Predictive maintenance is a valuable tool that will keep your fleet in optimal condition and can give your business an edge over the competition.
Businesses that rely on fleets for any part of their operation know that keeping your fleet in top condition reduces costs and improves performance. Predictive maintenance, however, takes it a step further by employing monitoring equipment and historical data to map out your fleet maintenance needs.
To run a truly efficient fleet, fleet managers must be able to plan ahead. If the past few years have taught us anything it’s that you need a plan in place for a range of scenarios from sudden downtime to rapid expansion and everything in between.
Predictive maintenance plays a big role in keeping fleet expenses to a minimum and allows you to estimate costs for a number of fleet scenarios.
Why predictive maintenance works
Predictive maintenance is not unique to the fleet industry. The concept applies to any scenario where equipment must be maintained, from IT networks, to hospitals or airlines. There are three approaches to equipment maintenance:
- Corrective maintenance - fixing once a problem occurs.
- Preventive maintenance - regular maintenance at specific intervals to prevent possible equipment wear or failure.
- Predictive maintenance - using sensors and historical data to get an accurate estimate when maintenance is needed and only perform equipment maintenance as needed.
All three approaches have some merit. In many industries, the equipment cost doesn’t justify an investment in preventive or predictive maintenance. This applies to ‘consumable’ equipment that’s more cost-effective to replace than maintain.
In many cases, preventive maintenance makes the most financial sense. Office equipment, for example, usually has a specified maintenance schedule and this works well. Most of the timer preventive maintenance keeps everything running smoothly and financial risk is relatively low.
Vehicles, however, are much more expensive to replace or repair, so the investment in predictive maintenance is low compared to the cost of downtime, breakdown repairs or full replacement.
With fleet management it makes financial sense to employ predictive maintenance this allows you to:
- Plan ahead and see exactly when each vehicle will need to go in for maintenance.
- Only pay for maintenance when it’s really needed.
- Have access to data that shows which vehicles perform best for your specific needs.
- Precisely budget for specific maintenance rather than a guesstimate.
The accuracy of predictive maintenance is a game-changer for fleet managers as it allows you to build a roadmap for your fleet operations and avoid a multitude of unplanned costs. This, in turn, allows you to allocate resources to other areas, such as driver training, that will further optimise your fleet.
How predictive maintenance works
Predictive maintenance only works when you are collecting the relevant fleet data. Fleet telematics systems can collect all vehicle information from engine performance and fuel consumption to tyre pressure and driver behaviour.
When you take all of this data and compare it to historical vehicle performance, as well as factors such as routes, expected mileage per vehicle and road conditions you’re able to predict when certain parts will require maintenance or replacement.
This allows you to plan for exact times and costs, which is the ultimate goal of fleet management.
As with all things fleet-related there are risks: if your telematics system is outdated, or the data is not correctly interpreted, there is a risk that your predictions will be incorrect. For this reason, you need to ensure your fleet management partner has a solid reputation for implementing predictive maintenance.
It’s worth it
The constant increase in fleet operating expenses leaves very little room for error and accurate predictive maintenance is the best way to keep your fleet in top condition at the minimum cost.
No matter the size of your fleet, predictive maintenance will help you reduce costs. Find out which solutions will best suit your business needs.
If your fleet costs keep climbing we will help you find ways to minimise expenses. Contact us to start the conversation and see which solutions could benefit your fleet.