Trying to figure out how to get the most out of your fleet? The fact is you can minimize your total cost of ownership without impacting safety, performance or appearance.
From permits to licensing and truck driver education, managing a fleet of trucks is no easy job. Routine maintenance can be hard enough, let alone everything else an enterprising fleet manager needs to do. Still, with the right truck accessories, it isn’t difficult to fully optimize your operation.
Costs and Value
When you are considering the total cost of ownership for your equipment, the key formula is to keep costs in check while still getting the best value out of whatever equipment you are using. When a fleet makes a purchasing decision, it does so based on the total cost of the vehicle weighed against fuel and maintenance costs.
To further manage cost against value, purchase managers need to spec their equipment properly, and this is about more than just picking the right OEM, it’s also about durable components that add both safety and value.
With the right selection of options a fleet can both save fuel and decrease maintenance costs. With the wrong selection, however, there results can be nothing short of catastrophic. Let’s dig deeper into what you need to keep an eye out for.
Why Appearance Matters
When it comes to outfitting your vehicles, exterior accessories matter. Whether you are talking about mud flaps or truck fenders, motor carriers need to ensure these items are there not just for aesthetic reasons, but to improve safety and performance as well.
Still, that doesn’t mean appearance doesn’t matter. You want to make sure prospective customers see clean, polished and current equipment, otherwise they may look elsewhere for their freight movement needs. The fact is the better a vehicle looks, the better a potential customer’s overall impression will be of your business, and the more likely they will be to sign on.
From the paint job to how shiny the wheels are, the condition of your equipment is a direct reflection of your brand in others’ eyes. Do you want that perception to be one of great service and quality or one of shoddy work and a lack of focus?
Keeping CSA in Mind
Did you know that the FMCSA’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program includes vehicle maintenance as a scoring factor? The Behavioral Analysis Safety Improvement (BASICs) scores are intended to provide fleets with a base level evaluation regarding performance, but many fleet managers don’t consider maintenance.
If they knew that as much as 80% of CSA violations are in the truck maintenance category, they would pay more attention to things like accessories. Better mud flaps and tougher fenders do a better job at keeping the truck in tip-top shape and good working order.
By properly accessorizing your fleet vehicles, you may end up with less CSA citations, which means more time and money in your pocket and on your divers’ time clocks. Well maintained trucks also carry a positive image of their owners, thus increasing the cache of your operation.
A Matter of Choice
There are a lot of different truck accessories out there doing a number of different jobs. From vortex generators to aerodynamic flaps, there are a number of different applications being met by new and advanced versions of truck accessories.
In the end, it’s important that your fleet managers take a look at the applications your trucks will be being used in. Only then will you be able to make the right decision on accessories.
Practice careful consideration and shop correctly, and the right truck accessories can both accelerate your reputation, safety and truck driver happiness.