How to minimise Commercial Vehicle (CV) downtime

posted on 15/08/2023
  • Overview
  • Top tips to reduce downtime
  • How can Alphabet help?

Keeping your vehicle’s downtime to a minimum can make all the difference to your company’s profitability and productivity – so we’ve pulled together some helpful tips to reduce your fleet’s time off the road.

Having a CV unexpectedly off the road costs businesses an average of £700 a day. And with unplanned vehicle off-road time (VOR) averaging around 4-6 days per year, it’s easy to see how it could end up costing your business thousands of pounds in lost revenue. With prevention being key to minimising this issue, the tips below will help keep your fleet moving and running to budget.

Top tips to reduce CV fleet downtime

1. Start with vehicle selection

Choosing the right vehicle and specification for your needs is vital. An inappropriate vehicle choice in terms of payload, equipment or power will mean unnecessary strain (leading to more damage or breakdowns), or to it sitting idle while a more suitable vehicle takes on the job.                                                                            

Our guide to picking the right Commercial Vehicle outlines the key considerations, however your leasing provider should also be able to offer advice and guidance based on your specific requirements.

2. Review your tyre policy

Since prevention is better than cure, make sure tyres are proactively checked on a regular basis so that you can spot any issues and order/book replacement tyres in advance to avoid unplanned stoppage.

Since it’s not always possible to spot tyre trouble in advance, we also recommend carrying a spare tyre wherever possible on CVs. You should discuss this with your leasing provider during the specification, and also consider including roadside assistance in your contract to ensure there’s always someone available to get your drivers on the move again.

3. Jumpstart preventative maintenance

Regular inspections are the best way to help minimise VOR, by identifying risks before they cause a problem.

Make sure your routine maintenance programmes are kept to, and train your drivers to look for and report any potential future flags (not just immediate problems) as part of their daily vehicle walk-around checks, so that repairs and potential future tyre or glass issues can be dealt with before they become blockers.

If you find a trend with certain types of vehicles or adaptations regularly causing issues, add these as a specific item to your drivers’ checklist and make a note to discuss solutions or alternatives when it comes to ordering and replacing your vehicles.

4. Use telematics

Tools such as telematics systems enable you to monitor vehicle performance, driver behaviour, fuel consumption and much more in real-time. The use of this technology is on the rise because it helps companies make better, data-driven decisions to minimise downtime and optimise their fleet’s usage.

If you act on the small things, you can prevent them from developing into bigger issues further down the line. More importantly, it means you’re not relying on human preventative measures alone. By automating reports with data that everyone can see in one place, it’s less likely things will get missed.

5. Have a backup (vehicle) plan

Of course, unexpected repairs or incidents will still happen when your vehicles are out on the road every day. And, on occasion, there can be extenuating circumstances where much of your fleet suddenly becomes unavailable. If (and when) that happens, you need to make sure you have a backup plan.

Since a lean fleet with low overheads is usually a priority, you might find that a mix of permanent, leased, and rental vehicles could help mitigate against the impact of unavoidable downtime on your business operations. One way to do this is through Alphabet Rent – our flexible rental service, which gives you access to a wide range of commercial vehicles as and when you need them.

6. Engage with your drivers

Drivers can have the biggest impact on downtime levels. How they drive and how they use specialist equipment directly affects wear and tear levels, incident rates and unscheduled repairs to any fittings. Although telematic systems and ‘traffic light’-style in-cab devices can help encourage better driving behaviour, they only go so far.

Make sure you give your drivers time (and training if necessary) to familiarise themselves with any new vehicle, adaptation or feature. At Alphabet, we share virtual tours and video guides with drivers several weeks before delivery to help them get up to speed in advance of their first day using their new vehicle.

How Alphabet can help

We’re here to help you minimise downtime, maximise uptime and keep your fleet on the road – with round-the-clock support. So, you can meet any unexpected surges in demand without hurting your budget or reputation.

Our experts can support with all aspects…

  • image of checkFilledExpert advice on CV selection and specification
  • image of checkFilledFlexible funding options to suit your budgeting requirements
  • image of checkFilledVehicle branding and inside fitments
  • image of checkFilledMaintenance-inclusive contract options
  • image of checkFilledDriver risk management support

Get in touch on 01252 976 010 or email us to book a consultation with one of our experts on how we could help you minimise downtime and maximise your fleet’s contribution to your business.

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Efficiency, capacity and more: How to choose the best CV for your fleet