Maybe it’s the technician shortage. Or the increasing complexity of vehicle systems. Or the cost of diagnostic tools. It could even be some combination of the three. But whatever the reason, you’ve decided you want to farm out some (or all) of your maintenance and repair work.
The decision to outsource is not one that should be made lightly. There are a number of options available to you and no one solution is right for every fleet. However, there are some key factors you should evaluate before selecting an out-sourced provider(s).
The location of the outside service provider is a good place to start.
Service needs to be available where your vehicles are housed and operating. This is truer today than ever before. You don’t want to waste time having your driver travel miles and miles to get the vehicle serviced. Even if your service provider picks up and delivers your vehicles that is still wasted time.
If you travel across multiple states, regionally or nationally, look for a provider with a network of locations so you will receive consistent service in your driving lanes. Make sure to ask about bay space and typical wait times, not just for diagnostics but about how long before actual service will begin. Find out about hours of operation. Do they have hours that mesh with the times you need/want your trucks to be maintained or serviced?
The skill of the technicians working on your trucks is another critical item to explore.
How many of them have ASE certifications or certifications from component suppliers? What kind of investment is the service provider making in training to ensure that the technicians’ skills are constantly upgraded as new technology enters the market? Being trained to work on today’s trucks is one thing, but you also need peace of mind that those techs will be ready for the next iteration of technology.
Apply that same scrutiny to the tools and equipment in the shop.
Today’s sophisticated trucks require specialized diagnostic equipment and tools. Ask for an inventory of shop tools and equipment.
With the increased focus on uptime, it is critical that you have real-time updates on the status of repairs. Is the outside service provider using an automated service event management program that sends you status updates and gives you transparency into the repair process?
The answers to these questions will help you find the outside service provider(s) best suited to work with your fleet and its unique requirements.