Trevor Hodgson-Phillips, Head of Service and Parts at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, explains why a more proactive ‘uptime management’ approach could help businesses to minimise the impact of vehicle downtime.
Vehicle downtime should be one of the greatest considerations for those businesses that run vans. After all, if your vehicle’s not working, then the chances are that you’re not working either. So what can be done to maximise uptime, keep your vans on the road and minimise the cost and potentially damaging long-term consequences of this?
It’s a simple fact that a well-maintained fleet is more efficient. Any time a vehicle has to be off the road costs companies money, potentially damaging their reputation.
However, with greater pressure continuing to be placed on businesses by customers demanding products and services faster and at times to suit them, less time is being set aside to deal proactively with servicing and maintenance of their vehicles. As a result, many businesses are often facing larger repair bills and longer periods of costly vehicle downtime.
With this in mind, it is crucially important that business owners find the right partner to work with to help reduce downtime and keep their operations running smoothly.
Businesses that proactively address the controllable factors that contribute to a vehicle being off-the-road (such as
servicing and repairs) can avoid periods of unnecessary downtime. Unfortunately, most businesses tend to concentrate on reducing time off-the-road once the vehicle is down, instead of looking ahead and managing the vehicle’s ‘uptime’.
By turning the problem on its head and tackling issues before they happen, business owners can make routine servicing and repairs more efficient and hopefully reduce any time without their vehicles. By using simple systems such as pre-agreed service plans, online service maintenance and repair booking, flexible opening hours and like-for-like replacement courtesy vehicles, businesses can plan to help prevent vehicle downtime.
Sometimes finding time to get your vehicle serviced can be difficult. This is where businesses need to start thinking
differently about how and when they get their servicing undertaken.
The introduction of extended hours offers businesses the flexibility to fit servicing around workloads, for example, dropping your vehicle at a Van Centre at 6pm and collecting it at 8am the next day. In addition, provisions such as Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ mobile servicing offer allows businesses to have work carried out on-site at a time when the vehicle isn’t being used, ideal for businesses where a number of vehicles may be parked for long periods in one place.
Another tool to help businesses is online Service Booking. This system can help fleet managers plan ahead and diarise a Van Centre appointment. Customers simply select the type of work, date and drop-off time, and can also arrange courtesy vehicles and collection/delivery options, if offered by that provider through the system. Some manufacturers also offer a like-for-like replacement courtesy vehicles scheme which means that businesses can continue to operate, even if one of their vehicles requires servicing.
Whilst uptime management may require a step change in the way businesses run and manage their vehicles, it’s definitely the way forward and could significantly reduce the thorny problem that is downtime!