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Keeping on top of fleet and heavy equipment maintenance

Keeping on top of fleet and heavy equipment maintenance

Fleet vehicles and heavy equipment that is used within a business is expensive to acquire and to maintain. Alongside the initial cost of the vehicles or equipment themselves, the cost in terms of lost opportunity when vehicles and machinery are off the road or out of use can be high as well as disruptive to the continued smooth running of the business.

Having a detailed and scheduled maintenance plan for your fleet vehicles and other heavy machinery is a good way to identify issues early on, allowing you to undertake preventative maintenance. Preventative maintenance is usually cheaper as is can be planned when convenient and should identify issues before they become too serious.

Whilst it may take an administrative effort to set up and run a scheduled maintenance plan, the time and effort involved in setting something up can easily be offset against the issues which could be caused by not having one. As well as the obvious inconvenience caused by having equipment or vehicles out of action in terms of productivity, there is also the potential damage to your business reputation to consider if this forces you to have to reschedule commitments and the knock-on effect this could have on your bottom line over time.

Other benefits to a regular maintenance schedule could be:

  • An increase in the life of your equipment. Regular maintenance checks and servicing are likely to improve the service life of vehicles and other large equipment.
  • Reduced repair costs - If minor issues are identified before they start causing problems, they are likely to be quicker and easier to repair – saving you money in the long run
  • Limit downtime – Unplanned maintenance is inconvenient and it can be expensive if you need to get something fixed in a hurry. A planned maintenance schedule allows you to look at workloads and asses when it would be most convenient to take a piece of equipment out of service so that it does not impact on productivity.
  • Better health and safety – Faulty equipment and vehicles are more likely to cause accidents or injury to those operating them. Regular checks on machinery and vehicles should be recorded as part of your overall Health and Safety management. This should be detailed and recorded as part of your health and safety record.
  • Peace of Mind – By implementing a planned schedule of checks and maintenance, you remove the likelihood of forgetting to do something at the right time. Peace of mind can also be gained by knowing that your vehicles and equipment are well maintained, employees are well protected and that the risk of unexpected repairs has been mitigated as much as possible.

Implementing a plan

A maintenance plan needs not be overly complicated. A simple method could simply be to have a rolling schedule of checks for vehicles over your chosen time period. Checks could simply consist of working through a standard list of items to inspect – tyres, oil levels, battery health, mileage etc. This should then be documented and stored along with the

Reduced insurance costs?

Whilst a maintenance plan will not necessarily translate into reduced insurance costs directly, there is certainly an indirect benefit from an insurance perspective. As we have mentioned previously in our blog, the basis on which insurance premiums are calculated is largely related to risk and risk perception. A company which can demonstrate that they take all necessary steps to identify and prevent problems with vehicles and machinery are likely to be consider a better risk generally. The other major factor which comes into play when calculating insurance premiums is past performance. A company with a high number of past claims is likely to be quoted a higher premium than one with a better record. A regular checking and maintenance schedule is likely to reduce the instances of accidents and therefore claims – which, overtime, is likely to impact on the cost of insurance.

In short then, a regular schedule for checks and maintenance of vehicles and machinery is well worth implementing and can bring benefits which far out-weigh the cost, in both money and effort, to set one up.

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