Opinion: Always Track Fleet Maintenance Costs
When maintenance is in-house, that kind of firsthand knowledge enables you to reduce breakdowns and shift costs from emergency repairs to far more efficient preventive maintenance. In a full-service lease, the same information enables you to curb the costs of leasing company charge-backs — bills for work over and above regular maintenance as spelled out in the lease agreement.
Moreover, leased fleet operators who use maintenance software have a far greater understanding of their equipment’s utilization, frequency of repairs, fuel efficiencies and areas of exposed risk and expense.
For example, you easily can see how driver complaints and issues turned in on daily vehicle condition reports are handled and compare them with work actually done.
Maintenance documentation helps you hold your lessor’s feet to the fire. You can demonstrate that a lost or late load was caused by equipment downtime caused by substandard maintenance or a lack of substitute equipment as called for in a lease agreement.
It’s important to remember, too, that where liability and Department of Transportation compliance are concerned, you are ultimately responsible for the safe operation and condition of the fleet. Proficient use of fleet maintenance software can help prevent losses due to substandard maintenance even in a full-service lease.
Further, when a lease contract expires, you have the detailed knowledge needed to negotiate a new agreement more to your advantage. You’re able to analyze competing full-service lease proposals and compare them with the cost of doing the work in-house. Knowing real fleet costs in granular fashion puts you in the driver’s seat, so to speak.
So why don’t more leased fleet operators use maintenance software?
Often, they simply don’t understand the need. In some cases, the leasing company doesn’t want to provide the necessary information — detailed maintenance and repair bills, for example. In others, the leasing company doesn’t have the information to provide.
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