Everyone benefits from uptime. This is perhaps an obvious statement, but let's take a look at the possible alternatives when your vehicle is off the road. Let's just say that your customers are waiting for their deliveries. Your working shift as a driver is limited and a replacement driver must be found. Loads need to be redistributed and there's extra work for the staff back at headquarters. Before we start factoring in replacement vehicles and repair times, it's safe to say that downtime costs and that maximum uptime is a priority for you, your vehicle and your customers.
According to Andrew Low, a Volvo Trucks' Driver Development Manager, uptime can have a huge effect on a company's balance sheet.
"Profit is generated from a few parameters, including load capacity, average speed and uptime. Therefore, changes occurring in these areas severely affect any business. What we know is that drivers and fleet managers can play their own part in maximising the amount of time their vehicles spend on the road."
Downtime can be defined as unplanned stops. Sometimes these are unavoidable. However, there are many things that you as a truck owner and driver can do to maximise your uptime. Here are four useful tips to consider in your daily work.
1. Report any problems
Preventive maintenance is key. Most companies have fault reporting procedures. Be aware of these procedures and any issues can be taken care of during planned maintenance. Report problems early. If possible, fix any smaller faults right away. After all, small and inexpensive problems can easily become big and expensive ones.
2. Walk around your vehicle - look and listen
Make time for a pre-trip inspection. This is often overlooked, yet many problems can be avoided if this is done correctly. Are there any hydraulic leaks visible, or any defects on washers, mirrors or lights? Check your load and trailer if applicable. Listen for any audible faults - how does the engine sound? It's also advisable to make sure that you have enough supplies for your journey, like extra windscreen fluid and spare bulbs for example.
3. Know your vehicle on the road
How you drive your vehicle is crucial in determining uptime. Driving efficiently means there's less fuel used and less braking, meaning less work and wear on the truck's driveline. Be aware of how your vehicle warms up and cools down. How does the load feel to pull, if you are carrying one? Understanding your vehicle's feedback is important in terms of being able to anticipate prospective problems.
4. Take good care of yourself
Sticking to service plans will help to maximise your uptime. Yet it is not just your truck that can be maintained preventively. By looking after yourself and driving safely and responsibly, you can help to safeguard your truck against any unplanned stops. When driving - always be strict about resting times. Go for a walk, drink water and eat healthy. And always make sure to get a good nights sleep before a day of driving.