There is an old adage that suggests you inspect what you expect.
We see that proverb in action all the time in trucking, especially when it comes to maintenance and repair. Nearly all fleet and service providers have a checklist they go through each time a truck comes in for preventive maintenance service or repair. It covers some basic things like tires, brakes, and fluid levels and helps to ensure that all the items the fleet deems important are highlighted and carefully checked over.
PM inspections when done correctly — which means paying attention to every little detail — can root out problems at their infancy when they are usually less expensive to fix.
How do you know if technicians are performing these inspections properly? One way is to track the number of breakdowns between PMs. If trucks are showing up in the shop between PMs it could be because the PMs are not getting the attention they deserve.
If you track the reasons for these between PM service events, you can analyze the data and begin to notice patterns. Are tires the problem? Brakes? Hoses? You can then schedule a quick training on the proper way to inspect those items and how to spot the specific issues that are showing up in your fleet.
Another idea is to put to work earlier that old adage I mentioned. After a PM inspection or PM service is completed, make the next step a requirement that another technician do a quick spot check of the areas where your fleet is having issues and perhaps one or two additional areas of special importance. It should only take a few minutes but could save you time and money by lessening the frequency of on-road breakdowns.
Set up a program to start inspecting what you expect, and I think you’ll see your company’s trucks in the shop far less often, ideally only for their regularly scheduled PM service.