Photo 161474992 | Dmitry Kalinovsky | Dreamstime
Dreamstime L 161474992

Three pillars to maintenance success

Oct. 11, 2022
It can be overwhelming to sift through the amount of truck maintenance tips you see online, so just remember that most tips can fall into one of three categories: proper vehicle inspections, technician engagement, and fleet manager diligence.

There are probably hundreds—perhaps even thousands—of things that fleets can do to maximize vehicle uptime. However, I think all those things can be distilled into three main areas, each of which requires attention.

1. Proper vehicle inspections

Drivers’ pre- and post-trip inspections are the foundation of a good maintenance program. Of course, they are mandated by the U.S. Department of Transportation, but that is not the only reason inspections should be carefully adhered to. They are the first line of defense in identifying a developing problem with a vehicle. Drivers are attuned to the performance of their vehicle, and they can spot nuanced differences often well before other signs of a problem—like a fault code—appear. A small change in the way the vehicle sounds or handles can grab a driver’s attention. Make sure to pay attention to what drivers are including in their DVIRs and give their concerns the attention they deserve. Doing so could mean you will be able to identify and fix a problem in its nascent stage before any real damage is done.

See also: When diagnosing equipment, remember the driver

2. Technician engagement

All the intelligence from drivers is worthless if service technicians do not take it seriously and respond to it. Most of us already have a process in place such as Red-Tag or DVIR that serves as the communication between drivers and technicians. Make certain it is adhered to. Technicians also should be trained on performing quality preventive maintenance inspections whenever a truck is in the shop. These inspections need to be thorough and are a great way to identify developing problems and to follow up on previous maintenance and repair work.

See also: Be better prepared for roadside inspections

3. Fleet manager diligence

There is an ocean of data available for each truck—and fleet managers today are lucky because they have access to that data in near real time. Fleet managers need to become adept at spotting developing problems and taking appropriate action. Depending on the nature of the problem, that could mean getting the truck to the shop at the end of the driver’s shift, allowing extra time in the shop at the vehicle’s next scheduled preventive maintenance service, or pulling the truck off the road immediately. Fleet managers have much better insight into what is happening with the truck than they have in the past, but they need to learn how to sift through the data to spot anomalies and act on those.

See also: The wealth of data in maintenance inspection reports

Putting these three pillars in place will ensure that the fleet continues to operate efficiently. If any one of these pillars is not strong, there could be negative consequencesincluding out-of-service violationsor worse, an on-road breakdown.

Gino Fontana, CTP, is COO and EVP at Transervice Logistics Inc. Prior to this, he was VP of operations at Berkeley Division and Puerto Rico. He has more than 35 years of experience in the transportation and logistics industry with both operational and sales experience.

About the Author

Gino Fontana | Chief operating officer and executive vice president at Transervice Logistics Inc.

Gino Fontana, CTP, is COO and EVP at Transervice Logistics Inc. Prior to this recent promotion, he was VP of operations at Berkeley Division and Puerto Rico. His operational expertise emphasizes cost savings, process efficiency and improvement, superior quality, and people management skills. He has more than 35 years of experience in the transportation and logistics industry with both operational and sales experience.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of FleetOwner, create an account today!

Sponsored Recommendations

Report: The 2024 State of Heavy-Duty Repair

From capitalizing on the latest revenue trends to implementing strategic financial planning—this report serves as a roadmap for navigating the challenges and opportunities of ...

Fleet Industry Benchmarks: How does your fleet stack up?

Discover how your fleet compares to industry benchmarks and gain insights from a 2024 Benchmarking Report on maintenance spend, turnaround time, and more. Join us to identify ...

Build a Tolling Program to Manage Toll Fees and Risks

Fleets looking to effectively manage their operational costs should consider their tolling costs. Download the PrePass whitepaper, “Build a Tolling Program to Manage Toll Fees...

Reducing CSA Violations & Increasing Safety With Advanced Trailer Telematics

Keep the roads safer with advanced trailer telematics. In this whitepaper, see how you can gain insights that lead to increased safety and reduced roadside incidents—keeping drivers...