Top Six Fleet Maintenance Pointers By Pat DeSutter
Implement a dynamic replacement program: A sound replacement program identifies the specific break-even point where the maintenance costs of the asset will exceed the ownership costs. At this point, it is more economical to replace the asset. Numerous factors drive this decision including the severity of the application, rate of usage, type of truck and the type of maintenance it receives.
Have a maintenance program in place: One of the most critical elements to ensure you are getting optimal use and productivity out of your lift truck is to have a maintenance program in place and to monitor the program. At a minimum you should have a periodic maintenance program established that ensures that all critical areas of the truck are maintained to manufacturer recommendations and specifications.
Know your maintenance costs: You cannot manage what you do not measure. Having good baseline data is the first step toward understanding your real maintenance expenses at the asset level, which enables you to set specific goals for cost reduction.
Don’t turn a blind eye to avoidable damage: In many environments, avoidable damage associated with operator abuse can be as much as 35 to 40 percent of the total cost to maintain the lift truck. Use of maintenance tracking software and telemetry will provide the insights you need to attack and reduce this very costly aspect of maintaining your lift truck asset. Often an operator training program or review of processes will reveal corrective action opportunities to reduce these costs.
Aged assets and downtime: Not only will the maintenance costs increase as the asset ages, but factors such as parts obsolescence and increased opportunity for major repairs can contribute to significant downtime resulting in lost productivity. This is an often overlooked factor.
Consider partnering for competitive advantage: If you struggle with any of the above areas, consider enlisting the services of a quality fleet management partner. A fleet management provider can work as an extension of your operation to address and provide recommendations for each of these areas. Additionally, it can perform work order review and assessment, as well as help you compress administrative costs through providing centralized service call management and invoicing, to name just a few services available.
DeSutter is director fleet management, NACCO Materials Handling Group (NMHG), Greenville, NC.