Waste Advantage Magazine

Best Practices in Maintenance For Waste Handling Fleets

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With a fully operational, deployed and comprehensive maintenance software system, companies can increase their visibility to costs and operations performance.

Business profitability is measured by a variety of factors, from the amount of sales and service income to decrease (or increase) in administrative and operating expenses. For waste handling companies, fleet maintenance can represent a significant outgo in the last category. Using best practices can help control maintenance costs while extending the useful life of this valuable asset.

But what do “best practices” encompass? In the maintenance arena, best practices encompass a variety of areas, including inventory control, purchasing, repairs and, of course, maintenance: corrective, proactive, predictive and preventive. Another component involves potential environmental issues—a concern for onsite vehicle servicing that could involve materials such as waste antifreeze, brake washing solvent and any F-listed chemical. Implementing appropriate practices and procedures combined with ongoing monitoring and tracking ensures appropriate disposal of any toxic or hazardous substances as defined by the EPA, and prevents any fines or citations associated with failure to comply.

While it is possible to use a manual-based tracking system versus maintenance software to monitor maintenance schedules, the initial dollars saved will soon be spent, thanks to the inherent inefficiencies. Typical man hours increase approximately 10 to 20 percent, primarily driven by the size of fleet and scope of back office functions required when using a manual paper-based tracking system. Substantial cost saving benefits quickly become actionable when you switch from a manual system to a fully integrated maintenance software package.1

Reducing man-hours is clearly one benefit. But a second advantage can be attributed to ensuring the health of the very equipment that the company relies on. Without a comprehensive and automated maintenance program, companies run the risk of turning their equipment too soon, with a negative impact on their equipment lifecycle costs.2 However, using maintenance software means companies can keep their trucks running longer by ensuring that needed maintenance is performed on schedule. This eliminates the need to invest in new vehicles earlier than planned due to the consequences of inadequate servicing.

For waste handling companies committed to using best practices for fleet maintenance, the key is to implement a method that will increase efficiency, provide relevant reports on an as-needed basis and integrate all aspects of the operation into a coordinated, comprehensive system—a solution that can be as close as the company’s computer system. As for ROI, this can result from a variety of areas: money saved by better control over parts ordering and inventory, reimbursement from on-time submission of in-warranty claims, longer life for equipment due to on-time performance of necessary maintenance (both preventive and corrective), and reduced administrative expense due to reduced man-hours inputting information.

For those estimated 75 percent of waste handling fleets who have not yet converted to software-driven maintenance schedules, it is recommended that you first review all of the available modules in a software package and compare them against current needs. Not all the modules are necessary, especially at the beginning. Fleets can always grow into new modules as they improve their software skills.3

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