Jo McDonnell's blog: How to minimise fleet downtime
27 March 2019
BP Fuelcards' UK fuel cards manager offers top tips for keeping your vehicles on the road.
Vehicle off-road time (VOR) can cause major disruptions to your fleet's operations, affecting revenue targets, and can cost up to £4,000 per day.
Inevitably, your fleet will experience some unplanned VOR, with the most common causes being incident damage and mechanical problems.
While to some extent this is unavoidable, there are simple steps you can take to keep the time wasted to a minimum.
1. Improving driving style
Smooth and controlled driving with sensible acceleration, braking, and turning, helps reduce wear and tear on the tyres, clutch and engine, which as well as causing VOR costs would also require maintenance expenditure.
Allowing you to track the success of your driver training, telematics can be a great tool to provide actionable insight on how each driver is performing. BP and TomTom Telematics have worked to develop BP Fleetmove Pro, which allows you to view accurate information on your drivers. The integrated 'Optidrive 360' feature monitors performance, allowing drivers to be aware of their driving style, leading to safe and sensible driving.
2. Preventing accidents
Similarly, road accidents are one of the most common causes of VOR, so helping build drivers' knowledge and awareness of potential road risks can help keep your vehicles on the road.
Installing speed limiters can also help. Restricting vehicles to the national speed limit will be safer, as well as leading to fuel savings and protecting the reputation of your fleet on the road.
3. Staff accountability
Measuring your fleet downtime can help a fleet manager to hold drivers accountable for the VOR of their vehicle. Demonstrating to your drivers the cost of damage to the business of VOR will make them feel more inclined to care for their vehicle on and off the road, including carrying out proper pre- and post-trip checks, therefore minimising unplanned downtime.
4. Routine checks
Vehicle breakdowns are often caused by damaged or faulty equipment which could have easily been spotted during a routine maintenance check. By making them compulsory, your drivers can identify and report any benign issues before they worsen and begin to interfere with the performance of the vehicle
5. Scheduled maintenance and servicing
Don't wait until a breakdown leads to a missed deadline. Scheduled maintenance - known as planned VOR - is an easy way to reduce downtime, reducing the risk of an unexpected breakdown and prolonged time off-road. While these types of checks require an upfront investment in cost and time, they could prevent prolonged and expensive VOR in the long term.