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To Have Maintenance Performed In-House or by Outside Vendors?

12/5/2014

There is no question that performing routine maintenance regularly and emergency repairs efficiently for your fleet are critical to maintaining safe operations and timely customer service. The real question is whether to have the maintenance performed in-house, by outside vendors or both. There are advantages and disadvantages to each of these solutions. Which one you choose should be based on the one that provides maximum fleet up-time with the lowest overall costs.

There are several advantages as well as a few disadvantages to servicing your fleet In-House.

    ADVANTAGES
  • Control costs
  • Quality control
  • Customized service procedures
  • Quicker vehicle turnaround
  • Lower parts cost
  • Familiarity with vehicles
  • Maintain own records with unlimited access
    DISADVANTAGES
  • High technician training costs
  • Not focusing on core business
  • On-hand parts inventory investment
  • Facility and human resource costs

The benefits of controlling costs and quality would need to outweigh the costs to maintain a shop and staff for the in-house option to be favorable.

Outsourcing your fleet maintenance provides you with certain advantages but not without a cost. It goes without saying that if benefits out way the costs, having your fleet serviced by outside vendors would be the best option.

    ADVANTAGES
  • Technicians trained on latest technologies
  • Fixed cost agreements
  • Work completed within warranty specifications
  • Expensive computer programs and diagnostic equipment
  • Emergency roadside repair service
  • Fleet maintenance is core business
  • Reduced capital investment required by company
    DISADVANTAGES
  • Poor quality control
  • Parts and service markup
  • Extended downtime
  • Unnecessary repairs

The American Trucking Association (ATA) Technology Maintenance Conference (TMC) Service Provider Committee had organized a task force to establish recommended practices for fleet maintenance vendors to address the following issues...

  1. Warranty handling
  2. Repair order approval
  3. Customer notification
  4. Successful practice for shop
  5. Recommended Standard Repair Time (SRT)
  6. Quality control


The intended goal was to reduce if not eliminate the obstacles that arise when employing outside vendors to maintain fleets by providing suggested practices making this option more desirable.

By utilizing both outside vendors and in-house technicians to maintain your fleet, you gain the advantages from both options.

  • Keep low on-hand inventory
  • Save costs on simple repairs and routine PM's performed in-house
  • Large and emergency repairs performed by outside vendors
  • Warranty work completed by outside vendor according to specifications
  • Vendors have training, technology and knowledge of uncommon or comprehensive repairs

Smaller companies performing fleet services in-house face the high costs of maintaining a shop, diagnostic equipment, trained technicians and on-hand inventory. If they employ outside vendors, they are faced with longer vehicle turnaround time. Repairs for smaller companies tend to be treated as less urgent by vendors.

Larger companies' fleet services needs tend to be placed at a higher priority by vendors. The vehicles have a shorter downtime. However, by performing service in-house they have better control over costs unless a service agreement is arranged.

Whether you are a small or a large company, the overall choice depends upon your available resources, costs and ability to fulfill the fleet maintenance service needs. Many companies choose to employ both options to receive the best of each.

No matter which source(s) you select to perform your fleet maintenance, Truck Tracker can record all work performed and associated costs. Truck Tracker is a versatile application allowing you to track the work performed by outside vendors and in-house technicians. The specific mechanic, vendor, service labor rates, parts costs and services performed are recorded and stored in the database allowing easy access. By utilizing Truck Tracker's extensive reports and Report Wizard, information can be retrieved to track mechanic performance, preventive maintenance, repetitive repairs (quality control) , parts replacement and escalating costs by vehicle or vendor. This information helps ensure that you are running a safe fleet at a low cost with the best customer service possible.