Magazine for the professional fleet manager managing 10-50 company vehicles.
Issue link: http://businessfleet.epubxp.com/i/214218
FLEET MANAGEMENT A HIGH-MILEAGE PLAN These feet managers regularly run their feet to more 200,000 miles using fanatical preventive maintenance, preemptive parts replacement, driver accountability and corporate pride. BY A N N I E LU B I N S K Y I IN 2008 AND 2009, WHEN FLEETS were feeling the squeeze of the Great Recession, many companies had no choice but to keep their vehicles in service longer than they had before. This business decision brought closer attention to servicing and maintenance. Over time, feet managers realized they could comfortably keep higher-mileage vehicles in service, as long as they followed certain guidelines for maintenance and parts replacement. These feet managers regularly run their trucks and vans to more than 200,000 miles by incorporating fanatical preventive maintenance, preemptive parts replacement, driver accountability and corporate pride. And they make sure to stick to their plan. INSTILLING PRIDE OF OWNERSHIP Veit, a construction company headquartered in Rogers, Minn., used to 12 run its vehicles to 100,000 to 150,000 miles before retiring them, but when the recession hit, the company made the business choice to run to 200,000 miles. "In doing that, the [maintenance] costs didn't change much from 150,000 to 200,000 miles," says Don Emmel, Veit's feet manager. Today, with few exceptions, "I won't retire anything unless it gets to 200,000 miles," he says, while a handful of vehicles have passed the 300,000mile mark. Emmel has found some feets lose focus on maintenance once a vehicle reaches 100,000 miles because they think they might be ready to get rid of them. "Never change the focus," Emmel says. "Plan on your vehicles making it to 300,000 miles and stay with the maintenance plan." Veit's feet consists mainly of half-ton, ¾-ton and one-ton pickups. About 80% of the feet consists of BUSINESS FLEET NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2013 General Motors vehicles (Silverado and Silverado HDs) while the rest are Fords. Emmel says that improvements in GM's trucks with the 2010 model year have cut his unscheduled maintenance costs considerably. Veit's high-mileage strategy starts with strict preventive maintenance. Oil and flter changes are done at 5,000 miles instead of the manufacturer's recommended intervals of 7,000 and 10,000 miles. While the full synthetic oil isn't breaking down, Veit has found that the oil flters are reaching capacity with contamination due to heavy job site use. Emmel extends this strict schedule to transmission service, which is performed at 30,000 miles and 50,000 miles instead of the recommended 70,000 miles and 100,000 miles. By cutting that interval in half, "I have not had one transmission failure in fve years," Emmel says. WWW.BUSINESSFLEET.COM