The beginning of the year is a good time to take a close look at your operation. I am not talking about just a 30,000-feet view that gives you a sense of the overall health of your business. I am talking about a department-by-department, function-by-function, in-depth look at not only what you are doing but also how you are doing it.
A good place to start is with an asset utilization analysis. This will tell you what percentage of time an asset is being used during the hours it is needed. You don't just want a total number for all your assets, but rather information about each one. This will help you determine if you have the right size and configuration of vehicles to allow you to meet your current needs in the most efficient manner.
Perform a total cost of ownership analysis on each asset in your fleet. If an asset is routinely showing up in the shop between scheduled PM services, perhaps it is time to consider retiring it even if you hadn’t planned to. At the very least, if you can identify a recurring problem you can bring it to the attention of the vehicle maker and perhaps get some relief via a policy adjustment.
Now is also a good time to revisit your routing. Chat with your customers about things like days and times for delivery. I talked a lot about this in my last blog as it applies to eliminating layovers, but it also helps with route optimization.
You also should spend some time performing an analysis of your customers. Are there instances where the value-added services you are providing for a client outweigh the revenue you receive? Are there clients who always seem to be complaining about something and expecting concessions? As harsh as it sounds, maybe it is time to let go of some customers who have become burdensome to service or at the very least, to sit down with them and let them know about your concerns.
And finally, review your vendor list. Are you aligned with the right suppliers? Can you consolidate purchasing of some items into a smaller list of vendors, which might result in better pricing for you?
Taking a fresh detailed look at your business can help you uncover areas of waste or places where a few tweaks could lead to big efficiency improvements.