The financial impact of maintenance downtime

The financial impact of maintenance downtime

Downtime is a silent enemy that bucks your budget without making too much of a noise. We do not discuss the downtime caused by operational transport factors (loading / unloading waiting time and the lack of drivers), but we focus only on the downtime caused by maintenance and accidents. An airplane, in order to return the investment, must produce revenues. Revenue is only collected when the airplane is operational, as far as possible as  24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The same calculation applies to trucks. Ideally, they should run non-stop, of course, with the cargo in the semitrailer. Especially in international transport, this is not possible due to regulations on driving times, the impossibility of ensuring a number of drivers and the logistics center work schedule.

Practically, we are left with a rather narrow window of time when our truck must produce revenue. When the truck is standing still due to planned maintenance and especially unplanned maintenance, money is lost from the two directions: no further revenue and additional costs for returning the vehicle in running order.

A non-productive day of a truck costs about 250-300 euros. We talk about fixed costs that come together regardless of whether the car is in the race or is still standing.

When, on a fleet of 50 trucks, we average 15 trucks that lose a working day on average each month, we account for direct losses of at least 45,000 euros each year. In other words, every two years we lose the equivalent of a new tractor unit.

What can be done?

First of all, we need to have an instrument measure of these dead times. Usually this is done with software. We can’t take action on an item for which we do not have exact data.

Secondly, we have to make sure that, internally, we have all the procedures well established. Not to waste time in the dialogue between the dispatcher and the technical department. The technical manager knows very well what to do in all situations but needs a proper way to communicate.

Thirdly, we need to make sure that we do our best to prevent malfunctions and to effectively plan for preventive maintenance.

What would these measures be?

Using a dashboard from which we know the timing of the MOT, tachograph, and usual service, we can make an entry plan so that the lost time is minimal. If we have more than one vehicle in the same day or week, we can make the decision to overtake some of the works in order not to crowd out the service or exceed the terms of service. Good collaboration with dispatch is crucial for vehicles to become available to the service department and this is not easy.

Technical checks that are not made in time can lead to malfunctions that will make it impossible to continue the trip. In other words, it is in everyone's interest to have preventative maintenance done on time. Another advantage of planning is the possibility of in-service programming. Exact programming in a partner service leads to saving important hours that would otherwise be wasted waiting.

A system of recording technical failures signaled by the drivers helps in making decisions by the technical department before a small problem turns into an important one.

When entering the workshop, for planned or unplanned work, we should resist the pressures of the transport department and technical problems that could lead to a subsequent immobilization should be resolved.

Increased attention should be paid to tires knowing that most of the road breakdowns are due to a defective tire. Air pressure must be constantly refilled at intervals not exceeding 90 days. The tread depth is an element to be taken into account because a worn tire can lead to an accident or may incur a fine. At the same time, a worn tire can get a puncture easier than a new one.

When working with multiple workshops, great care must be taken to the total time lost for that work. Not only the hourly labor rate is important. Does not matter if I have a small fee and then I lose precious hours at the queue, or worse, to get back to service for the same defect. The time required for the journey to and from the service must also be accounted for. The comparison between workshops must also take into account the additional time factor of the actual type of work in service.

As a conclusion, a good organization, compliance with service plans and good maintenance practices, coupled with an exact reporting system, brings significant financial savings practically without any additional investment.

Learn more about how Smart Fleet Solution can help you
be in control of your business!

Request a detailed presentation