What is Preventative Maintenance? Here are the Basics for Protecting Your Fleet or Equipment

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What is Preventative Maintenance? Here are the Basics for Protecting Your Fleet or Equipment

Conducting maintenance: you wouldn’t consider putting it off for your car, but many companies ignore the need for maintenance on their work equipment. Maybe your company falls into this category more often than you’d like to admit.

Unfortunately, failure to maintain your equipment can lead to costly problems down the road.

According to a KPMG study, a single breakdown could cost as much as 3,000. Preventable surprises like this are simply too costly to ignore, even if you have a relatively small number of vehicles in your fleet.

In this blog, you’ll learn the basics of preventative maintenance and how to protect your fleet and equipment, to ensure you get the most out of the assets you have deployed.

Preventative Maintenance Basics for Fleet Vehicles or Equipment

Regularly scheduled PM service may seem like a no-brainer, but it helps to start with a basic definition and understanding of why this is so important.

What is preventative maintenance and what does it accomplish?

Simply put, preventative maintenance (or preventive maintenance) is designed to ensure that not only your fleet, but the equipment you depend on continues to operate as expected when you need it to and is safe to operate. Vehicles like trucks obviously fall into this category, but preventative maintenance is important for backup generators, trailers, or any other piece of equipment your organization depends on.

Generally, this type of maintenance is performed while the machine in question is still running perfectly. You might not have noticed any hint of a problem–and if you’re like many people, that might mean kicking the can and putting off maintenance for a little while longer.

The problem with putting off preventative maintenance

The main problem with putting off preventative maintenance is that over time, things will eventually wear down and sometimes even stop working completely.

Sure, a few of your vehicles may be able to continue to operate a few thousand miles over the recommended oil change date, but can you really afford the long-term consequences?

Especially as the business grows, taking the time to create a preventative maintenance schedule as early as possible is the most effective way to ensure that your equipment keeps running smoothly, and less time is spent on urgent repairs.

Preventative maintenance doesn’t just apply to trucks or vehicles

As mentioned earlier, preventative maintenance is important not only for vehicles, for all of the equipment your business depends on, including:

  • Printers, scanners, or other critical office equipment
  • Trailers
  • Backup generators
  • Heavy manufacturing equipment
  • Any tool used to accomplish daily construction tasks

These are just a few, but really any piece of machinery or equipment your team uses as an integral part of your business qualifies.

3 Simple Benefits of Implementing Routine Preventative Maintenance

benefits of preventative maintenance for fleets and equipment

Outside of preventing downtime and avoiding setbacks due to equipment failure, there are a few fringe benefits worth mentioning.

Cleaner and better performing equipment

Obviously, over time, dust, debris, and leftover materials can cause problems for just about any piece of machinery you deploy, preventing it from running as smoothly as it could.

In some cases, the buildup can even cause a machine to stop working altogether, especially if you ignore cleaning for an excessive period of time.

One common example in transportation is regularly servicing air filters as part of preventative maintenance. Scheduling filter replacements is key to keeping engines performing as cool as possible, and may even improve fuel economy to a degree.

Identifying potential problems…before they become problems

Even though a piece of equipment may appear to be running smoothly, it may have worn parts that go unseen or other problems that could quickly lead to a breakdown.

When you conduct maintenance on a regular basis, you reduce the risk of equipment breakdown by taking care of any potential problems that may not always be obvious.

Less costly repairs

Sometimes, regular maintenance includes replacing pieces in your equipment that are starting to break down or that have lived out their useful cycle. Many people view this type of maintenance as unnecessarily expensive and try to avoid it as often as possible.

However, when factoring in the ongoing cost of a preventative maintenance program, the cost benefits will drastically outweigh the unexpected costs of repairing or replacing un-serviced equipment.

What Happens Without Preventative Maintenance?

When you fail to conduct vital preventative maintenance on your equipment, you’ll quickly notice that problems start to mount. Here are some of the problems you’ll likely run into by putting it off:

Increased unscheduled downtime

In many industries like trucking, the last thing you want is to have employees standing around who have nothing to do while you wait for repairs to take place–not to mention a mounting backlog of work that needs to be completed.

While preventive maintenance leads to scheduled downtime for your equipment, this is obviously normal and can be planned for. Failure to conduct that maintenance, on the other hand, leads to unscheduled downtime. This leads to repairs that take longer to complete, sidelining equipment, and even employees that depend on them to do their jobs.

Not only are repairs more complex with unscheduled downtime, but identifying problems can take longer, and you may discover parts aren’t readily available to quickly complete repairs.  As a result, it may take longer to get the machine up and running again due to these delays.

Increased repair and replacement costs

Repairing or replacing a piece of machinery, many times results in costs far higher than conducting regular maintenance–especially when the failure to conduct maintenance leads to expensive repairs or the need to replace a piece of costly machinery in its entirety.

Ignoring basic maintenance can make repairs more costly when problems arise. As an example, the costs incurred when expediting the shipping on essential parts or sending mechanics off-site for emergency repairs can really impact your bottom line.

The bottom line

At the end of the day, you can’t predict exactly when mechanical failures and breakdowns will happen–but you can schedule preventive maintenance with a tool that both mechanics and drivers will appreciate.

Planned downtime for maintenance is not a bad thing, and can be designed to fit smoothly into your schedule so that you experience fewer problems as a result of the need for repairs.

How Does Whip Around Help With Preventative Maintenance?

By using technology to manage preventative maintenance, you don’t have to worry about unexpected maintenance sneaking up on you at the worst possible moment. A lot of factors go into choosing the right fleet maintenance software for your business, as you want to be careful to select a system that supports your fleet’s size, goals, and needs.

Here are a few benefits of leveraging an easy-to-use platform like Whip Around Maintain:

Keeping track of all of your equipment maintenance history

Wish you could know more about the last time you scheduled routine maintenance, or when you need to conduct it again?

It’s oftentimes difficult to keep up with each piece of equipment individually, but the Whip Around Preventative Maintenance feature keeps all of that information in one convenient location, available at the tips of your fingers.

Scheduling automatic maintenance reminders

Does maintenance often get away from you? Do you find yourself forgetting some of the most important elements of maintaining your equipment?

With Whip Around, you can have notifications sent out whenever it’s time to schedule maintenance on a piece of equipment. You can even include order lists that will let you know what parts or other items you will need to conduct that maintenance.

Send alerts to the right individual

When you use the Whip Around system, you can connect every member of your staff or send out reminders to the ones responsible for repairing or servicing each piece of equipment.

You can also easily customize who sees these reminders, so no one gets excess information. If you’re tired of dealing with paper for these types of tasks (or a confusing software platform that isn’t easy or effective) Whip Around is for you.

Get Started Today

To learn more about how Whip Around makes fleet inspections and preventative maintenance scheduling easier than ever, schedule a demo or start your free trial today (no credit card required).

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