Vehicle operating costs are always at the forefront of a Transport Manager’s mind. Davies & Robson have spent many hours with operators helping to improve transport planning processes, increasing fleet utilisation and thereby reducing product-delivery costs.
With the exception of fuel, fixed vehicle and maintenance costs tend to be determined at the time of purchase, especially when manufacturer or dealer repair and maintenance contracts are put in place.
Once a vehicle is purchased and contracts agreed, it is assumed there will be minimal on going cost-management required from the Transport Manager apart from non-contract maintenance items. However, there can be hidden costs of vehicle operations surrounding vehicle downtime and service arrangements within the R&M contract. Proper consideration of the following questions will pay dividends further down the road:
- How often are service time slots available to coincide with quiet periods?
- Does the service provider complete the scheduled service on time?
- How much time is lost during MOT preparation and failure?
- How much time is spent waiting for parts?
- How quickly does the service provider respond to driver defect reports and breakdowns?
- Does the service provider measure their performance, set targets and manage improvement?
- What are the cost implications if a vehicle is off the road? (usually over £50/hour)
- How many unnecessary hours do trucks lose each year?
Davies & Robson work to establish clear service and performance levels between fleet operators and maintenance service providers and use these measures as part of a comprehensive, on going service review. Getting this right enables maintenance providers to achieve clear levels of performance and reduces operating costs associated with vehicle downtime and delivery service failure.
Agreeing these service levels as part of the overall vehicle acquisition package can be as important to fleet operation cost as fleet purchase discounts or vehicle specification. It is important to clearly define requirements at the time of vehicle acquisition to achieve the best service package and minimise transport operating costs.