What is Predictive Fleet Maintenance?

Keeping your fleet in proper working order can feel like a full-time job in and of itself. Your vehicles are the heart and soul of your operation, and if even one of them is out of commission, it can wreak havoc on your schedule, cause client dissatisfaction, and severely impact your bottom line.  

Most fleets perform preventative maintenance to stop issues in their tracks. These regularly scheduled “checkups” for your vehicles are critical to the long-term performance of your fleet. If you have yet to start predictive fleet maintenance, you could be putting your fleet at a disadvantage.

Predictive vs. Preventative

First things first: what exactly is predictive maintenance?

Predictive maintenance is the practice of identifying performance issues early, thanks to real-time machine operation data. Essentially, you and your team can detect emerging issues and make the necessary repairs during machine operation. This way, production isn’t interrupted for maintenance tasks, and any necessary shutdowns can be quick and targeted to minimize downtime.

Predictive maintenance differs from preventative maintenance primarily in its timing. Predictive maintenance occurs as needed, so you can find minor problems before they become major issues. On the other hand, preventive maintenance happens at regularly scheduled intervals, regardless of whether the vehicle or machine in question actually needs repairs or upkeep.

Both predictive and preventative maintenance have a place in your fleet management plan. Utilizing these maintenance techniques can help you avoid the dreaded reactive (or corrective) maintenance. Reactive maintenance occurs only when equipment has already broken down or stopped working correctly, resulting in significant downtime and a stressed maintenance team.  

Tips for Effective Predictive Fleet Maintenance

Predictive maintenance takes some work to implement, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. If you’re considering predictive maintenance practices for your fleet, here are a few tips to get you started.

Find a Tech Expert 

With all the data you’ll be collecting, working with someone who knows the techniques and processes inside and out is essential. This could be an outside party, but it might be worth bringing someone on board full-time if you have a large fleet to take care of.

Predictive maintenance requires a thorough knowledge of  technology for your fleet to be effective. If your vehicles and data collection technology aren’t working together, you won’t gather the information you need to improve.

Collect Real-Time Data

Preventative maintenance takes advantage of historical data and best practices to tackle potential issues within your equipment. But with predictive fleet maintenance, you’ll need to collect measurements from your machines or vehicles as they’re operating in their normal states.

Condition-monitoring equipment can help you analyze the collected data and see where problems may arise. If you notice the same potential issues coming up repeatedly, you can dive deeper to find out the cause and pay particular attention to those areas during your preventative maintenance tasks.

Don’t be afraid to start small. Pick a handful of assets to monitor in the beginning. Some of the most common data collection methods include thermography, electromechanical systems, lubrication, and wear.

Communicate with Employees

Any change in your company will surely come with some friction, but that doesn’t have to be bad. Work closely with your employees to explain your updated processes and train them on proper predictive maintenance techniques.

Taking the process slowly will allow everyone on your team to acclimate to your new system. Be patient with your team and work together to sort out the kinks. Before long, your predictive maintenance plan will run like a well-oiled machine.

Keep Your Fleet Moving

Predictive maintenance may seem like a big shift from your current maintenance practices, but it is worth looking into, regardless of the size of your fleet. Knowing you are ahead is one less thing on your long to-do list.

If you are looking for one more thing to take off your list, consider switching to the Guttman Energy Fleet Fuel card. Guttman has you covered if you are looking for a trusted fleet fuel card partner. Schedule your free invoice analysis today for a no-obligation look at what the Guttman Fleet Fuel card can do for you.

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As Director of Marketing for Guttman Holdings, I lead our advertising, digital marketing, branding, and public relations strategies, and share my expertise to communicate key messaging to all our stakeholders. With my diversified leadership background, I also drive innovation and cutting-edge business practice and results, to generate interest in Guttman Energy, Guttman Renewables, and Source One service offerings.

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