs. Given predictions about the growth trajectory for e-commerce, it’s likely that fleets that are involved in e-commerce will continue to see their maintenance and repair costs increase even more.

Given that fact, now may be a good time to review your maintenance and repair strategy. Ask yourself if you have the proper tools, equipment and personnel to effectively and efficiently keep your trucks in top operating condition?

Does it still make sense for you to do your own maintenance and repair in-house or should you be outsourcing it to someone that is in a better position to make the necessary investments in tooling and training that are going to be needed to ensure that repairs are done right the first time?

Business conditions are changing. Maybe it is time to change the way you handle your maintenance and repair needs.

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