12 Aug 20

How to reduce TCO through proper fleet maintenance in Latam

We all know that lowering total cost of ownership, commonly known as TCO, in your fleet is important. However, some of you may not be doing it to the extent you should.  It takes initial planning and then ongoing discipline throughout your fleet management tenure to get the results you want.

This requires carrying out daily vehicle checks and paying close attention to wear and tear and scheduling preventative maintenance tasks under constant service intervals. Also remember that record keeping and maintaining an asset registry are key.

As mentioned, daily vehicle checks are crucial as they ensure the optimal driving condition of your vehicles. To do this, put together a check sheet which lists all the necessary things you must monitor, and have a daily report on hand for your entire fleet. 

Among the items in your check list should be monitoring fuel and oil levels, tire pressure, the condition of wheel nuts, mirrors, windows, windshields, lights (head, tail, brake), turn signals, as well as brakes and suspension. Also check for wear and tear to electrical components like batteries and safety equipment such as seat belts. 

Something as simple as maintaining proper tire pressure can reduce TCO, especially for large fleets (source: Shutterstock) 

To help you fleet run longer, remember to focus on preventative maintenance and not only corrective repairs. Maintain your vehicles under the service intervals specified by vehicle manufacturers.

Not only does this reduce the risk of breakdowns, it saves time and money spent on would-be repairs, increases the safety and the overall productivity of your drivers, and could even reduce insurance premiums.

“For leased fleet, preventative maintenance is covered by your vehicle provider but remember that driver misuse could constitute corrective repairs and not preventative. What misuse is, must be described very well in leasing contracts,” says Darlene Do Amaral Rástica who is fleet and facilities manager for mining and metals company ReciclaBr in Brazil

Darlene do Amaral Rástica (source: handout)

                                                                Darlene Do Amaral Rástica (source: handout)

"In terms of internal communications with your drivers, what is considered corrective repairs should also be listed in your terms of responsibility and your overall fleet policy in accordance with company guidelines,” Ms. Rástica told Fleet LatAm.

Note, however, that when enterting into a rental or leasing agreement, some parts of vehicles do wear out over time. Return vehicles in good condition but know that there are some wear and tear items that are justifiable relative to the age and mileage of vehicles. Always keep safety in mind, though. 

In many Latin American cities, note that wear and tear on tires and suspension could be more than in other regions of the world owing to the precarious condition of many roads throughout the continent.

Brakes could also wear out faster in large metropolitan areas with motorcycles weaving in and out of traffic and driving habits far from being optimal.

Finally, remember that carrying out preventative maintenance and doing repairs is one thing but keeping a detailed record of this activity is another.

Besides having a fleet asset registry listing each vehicle type, registration and licensing data, and information regarding each vehicles fleet entry and replacement date, maintaining a record of maintenance schedules, safety inspections, reports on vehicle defects and repair history benefits your company in several ways.

Among the most important are cutting costs by reducing vehicle downtime and validating warranties by providing legal proof of the due diligence you are accomplishing under your management.

Although much of this could be done in house, one way to ease your mind of this burden is to outsource responsibilities to a vehicle leasing company.

Besides local suppliers such as Unidas, Localiza and Movida (in Brazil), Ariza and TIP Mexico (Mexico), RDA Renting and Auto Corp (Argentina), Renting Colombia (Colombia), Salfa Rent (Chile), and Arrend Leasing (Central America), international players in Latin America include ALD Automotive, Arval, Element Fleet Management, and Leaseplan.

For more information and contact details on these and other companies, visit their corporate profiles in the Global Fleet Directory

Authored by: Daniel Bland