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In-house maintenance: Make sure you look at all the factors

A recent study came out that reported fleets are seeing productivity improvements by bringing maintenance in-house. That likely is true for large fleets that already have shop locations and technicians in areas where large quantities of their trucks are domiciled.

But I have to wonder why fleets are looking at bringing maintenance in-house if they are really looking at the full picture. Are they accurately measuring the cost of doing maintenance and repair in-house? I caution them that whenever they perform a cost analysis they need to be certain to look at all the costs associated with having an in- house shop.

This means they need to consider things other than technician wages and the cost of replacement parts. They also have to consider variables such as the need to rent vehicles to make up for downed vehicles that are out of service.  It also includes overhead like the cost of utilities used in the shop, administrative support staff salaries, insurance costs, etc.

And there are also the harder to measure costs like driver dissatisfaction and loss of customer goodwill if a delivery is missed because a truck broke down between its scheduled maintenance services.

There is much more involved in determining the true cost of maintenance and any productivity gains that might occur from doing it in-house. I’m not suggesting fleets forego in-house maintenance, but I am asking them to make sure their analysis is comprehensive, including all of the operation costs and not just the dollars to turn the wrench or replace parts.

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