Managing a fleet of commercial vehicles comes with a huge number of challenges. Chief among these is maintenance. As the average age of commercial vehicles has gone up, so too has the average age of commercial vehicles. In the United States, the average age of commercial vehicles on the road is approaching 12 years. Keeping older personal vehicles in good shape is tough, but keeping commercial vehicles operational is an entirely different ballgame. The trucks in your fleet likely see several times more miles every year than the average personal car, leading to much greater wear and tear.
While a key component of maintenance is having the right personnel with the right skills and expertise, parts availability is important as well. Having the right parts at the right time is key to keeping your trucks on the road and minimizing the cost of downtime. These tips will help you to stay on top of your inventory so that a lack of parts doesn't keep your trucks off of the road.
Managing a fleet isn't like fixing a broken part on your personal car. When one of your trucks breaks down, you need to have the part available immediately. If it's an uncommon part that you don't already have in your maintenance warehouse, then it is important that you can have it shipped to your maintenance facility as soon as possible. A key part of building this sort of just-in-time logistics network is establishing relationships with suppliers. Any truck parts supplier that you work with should have accounts specialists ready to work with you to get difficult to find or unusual parts to your door with minimal delay.
It is important to know which parts on your trucks are most likely to need replacement on a regular basis as well as what items should be present in your inventory for routine maintenance tasks. Keeping detailed records of vehicle maintenance can help you to anticipate future needs, but this is an area where your parts supplier can work with you as well. Having an established relationship with a parts supplier that you can trust means that you can discuss the details of your fleet with them in order to determine which parts you should keep in your inventory and which can be ordered on an as-needed basis.
While keeping parts that you are likely to need on-hand is vital to having a maintenance operation that functions smoothly, overstocking parts can lead to its own set of problems. The more parts you have on hand means the less space is available and the more difficult it can be for your technicians to find what they need. When considering a large order, it is important to speak with your supplier to determine if you are ordering a greater quantity of parts than you will likely need. A truck equipment and parts supplier has likely dealt with operations of a similar size before and they can help to advise you on whether you are overstocking your maintenance warehouse.