By Gino Fontana
Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President, Transervice
As originally appeared in FleetOwner Magazine’s IdeaXchange
Ensuring your assets have a long useful life does not just happen. How long your tractors, trucks and trailers remain operational does not depend on luck, but rather is the result of three key pillars.
It starts with spec’ing
The way an asset is spec’d is the first critical pillar of long asset life. Each asset must be configured for the job it will be doing in order for it to operate as efficiently as possible. Consider things like duty cycle, terrain, miles, weather, etc. when determining specs for each asset you are purchasing.
It can be tempting to just reorder the exact truck you have been using but given the rapid pace of change in the trucking industry, it is a good idea to conduct a spec review before each new order. You may discover newer versions of components that will actually work better for a given application. A spec review is also a good time to look at adding safety options to your vehicles including collision mitigation, lane departure warning, etc.
Ask the vehicle manufactures to give you a presentation annually on their product offerings including any new offerings and any changes from the previous year. You might want to talk to your service advisors, technicians and drivers prior to spec’ing a truck to gain insights from them on issues around serviceability and drivability.
The second way to ensure long asset life is through a constant preventive maintenance program. Use the manufacturers’ recommendation as a guideline for your PM service, but tweak as needed given the unique operating parameters of your fleet. Have a system in place to track PM compliance so that scheduled PM services are not missed. Also track all repairs between PMs. Keeping track of an asset’s service history can help you spot wear and failure trends which you can use to inform spec’ing decisions in the future. This will also help ensure that you capture all warranty guarantees to which you are entitled.
Don’t underestimate driver influence
Experts believe that drivers can influence the fuel efficiency of a truck by as much as 30%. It is not a big leap to think drivers also can impact asset life. Hard braking, fast acceleration, and sharp cornering all take a toll on an asset. Explain to your drivers just how important they are to the success of your operations. Take advantage of these coachable moments, they are invaluable. Make your drivers understand that the decisions they make behind the wheel matter and can impact your bottom line. Incentivize drivers to drive for maximum fuel efficiency, safety and for following good driving practices.
Keeping in mind these pillars, you will see that long asset life is as simple as one, two, three.