When looking at your 4×4 fleet maintenance and ways to save costs, most fleet managers will often start with the vehicle. But what is the one factor that has arguably one of the biggest impacts on vehicle maintenance needs? A hint, it’s something you have the least control over — the driver.
The difference between good and bad driver behaviour can be a 25% variance on the whole life vehicle cost. The best drivers can reduce total operating costs by more than 12%, while the worst of drivers increase costs by more than 13%.
Driver behaviour is an important factor to consider when reducing 4×4 fleet maintenance costs. If a driver is accountable and responsible for their role, and provided the right tools, they are more likely to take interest in cost reduction.
So, how do you reduce drivers’ impact on overall 4×4 fleet maintenance? Here are x best practices to encourage better drivers.
Get your drivers involved
It’s important to keep your fleet drivers involved in the decision of maintenance management. As a fleet manager, maintenance manager, or regional manager, you’re not typically available to go to the repair facility with the drivers.
Your drivers, however, are on the ground day-in, day-out, and become the best source of information for performance related matters, fuel consumption, quality of driver, and more. Let them become your eyes and ears, and get them involved to determine if repairs and maintenance are truly needed on their vehicles.
- When implementing change, survey your employees to gain their input
- Explain the challenges currently faced and how they need to be overcome
- Create a clear plan and how it affects the driver personally
- Reward those who followed the plan and helped reduce cost maintenance
Train and educate your drivers
Experts agree that including maintenance guidelines in driver training materials can help drivers understand how their individual performance will impact costs. Similarly to fuel economy scores, maintenance scores could be created for drivers on how to drive efficiently and maintain their vehicles.
This can include tasks such as checking tyre pressure and tread wear. Although, training can often be an arduous task, so incentivizing it can be a great way to get drivers interest. Creating a positive culture around vehicle maintenance and educating your drivers should be an essential part of your maintenance management strategy.
- Compliant drivers are less likely to be involved in a road accident
- Reduces vehicle down time
- Reduces costly repairs
Equip your drivers with the right tools
Give your drivers the tools they need to help reduce maintenance costs. Consider providing a targeted repair network based on repair costs, proximity to garaging facilities, and average repair turnaround times.
Provide tools and resources needed to carry out maintenance duties and reduce costs. Make sure your strategy includes ancillary services which provide roadside assistance, downtime management, and a replacement vehicle to get drivers back on the road and not sidelined.
Clearly communicate your policies
As part of your 4×4 fleet management strategy, create policies that clearly state the maintenance-related requirements that drivers are responsible for. You’ll have more success in lowering fleet maintenance costs with an active approach to a cost reduction culture.
- Empower drivers with the right tools to execute meaningful and measurable contributions
- Provide ample guidance and support to allow drivers to comply with your 4×4 fleet maintenance strategy
Make sure your fleet is fit for purpose
Give your drivers the necessary fit-outs needed to perform their role. Under-speccing a 4×4 on a mine site without a mine fitout can lead to faster wear and tear. Over-spec your 4×4 fleet and you’ve just spent a fortune on unnecessary upgrades. Consider what your vehicles will be carrying and the operating conditions to ensure you get the most efficient and cost-effective use out of it.
Speak to the fleet fit-out experts
Here at Total 4×4, we supply and install fleet fit-out solutions for all commercial fleets. With years of experience servicing the WA 4×4 industry, our experts put the focus on you to provide a tailor fit purpose build solution suited to your end use and environment. We consistently deliver sturdy, safe, and compliant fleet modifications on time, and on budget to help keep your 4×4 fleet on the road for longer. For simpler fleet management in Perth, contact us today for a fit-out solution.