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  • Fleet vehicle downtime: The true cost of having a vehicle off the road

    Fleet vehicle downtime

    Having one of your fleet vehicles off the road could be affecting your bottom line. It’s not just the cost of maintaining your vehicle with the annual MOT and service, but the actual downtime when your vehicle isn’t operating can be costing you too.

    What costs the business so much money?

    1)    The deterioration of vehicles

    It’s not just regular maintenance that vehicles need, but over time repairs can become more severe, parts may need to be replaced and, in more serious scenarios, breakdown costs can be extortionate.

    For larger vehicles, you’ll be looking at towing costs, emergency repairs and call out charges. These more tangible costs can be budgeted for and adjusted annually to cater for older vehicles.

    Peter Horsefield, the Founder of Smart Advice, states that "putting off or prolonging important maintenance such as servicing can actually really impact your workforce. This can be from their comfort, for example insufficient air condition through the summer months, to potentially catastrophic consequences due to lax maintenance or inadequate insurance."

    2)    The cost of lost opportunity

    What can really cost the business, is the lost opportunity cost. When your vehicle is off the road, it cannot contribute to productivity and company profits. Therefore, the loss is what could have been earned if the vehicle was still on the road.

    Because the cost is a lost opportunity, it can be more difficult to measure, which is why it can often be overlooked by businesses.

    It could be that it is a specialist vehicle that is off the road, meaning you are unable to offer those services. In addition to this, employees may not be able to get to customers or deliver services on time. Causing delays, unhappy customers and customers going elsewhere to competitors. All of these contribute negatively to your business and profits.

    Budgeting proactively can help

    Unanticipated costs can affect a businesses budget and bottom line so it’s imperative that these costs are catered for. Keeping track of each individual vehicle and the maintenance required can help you adjust the budget.  

    When a vehicle is bought, the manufacturer handbook will have instructions on when parts will need to be serviced and replaced. Keeping an accurate diary of when these milestones will come about, as well as when fleet insurance is due, can help you to adjust the budget accordingly. It also means that major repairs and breakdowns can be avoided. Such as when parts are replaced before damage becomes irreparable or unsafe.

    Not only can this help you to budget, but it can also add to the safety of your fleet drivers. It also means when you have planned maintenance on a vehicle, you can adjust appointments so that customers can order services at times when the vehicle is in action, instead of having delayed deliveries and cancellations.

    Reducing downtime through telematics

    Although it’s important to budget for repairs, there can be times when a vehicle may slip through the net. Luckily, most modern vehicles are fitted with their own computer system which contains telematics data.

    Telematics can track a vehicle’s location, monitor their average speed and record patterns of driving such as braking. This technology can help to monitor vehicle and driver behaviour and identify any problems before they occur.

    That’s why telematics can be a major saviour when it comes to vehicle downtime. It can help businesses plan accordingly without causing major disruptions to services.

    Not only this, but joining the revolution in digital transformation will certainly help increase efficiency. There are companies such as Lexx Technologies that use artificial intelligence, deep machine learning and natural language processing to optimise availability and on-time performance.

    Insuring your fleet

    Whilst most business fleets will put money away for vehicle maintenance, one of the easiest ways to protect your business is with fleet insurance. Whilst recording real-time data and budgeting can help, insurance can provide an extra safety net for the business.

    The cost of insurance can easily be added to the budget and can cover major repairs, breakdown costs and even provide you with a replacement vehicle during any downtime.

    What’s more, the business may not have the funds immediately to cover expensive repairs. Therefore, fleet insurance can help find the funds, and get your vehicle back on the road a lot faster. Which means it can be earning you money again in no time at all.

    When it comes to the protection of your fleet, it takes management, maintenance, budgeting and proactivity. Without these aspects, you’re likely to pay more than you expect on keeping your fleet at its best.

    Want to find out more about Bluedrop's Motor Fleet Insurance?
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