Trucks are more complicated, diagnostic tools more expensive and qualified technicians in short supply. As a result outsourcing maintenance and repair can seem like an attractive alternative to many fleets.
If you are thinking of outsourcing some or all of your maintenance and repair work, try to avoid making these five mistakes.
- Failure to do your homework: Don’t just pick a service provider because it’s located nearby or because you know another fleet has had success with them. Research dealerships and independent repair garages in your area to ensure you find one that’s a good fit for your operation. Get a complete list of the services they offer to make sure they align with the type of work you typically need done. What are their hours of operation? Do they offer roadside service? What about mobile maintenance? What’s the size of their parts inventory? Are their techs ASE certified?
- Overlook the importance of a service network: Unless you’re trucks always travel close to home, you’ll want to make sure your service provider has reciprocal services with a network of other service providers in the states your trucks travel through. You need to ensure that your trucks can get back on the road quickly if a breakdown occurs outside your service provider’s geographic reach. Ask for a list of affiliated service locations.
- Focus only on the price: Price is an important part of the service equation, but it is not the only consideration. Quality of the repair and speed of the repair are two other factors that are as important — if not more important —than the cost of the repair. If the service provider can’t get your truck in for five days because of the backlog in his shop, are you really getting the cheapest price for your repair?
- Think short term: Moving from one service provider to another every time you’re in need of maintenance or repair services is short sighted. It doesn’t give service providers a chance to understand the way you want things done and it leaves you with no leverage in the event you need an emergency repair. Work on establishing a long-term relationship with your chosen service provider. This often results in favorable parts pricing and preferred service.
- Give up control: Just because you turn over your maintenance and repair does not mean you have to compromise on how you want service work performed. Before signing on the dotted line with a service provider make sure they understand your parts preferences — genuine, aftermarket replacement, private label, reman, etc. Make sure they are capable of providing you with the type of reports you need in the format you need them in. A service provider that insists on doing it “my way” is probably not a good match for you especially if you are doing some repairs in house and want consistency in the repair process.
Outsourcing maintenance and repair can allow you focus your resources on other areas of your business, just make sure you find the service provider that us the perfect partner for you.