Compliant preventative maintenance is not optional
By: Anonymous Fleet Manager
I can’t say this any clearer! Preventative Maintenance is not optional!
Preventative maintenance is performed for a variety of reasons, the main ones being to ensure reliability, safety, compliance with manufacturers' requirements and state and federal legislation.
Although we rely on the knowledge and experience of the technicians in our workshops to provide input into our PM programs, the primary drivers of the PM program must be manufacturer's recommendations, industry best practice and internal policy and procedure.
So, if your procedures state that batteries are to be ‘load tested’ at every service (I highly recommend this) then it needs to be done. Time and time again I have witnessed experienced tradies exercising their own opinions – “I only test batteries when there is a problem!” Clearly these tradies are missing the point and need to be educated; the idea is to identify ‘potential issues’ before they become a problem.
The other issue with this type of attitude is that they are likely influencing other younger tradies and apprentices in the workshop and having a massive effect on the reliability and compliance of your fleet.
My top ten tips for preventative maintenance:
- Use manufacturers recommendations as a minimum standard for your PM program. Adjust your program to suit local conditions
- Use ‘flat rate’ PM service times to drive efficiency and cost effectiveness in your workshop (I recommend adding a minimum of 25% onto manufacturers recommended times)
- Monitor the effectiveness of your PM program through monthly ‘failure’ reporting. Are your fleet assets remaining in service without a defect between PM services?
- Check batteries, load test and clean terminals every PM service
- Pressure test radiators
- Check condition of coolant by ‘test strips’ or refractometer
- Service ‘air cleaners’ by restriction only
- Don’t forget the grease nipples
- Where possible: hook up diagnostic equipment to check for active ‘fault codes’
- Don’t forget the operators' comfort: a. Check the condition of the seat b. Change the wiper blades c. Clean the windows d. Wipe the dashboard
Remember- we don’t make up our scheduled service program on the run – if we did it wouldn’t be scheduled!
To stop our Anonymous Fleet Manager (AFM) blowing a gasket, we created Internal Combustion, a monthly column for fleet-related rants that lets him blow off some steam. Got a fleet gripe you'd like to get his opinion on? Email email@example.com and he'll pass it on to AFM... when he's in a good enough mood, that is.