The economy seems to be on its way to recovery and business is on the rebound. Productive times in business are just as important when it comes to focusing on costs and profitability as when times are tough. If anything, the strategic mindset should be less about cost cutting and more about efficiency gains.
One place to start looking for greater efficiency in your paint contracting business is with your fleet of vehicles. With anywhere from five to 20 vehicles in your fleet, it pays to uncover ways to make these vehicles more efficient. In return, you can realize lower costs in areas, including gas, repairs, and safety expense.
In trying to add greater efficiency, however, the problem has always been how to accurately check these vehicles and pinpoint problem areas. After all, with so many vehicles it can be time-consuming and costly just to track vehicle and driver performance across the entire fleet. And, in a small fleet there is often no dedicated team or individual to oversee how these vehicles and drivers are performing on the road.
Technology is the solution and it is now changing how all types of fleet, including those in the paint contracting industry, are able to reduce costs, increase profitability, and achieve a better performance track record over time. Hereâ€™s why you may want to consider integrating maintenance management technology into your business.
Today's Fleet Issues
First, let's look at some of the key issues you most likely face on a daily basis in terms of ensuring an efficient, productive, cost-effective and safe fleet:
- Record Keeping and Expense Reports: Your team is most likely in charge of keeping track of their own records and expense reports, including fuel use, their daily mileage, and any necessary maintenance or repairs. This can take away from their main job, which is to complete a painting project in a timely manner. Or, because they are focused on that main job, they may forget to keep all their receipts or they submit an incomplete record of fuel use, mileage, and maintenance. The result can lead to more costs and less productivity when vehicles break down on the job.
- Reliability and Vehicle Maintenance Cycles: Vehicles need to be on the road in order to get projects done, so they must be reliable at all times. The problem is that with so many vehicles, it can become difficult to track which vehicle needs which type of maintenance or service, especially if each one was introduced to the fleet at a different time.
- Fuel Use and Mileage: With gas prices continuing to increase, fuel use becomes a critical metric to track, especially when costs must be contained throughout all economic cycles. To identify any inefficiencies with fuel use, it is also important to track mileage as a measurement. Plus, the mileage is important for other business purposes like taxes so it is critical that the team report their daily mileage. Often, though, this is forgotten, especially if using a paper log.
- Warranty and Recall Information: Warranties and recall information are both critical to maintaining a vehicle's performance. However, warranties are often shoved in a file cabinet and recall information may never reach you. This can impact the reliability, safety, and value of each fleet vehicle if this information is not tracked.
- Safety: A growing fleet management issue is driver safety, including how they drive in terms of speed and alertness. There is also the issue of vehicle safety. A vehicle that is not regularly maintained can lead to equipment failure, causing an accident that leads to injury or a fatality. No company wants to have that risk.
- Overall Vehicle Value: Spending money on a fleet vehicle is a sizable expense for a company. The better each vehicle is maintained, the longer it will last and the greater its value will be on the books, on the road, and on the re-sale lot. All of these factors impact your bottom line.