You’ll experience fleet downtime if ever one of your vehicles needs to go in for any type of repair or is out of action for any given reason. As soon as one of your vehicles is off the road then the impacts on your business can be wide ranging – your service may suffer, your productivity will be impacted and there will be subsequent financial implications.
Whilst there is a certain inevitability to experiencing downtime within your fleet, as a fleet manager or operator it is important to take steps to reduce or minimise the likelihood of this as far as possible. Whilst also keeping a focus on driver safety and wellbeing.
Tips for minimising and reducing fleet downtime
Choose the right vehicles
Initially choosing the right vehicles for your fleet will be an important step in ensuring fleet downtime is kept to a minimum.
Do your research and pick vehicles with strong reliability data. Pick vehicles which are suited to the job they will be used for. This is particularly true of vehicles such as vans – overloading or using a vehicle without the right capacity can cause unnecessary strain which can play a role in increasing the amount of maintenance required.
Carry out regular vehicle checks
You should encourage your employees to carry out some basic daily vehicle checks to keep a handle on the condition of their vehicle. Not only can this improve safety for your drivers, but if you pick up any issues early, they can be addressed quickly and more easily than if left to become a significant problem. Therefore, reducing the likelihood of a prolonged period of downtime
If you operate a fleet of lorries or HGV’s then carrying out specific daily checks will be mandatory for your drivers.
Carry out regular maintenance
Make sure you carry out all vehicle maintenance as soon as it is required. Taking this approach can also enable you to plan the maintenance and make it work within your schedule. For example, is it best to schedule your vehicle maintenance first thing in the morning so that drivers can then have their vehicle back in good time and carry on with their day?
If you can schedule maintenance, then the impact of fleet downtime can be managed. This is likely to be much less disruptive than unplanned maintenance.
Educate your drivers
The way that a vehicle is driven can also impact the amount of maintenance that it will require. Educate your drivers on the best way to drive to look after their vehicle. Focus both on areas that can reduce wear and tear and on driver safety and minimising the likelihood of accidents.
Technology like telematics and gamification can also come in useful here, allowing you to use data to identify driver behaviours that are a focus for improvement in your business
Consider breakdown cover
If you run a fleet of vehicles, then you may benefit from a commercial breakdown cover policy which will cover multiple vehicles. Make sure your drivers are aware of the cover and how to access it if they need to make use of it.
Ensuring your drivers have quick access to breakdown cover will reduce the amount of time they are off the road and out of action.
Have a good accident management process
Unfortunately, there may be occasions where your drivers are involved in a road traffic accident. So, it will be important to have a strong accident management process in place which your drivers are trained on. Ensure they have a good awareness of the steps they should take if an accident does occur.
- Drivers should collect as much information as possible at the scene of the accident – this can be photos of the accident, registration numbers, witness details etc
- The accident should be reported to your insurer as soon as possible and ideally when at the roadside
- Avoid admitting liability at the scene – this can be determined by insurers
Taking these steps and obtaining the right information when reporting an insurance claim can all help make the repair process more straightforward and minimise the risk of inflated repair costs, disputes on liability and fraudulent claims.
The importance of insurance
Whilst you can take precautionary steps, sometimes accidents and vehicle issues do happen so make sure you have the right cover in place to cover these eventualities. This can range from having the right fleet or commercial vehicle insurance in place, to having breakdown cover which is available to all your drivers.
At Anthony Jones, we believe that you really only discover the value of your insurance when you come to claim. We prioritise the claims process for all our customers. Our dedicated claims team are with you throughout the process, guiding and supporting you until the claim has been settled. They can also keep you updated on the status of your vehicle.
We have a wealth of experience in the commercial motor insurance sector and can help you find the right insurance for your needs, whether you have run a fleet of cars or vans, or manage a large haulage business. Chat to us today on 020 8290 9099 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.