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Andy Allen's blog: How to minimise fleet downtime

Date: 13 February 2017

One of the greatest sources of frustration for fleet managers is unplanned vehicle downtime, sometimes known as vehicle off-road time. Unscheduled repairs and servicing mean an asset is costing - not making - money for a business.

It goes without saying that VOR can cause huge disruptions to your fleet's operations and can add to its costs. Research suggests that many operators put the cost of having a vehicle off road between £3,000 and £4,000 per day. An average of three VOR days per year is not unusual.

With costs like these it's critical to minimise the risk of unscheduled repairs, so there are some steps it's worth taking to minimise the amount of disruption.

Robust routine checks

Vehicle breakdowns are often caused by damaged or faulty equipment which could have been easily spotted during a routine maintenance check. Make sure all your vehicles are routinely checked. By making these compulsory, your drivers can identify and report any benign issues before they worsen and begin to interfere with the performance of the vehicle.

Driving style

While you may consider your employees to be experienced and proficient drivers, regular training can only help build their knowledge and awareness of potential road risks, and how to cope with them.

Confident and well-trained drivers are less likely to be involved in an accident - one of the most common causes of VOR - while smooth and controlled driving is easier on the vehicle itself, reducing the likelihood of wear and tear - another contributing factor to vehicle off-road time.

Scheduled maintenance and servicing

This can be seen as 'planned VOR'. Regular preventative maintenance and servicing is crucial to keep your vehicles in good working order, but you should try to schedule such work for a time that will cause least impact for your fleet's operations, such as the weekend.

While these types of checks could prove costly and time-consuming in the short-term, they're likely to prevent VOR in the long term.

Andy Allen is head of BP Fuel Cards.