Winter Fleet Maintenance
By Robert MacKay
Like it or lump it, it’s time to begin winter maintenance planning and scheduling. Although I must admit, even thinking about winter right now takes some motivation.
Given the harsh environment of winter operations, winter fleet maintenance planning and scheduling is a key component of your equipment maintenance log and can have a significant impact on the longevity of your equipment. Maintenance planning and scheduling does not have to be complicated, but it does need to be comprehensive and consistent.
It is recommended that starting in late summer; your winter fleet maintenance checklist should be reviewed for each piece of equipment. This will help you identify maintenance and repairs that need to be addressed before the snow flies. It will also help you prioritize and minimize equipment downtime. Winter related equipment and shop supplies should also be checked in advance of winter’s onset, especially for specialized parts that may take longer to arrive or for those parts that are prone to go on back order. Don’t forget the truck safety kits!
Some companies opt to reply on the operator or drivers to report upcoming maintenance in advance and use a fleet maintenance spreadsheet as a truck maintenance log. Depending on the organization, this method can have good and bad results but becomes more challenging for organizations that have between 25 and 250 pieces of equipment.
For smaller fleets, a fleet maintenance spreadsheet is generally adequate to accomplish basic maintenance planning and scheduling. However, if your fleet is larger than 25 pieces, or if you have unique checklists and handwritten forms, or you have a wide variety of equipment types, fleet/equipment maintenance software is worth considering.
Fleet maintenance software can generally ease the burden of maintenance planning and scheduling, and the tasks associated. There are affordable and easy-to-use small fleet maintenance software options for small fleets and those organizations with modest budgets. Just beware that not all fleet maintenance software products make maintenance planning and scheduling easy. The ability to update your winter fleet maintenance checklist on the fly, as well as generate it automatically at work order creation, can save time and ensure consistency.
Regardless of the method you choose, the main considerations for any winter fleet maintenance plan is to ensure consistency, to be comprehensive, and to be easily accessed and updated.
If you do not have a winter fleet maintenance plan, now is the time to start thinking about it and making notes. A good starting point is a fleet maintenance spreadsheet.
Robert MacKay is President of Fleet Harmony Inc., Canada’s Cloud fleet management software solution, fleet management for small business. Learn more at www.fleetharmony.com.☚