Hidden Costs of Fleet Operations

Many expenses can get be buried in a busy fleet operation, even if a great fleet manager is running the show. But that’s where software comes in. It should be handling all the little things… so the organization can worry about the big things.

Here are a couple of ways a good fleet maintenance management system will help you to eliminate hidden costs in your fleet.

1. Reduce parts on hand.

A large hidden cost of a fleet operation is parts management and in particular, ordering more parts than are needed.

Here’s a scenario: A fleet without a fleet management system doesn’t have an efficient way to track the number of parts on hand, although some other methods might partly get the job done. When a work order needs to be completed in the shop, a technician might notice that there are only a few parts left on the shelf. So in preparation for future work, he’ll request for more parts to be ordered. How many? Let’s just go with 20 to be safe.

You can already see how this can get out of hand. With a system like Collective Data’s you can quickly look up how many parts you actually have in stock, whether or not they are physically on the shelf. You can set a minimum and maximum for the parts you would like to have on hand. If you attempt to order more of a part that exceeds the maximum, you’d be alerted so you don’t order more than what’s needed. To compliment that, a report showing parts that haven’t been used in a certain number of days or parts on the shelves that are no longer used on any of your active equipment. Keeping these items under control can result in huge costs savings.

Powerful reports are also available to keep parts under control. One in particular takes into account upcoming PM’s, and tells you what parts you need to order to complete those jobs. This is just one way a good software system can make life very easy on those responsible for parts ordering while cutting costs.

2. Reduce unnecessary services.

The best way to eliminate unnecessary services is to make it very easy for a technician to fulfill a work order, with all the necessary information available so they only do what’s needed. Without having that information, it would be pretty tough for a mechanic to remember all the work done on a particular piece of equipment, especially when they are dealing with hundreds to thousands of them.

Scenario: An organization told us an interesting story recently. They came to us because they don’t have a good system in place, and as a result the only way for a technician to know work history would be through memory or rummaging through old work order files.

At one point it was decided that synthetic ATS fluid was to be used in a particular vehicle. So the vehicle was sent into the shop and a technician put in the new synthetic fluid on request. Later on, the same vehicle needed to come into the shop for some other PM services. Having no idea that the vehicle had recently received new synthetic ATS fluid, he performed another fluid exchange due to the mileage of the vehicle to adhere with the PM policy. Not only was the service not due, he also put in regular ATS fluid because of the lack of work history information he had on the vehicle.

When the work had been processed, someone had noticed that a regular ATS fluid exchange was done. So after going back, they had to have the technician drain the regular ATS fluid, flush it, and put in synthetic fluid again. This proved to be a wasted expense not only in fluid, but the time involved in switching it out twice before the service was really due.

If they had a fleet management software system like Collective Data’s in place, the technician would have known exactly what to do at that time. If the ATS fluid exchange were actually due, it would be automatically added to the work order. It would also specify the type of fluid to be used.


These are just a few of the hidden costs that an organization can help prevent by putting an enterprise fleet system into place. It’s tough enough managing a large operation, and that’s why you should rely on a system that will do more of the work for you to prevent hidden costs from building up.

How about you? Are there any costs that are slipping through the cracks, but you find it tough to keep it under control with your current method?