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Preventive versus reactive maintenance for fleets

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The main objective of a planned preventive maintenance (PM) schedule is to improve the overall safety and performance of your fleet vehicles.

Some fleet organisations today are wary of implementing a new PM program. Instead, they focus on reactive maintenance procedures. With reactive maintenance, most maintenance tasks are only performed after the vehicle or asset has failed. While it might seem like reactive maintenance is cheaper than preventive maintenance, it actually is more costly in the long-run.

In addition to improving the safety of your fleet operations, a set preventive maintenance schedule has many other benefits, including:

Reduced costs: While regular preventive maintenance may seem costly, responding to maintenance reactively typically costs fleet organisations more over the long-term.

Decreased vehicle downtime: One of the more obvious benefits of PM scheduling is reduced vehicle downtime. When your PM schedule is optimised, you can ensure that your vehicles are on the road, instead of sitting in the work shop for extended periods of time.

Improved fuel savings: It’s true– an effective PM plan can save you money on petrol! When fleet vehicles are properly maintained and running optimally, their fuel efficiency increases. Examples of PM work that improve fuel efficiency include: changing air filters, receiving regular oil changes (with the correct oil) and even cleaning out your vehicle.

For many fleet organisations today, PM schedules make a significant impact on the bottom line and overall efficiency. Paired with an effective fleet management software system, preventive maintenance can help your organisation succeed both on and off the road.

Checklist for optimising a fleet’s capital and operational costs

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By Nick Bridle, Sr. Fleet Consultant, AssetWorks 

In order to truly optimise a fleet’s capital and operational costs, fleet managers need a certain level of information. Does the fleet team have the systems and data to provide the right answers to the following questions?

How much capital do I need to optimise and run my fleet over the next 3, 5 or 10 years?

  • Am I able to accurately represent and request this funding from the board, the public or upper management?
  • How can I identify and smooth any peaks in the capital funding requirements over the next 3-5 years?
  • Are we operating the right business depreciation policy?
  • How much funding am I likely to be provided with, and what funding is actually needed?
  • What impact does legislation have on our operations? Are we green enough?
  • Can I assess the impacts on similar specifications by manufacturer to support my decisions?

What is the impact on my team in terms of costs quality and time for this function?

  • Do I have the systems to capture all the important data correctly?
  • How many systems/databases/spreadsheets are we using across the organisation?
  • What do I use to pull and analyse the data?
  • Who is responsible for this? Just one person (single point of failure) or a dedicated team?
  • How many stakeholders across the business are involved?
  • Who verifies and signs off on the data as being accurate and correct?

How much operational history by vehicle, category and specification do I have to feed my replacement planning models?

  • How much vehicle history by year, category, specification and vehicle do I have to help me make the right decisions on life-cycles?
  • Do I know the specifications and model decisions for the next life-cycle?
  • Do I know fuel volume and costs?
  • Can I access odometer readings and annual mileage by category, specification and vehicle?
  • Do you know maintenance labour rates, charges and parts costs?
  • Are you aware of your vehicle downtime?
  • What are your average hire costs?
  • Am I able to score and weigh certain operational factors to help identify and optimise the replacement plan?

While these questions may leave a fleet manager feeling overwhelmed, with the right processes in place for data input and cleanup, the challenges will seem much more manageable. 

The key to streamlining this process is automation. With AssetWorks Capital Asset Management (CAM), fleet and asset managers can automate life cycle cost analysis in order to improve data practices and save on capital and operational costs.

To learn more about CAM, visit