Whether we like it or not, it looks like most fleets will have to run at least some of their assets for longer than they had planned. Supply chain disruptions and material shortages have caused all truck makers to curtail their production volumes and it looks like that will continue.
Some industry experts don't expect to see the COVID-fueled equipment shortage ease until 2023 with 2022 order boards already full and most manufacturers establishing allocation systems for their customers. Even if you ordered trucks, the reality is you may not get the total number you need. To look a little farther out, it is likely that because of 2024 CARB emissions regulations and then 2027 EPA emissions rules changes that we won't see “normal” production and delivery of trucks until 2027.
This situation is exacerbated by the fact that we are in a hot freight market with demand at very high levels which fleets will want to take advantage of.
If you have not already done so, now is a good time to perform a health check on each asset to help determine which ones are best suited to stay in operation longer than normal. Bring each asset into the shop for an inspection. Using your data will help you make the decision on which assets to trade in, which to keep, and which need maintenance or service before they are ready to see additional miles.
You also can use the data to set the PM schedules on an asset-by-asset basis so that each asset gets maintenance at the proper interval to keep it operational.
It is also a good time to review your preventive maintenance programs. Most fleets set PM schedules based on their typical asset replacement cycle and OEM recommendations for warranty purposes. They have a good idea of the number of miles their trucks accumulate each year and are reasonably sure that with good PM compliance they will not be seeing trucks in the shop between PM services.
Now fleets will be running at least some of their assets beyond their typical useful life since they won’t be getting new assets to take their place. As we all know, older assets need more maintenance to stay in top operating condition so fleets may have to adjust PM schedules for this new reality. While having a truck come in more often for maintenance adds cost, it is still cheaper than roadside breakdown repairs.
Fleets may not like the fact that they won't be able to get the new trucks and trailers they need, but a little tweaking of maintenance schedules should help keep existing assets on the road delivering for their customers.
Patrick Gaskins, SVP of Corcentric Fleet Solutions, oversees both sales and operations for the company's fleet offerings. Gaskins joined the company in 2010, bringing more than 30 years of experience as a financial services professional in the transportation industry. He leads a team that works with a supply base of more than 160 manufacturers to help the country’s largest fleets manage all aspects of their fleet operations and fleet-related spend.