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As supply chain problems persist, preventive maintenance is key to TCO

Oct. 17, 2022
Spending on scheduled maintenance can help reduce fleets’ total cost of ownership—and it also assists with driver satisfaction, reassuring them that their trucks are well-maintained and setting them up for success.

Every fleet focuses on its total cost of operation, but keeping TCO at a reasonable number has been made more difficult by supply chain issues, which have forced fleets to hang onto older assets longer than usual.

Fleets have little or no control over many parts of the TCO equation, including the cost of new equipment, the price of fuel, tolls, licensing fees, etc. However, they do control some things like drivers’ wages and benefits—although, in today’s labor market, fleets need to offer competitive wages—and insurance and repair costs.

See also: Despite initial cost, purchase decision is always about TCO

By focusing on proper maintenance, fleets can reduce the number of on-road breakdowns, which are the costliest repairs, and keep trucks on the road. This begins with a health check on all assets to determine how well they operate and identify problems. Based on that health check and an asset’s duty cycle, carriers can set preventive maintenance (PM) service intervals. These are asset specific, meaning that some trucks will have maintenance more often than others.

When it comes to maintenance, there's no one-size-fits-all solution. PM service must be set for each asset to ensure maximum vehicle performance and the lowest cost of operation. Time and money spent on maintenance can pay big dividends if it helps avoid even one roadside breakdown.

Once PM service intervals are set, compliance must be tracked to ensure the trucks come into the shop as planned. Consider investing in a system that tracks PM compliance and notifies you when an upcoming service is due so you can bring the truck in.

When the truck is in for a PM service, make sure to have the technicians perform a full vehicle inspection to spot any developing problems. Issues caught early typically cost less to fix than down the road, when they can cause expensive collateral damage. Since a truck is already in the shop for PM, you won’t have to take it out of service again to fix a problem.

Spending money on preventive maintenance will help with your TCO, but it also can help with driver satisfaction. A fleet's drivers will be assured that when they get behind the wheel, their rig has been well-maintained and best sets them up for success.

Jane Clark is vice president of member services for NationaLease. In this position, she is focused on managing the member services operation as well as working to strengthen member relationships, reduce member costs, and improve collaboration within the NationaLease supporting groups. Prior to joining NationaLease, Clark served as area vice president for Randstad, one of the nation’s largest recruitment agencies, and before that, she served in management posts with QPS Cos., Pro Staff, and Manpower Inc.

About the Author

Jane Clark | Senior VP of Operations

Jane Clark is Senior Vice President, Operations for NationaLease. Prior to joining NationaLease, Jane served as Area Vice President for Randstad, one of the nation’s largest recruitment agencies, and before that, she served in management posts with QPS Companies, Pro Staff, and Manpower, Inc.

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