No matter how careful and conscientious you are regarding your fleet, breakdowns will occur. The prevailing wisdom: plan ahead.
A recent HDT article discussed the seven mistakes fleets make that can impede and delay roadside repairs. We are now in the worst part of the year when it comes to bad weather, bad road and traffic conditions, and a greater need for preventive maintenance and identification of any vehicle issues.
Joe Gallick, senior vice president of sales for NationaLease, is one of the experts cited in this article and he has two very important points to make:
- Don’t wait for a breakdown to find a breakdown service. You’ve performed PM on your vehicles; you do everything possible to keep every vehicle in your fleet road-ready. Yet even with all that, breakdowns are inevitable. Few things are as important to a carrier or to a private fleet as is making deliveries on time…so finding a breakdown service provider that can help ensure limiting the amount of off-road time is essential.
But not all breakdown service providers are the same, so how do you find the one that’s right for you. According to Joe Gallick, companies should “meet with various breakdown service providers and review their offerings.” He also notes that some companies may choose to go through a call center rather than an individual service provider. If that is the case, then fleet owners should inquire if the service providers are graded for their performance and how often that occurs. It is the call center’s responsibility to vet each service provider in its network so make sure to inquire how the call center makes its assessments.
It’s also important for the fleet to inform either the call center or the service provider who at the fleet operation must be notified when a problem occurs and also, Joe notes, “the escalation process the call agent needs to follow” based on the kind of road service event that occurs. Since different people may need to be notified depending on the type of event that has occurred, the call agent needs to know who to call and what procedures to follow.
- Don’t be stingy with information. To eliminate delays during an event…in order to get the vehicle back on the road quickly, it is essential to have as much information upfront and accessible at all times as possible. Joe suggests the fleet should complete a unit template for each vehicle so that “the breakdown service provider or network puts complete and accurate information on the specs of each vehicle into a database.” It is also important for the service provider or call network to know your fleet’s communication protocols, notifications, and approval levels for expenses.
Joe also notes that going through all of these procedures may take a longer time than originally anticipates; however, as he also notes, in the end, “it will speed up the actual breakdown repair process.”
Check out NationaLease’s Emergency Road Service with its 900 service provider locations.