Fun fact of the day: According to the American Transportation Research Institute, it costs a fleet roughly 15 cents per mile on average for maintenance and repair. That equates to approximately 10% of a fleet’s vehicle-based operating costs.Molly MacKay Zacker, VP of operations at MacKay & Company, a market research company for the trucking, construction and agricultural equipment industries, notes some interesting findings in her company’s Truck and Trailer Service Study:
- Fleets are currently conducting 75% of their vehicle maintenance in house
- However, upon re-surveying these same fleets, management indicates they want to outsource more of their service work, BUT, the percentage of in-house service continues to remain steady.
- MacKay predicts that in 2020, 68% of the 672 million service labor hours will be handled in house.
Why Outsource Vehicle Maintenance?
In a word: Productivity. In fact, Chris Kemmer, a consultant at CK Commercial Vehicle Research, says the average productivity gain from outsourcing maintenance is 14.5%. Trucks are continuing to get more and more complex and, unfortunately, there also appears to be a shortage of qualified technicians who can competently service complicated diagnostic tools and telematics integration systems. The time saved by having a vehicle serviced quickly and efficiently (so that you can get back on the road) is priceless.
A likely scenario is that of the small and medium-sized fleet owner who may not have the kind of shop technology and technician training to fully service their vehicles -- And, thus, may find they need to outsource at least some (but, not all) of their service and maintenance work. As you can, there are endless considerations when outsourcing truck maintenance.
Ensuring Successful Outsourcing Outcomes
Here are some tips for ensuring your vehicle maintenance and outsourcing endeavours lead to overall cost savings and increased productivity:
Get very clear on what you want done and why you want it done. Once you’ve established your goals and determined what repairs you can and can’t do in-house, you can go out and find a vendor who is not only cost effective, but who can actually meet your service needs.
Don’t let yourself get too bogged down in price. Repair turnaround times and whether or not they can fix your truck properly the first time around are all factors that you need to consider in the vendor selection process.
Always keep your options open. Make sure you have more than one service provider that you can rely on just in case your primary vendor can’t fit you in and/or they don’t have all the necessary parts available at the time you need them. And, remember, you don’t have to outsource ALL your truck maintenance and repair. Figure out where your technicians excel and where there are knowledge gaps. If your team has the skills to do 40% of the repair work, we recommend you keep that work in house for as long as it remains cost effective to do so.