Guest Editorial: Happy with your ROI?

There are occasions when a maintenance shop may benefit from outsourcing some of its work. Using a set of pre-determined criteria to determine a business case for outsourcing can make the decision much more strategic. With an increased awareness and focus on safety and return on investment, it is essential that a selected contractor reflect a company’s focus on quality in order to ensure a successful partnership.

In these challenging economic conditions, companies and government agencies are under constant pressure to reduce costs without sacrificing quality or customer service. Organizations that outsource their fleet maintenance and management realize not only immediate cost reductions through efficiencies and improved productivity, but also longer-term savings in parts and time management.

The benefits of outsourcing fleet maintenance can be tied to four important and measurable results:

Improvement in company focus. Outsourcing allows an organization to focus on its core business while the contractor works as a business partner, managing the day-to-day activities of the fleet operation. By trusting a contractor to efficiently manage fleet maintenance, the organization can invest its time and money back into its core business functions.

Reduction in fleet operating costs. Organ­izations realize a variety of efficiencies when outsourcing their fleet maintenance, including:

  • Increased fleet availability – Turn around time is hours and days versus weeks due to extensive training and high skill levels of diverse fleet maintenance technicians.
  • Improved reliability of vehicles –Contractors have the ability to perform preventative maintenance on the organization’s fleet, which reduces breakdowns and unscheduled repairs.
  • Greater economies of scale – Organizations can utilize the contractor’s purchasing power for parts and equipment purchasing, which directly affects the bottom line. Organizations that try to do everything themselves may incur higher costs and expenses for parts, repairs and vehicle replacements. Once a maintenance provider is chosen, a thorough review of the customer’s fleet and business goals is essential to establish key performance indicators that will formulate the basis of a successful fleet maintenance program.

Improvement in productivity. One of the benefits to working with a contractor is that they are focused solely on the repair and preventative maintenance of the fleet. The highly skilled and trained technicians have specialized talent to keep vehicles of any size and shape ready to go when needed, which eliminates the need to send out specialized vehicles and equipment for repair.

Improved accuracy and increased focus on safety. When fleet maintenance and management functions are assumed by an expert, customers have a greater visibility into fleet and user metrics. Many of the larger contracting companies have a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) to accurately record, process and analyze metrics. With this software, a company can benchmark fleet metrics against similar fleets in their system to help with training and education or fuel and vehicle purchasing decisions.

Partnering with a company that has provided maintenance services in a specific industry or business sector provides a distinct safety advantage. Having a firm grasp on important performance indicators, as well as the necessities to safely maintaining a distinct fleet, can help organizations decrease injuries and incidents. Just like all businesses are not the same, neither are fleets.

Because a contractor’s reputation heavily rests on its safety record, a significant investment in both fleet maintenance and safety programming must be made to ensure its safe, efficient operation. Since great mechanics are the heart of a well-run fleet, a maintenance provider must employ only highly skilled technicians and maintain rigorous training programs to ensure each employee is abreast of current technology and safety requirements.

Outsourcing fleet maintenance and management can be a boon to a company’s success. The hard work and dedication of an outsourced management team pays dividends to its customers.

The decision to outsource fleet maintenance is one that must be carefully considered to ensure maximum safety, benefits and cost savings. When done correctly, a company can see growth and the potential for increased success in the coming years.