The Real Cost of Downtime


The True Cost of Vehicle Downtime

For many fleet managers calculating the cost of downtime is something they don’t sit down and do. The reason for the inaction on this topic is -there’s not enough time in the day!  KELTEK thought we could bring some light to the issue in an easy to understand format that prioritizes your fleet’s maintenance and service.

We would like to thank our friends over at Keltek for this contribution! Especially its author Holly Johnson.

Hard Costs VS Soft Costs of Downtime

The first step in this process is distinguishing what hard and soft costs are involved in the downtime. Hard costs are usually easy to figure and are the literal costs paid out when a car is down. Parts and labour, tow truck expenses, are both examples of a hard cost.  The average service rate is $200 per hour, not including travel if the service technician has to venture out to a department to pick up the vehicle.

When it comes to soft costs, that’s where it becomes complicated. Soft costs are difficult to accurately budget for. They make up the costs that are incurred when a driver and vehicle are sidelined, including:

  • Missed Opportunities
  • Citizen Protection
  • Increased Lives at Risk During Mission Critical Events
  • Employee Productivity

Tips to Reduce Downtime

There are various ways to reduce the amount of downtime a vehicle has – or completely avoid the downtime from happening. KELTEK suggests standardization across your fleet when it comes to products used, up-fit company chosen, and even make and model of vehicles.  These decisions can help you quantify and ‘get the rhythm’ down of the vehicle’s for-seen maintenance schedules.

There are always unplanned or unexpected hiccups with your vehicle’s performance, but having an up-fitter who has a service team, that is able to quickly respond to service calls is beneficial.  Using the same company for builds and service makes the process more seamless, they know your car, the products placed in it, and how they work together.

Another way to reduce downtime is by having reporting capabilities on your vehicles data. This is a more proactive approach to preventative maintenance.  Telematics is a feature included in some up-fitters portfolio of solutions. These reports have the ability to show your fleet manager:

  • GPS Location
  • Speed
  • Fuel Usage
  • Engine Performance

This information alone is great to be able to forecast your service budget for the hard costs in upcoming repairs or maintenance. Having well-managed preventative maintenance programs in place will relieve the worry caused by unexpected vehicles down. It can even help you to shift the ‘soft costs’ involved, for example, if you have scheduled service you know you’re able to place your employee in an alternative role for the day, such as an event that needs patrolled or getting ahead on any upcoming clerical duties.

A rare, but possible cost saver is leasing your fleet vehicles. We may just know of a company with this option *cough*KELTEK*cough*.  Depreciation happens very quickly in the automotive industry.   Also, comparative to a traditional lease, the maintenance and service are handled by the lessee.

Somethings Are Just Priceless

As you know, citizen and employee protection are at the forefront of this industry, and more than likely the reason most join the public safety field. Having faulty equipment that is not well maintained does not let you execute or complete the main objective you set out in your career choice. KELTEK wants you to do want your most passionate about.  -Being prepared in Mission Critical Situations, where lives are at risk.

Can you imagine if the bat signal glitched? Or Wonder Woman’s invisible car became visible?! Faulty equipment is not acceptable in an industry of heroes.

Authored by: Holly Johnson

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