Harness the power of statistics and fleet data in order to cut your maintenance spend.
Occasionally, something as simple as a driver not removing their tool belt can impact a fleet’s maintenance costs.
According to Jason Swanson, Assistant Manager, Client Information System at ARI, the tool belt was causing damage to the seats, which resulted in a high replacement rate of driver-side seats. “It was literally costing hundreds of thousands of dollars,” he recalls.
He was able to categorize that data using the ARI Fleet Health Card, a tool that enables the gathering of statistics to fleet data, and classifies it into buckets like preventive maintenance, unscheduled and scheduled expenses.
“Once you have all that data and you know a specific area, you can start to apply statistics,” Swanson explains. “You can figure out what normal looks like, what’s the mean, the standard deviation, and apply it across your fleet.”
Once the anomalies are gathered, a fleet manager can determine where the outliers are, move them to the middle, and drill down further to identify ways of improving the costs.
Even more granular
The main strategy with a maintenance spend is categorizing where the costs are and then drilling into specific areas. “I can’t say there’s one silver bullet, but the Fleet Health Card is helping us dig into the different things that these fleets are doing, so that we’re able to find specific cases to help them save money for specific reasons, specific ways that they’re operating.”
Eventually, Swanson hopes the data will become even more granular. “As we get better and more and more data, we’ll be able to take the next step and get to the point where we can predict what’s going to happen with your fleet as far as maintenance and costs are concerned, and make recommendations ahead of time.”
Economic life perspective
In a recent survey conducted by Element Fleet Management, reducing maintenance was the third priority of the top 10, behind risk and safety management, and data management. “There’s a correlation between maintenance and the other two,” notes Paul Wingate, Senior Strategic Consultant, Element Fleet Management. “For example, well maintained vehicles are important to the overall risk and safety management strategy.”
With the introduction of onboard diagnostic computers, guesswork is all but eliminated for certain types of vehicle service. “Service technicians can identify more quickly, the most likely things that are causing a problem or that need to be replaced, reducing downtime,” says Wingate.
“Telematics programs may also have the ability to share that information with the fleet operator and/or the fleet management company, to remotely determine the overall health of the vehicle. Based on telemetric notifications, they can make sure the vehicle is directed to the right location for repair.”
In the life cycle of a vehicle, the biggest cost is depreciation, and maintenance costs accelerate as a vehicle ages. “Proper analysis of ‘big data’ allows you to determine the economic life, so that you know on a month to month basis the total stream of costs associated with a vehicle as it is depreciating in value,” says Wingate.
“If you collate that information and average it out over the life of the vehicle,” he adds, “you know when the vehicle is starting to cost you more. Should you continue to operate that vehicle or replace it? That’s one of the most important considerations nowadays when it comes to keeping your maintenance costs down, looking at it from an economic life perspective.”