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The Christmas/New Year break is a perfect time to get your fleet serviced and your facilities ready for action when 2024 kicks off.
Where did 2023 even go? The Festive Season is upon us…again! As we bid farewell to 2023 and welcome the holiday cheer it is a perfect opportunity to ensure your logistics fleet and facilities are primed for a productive start to 2024.
It probably only feels like yesterday that you and your staff were navigating through winter. And now, as the year draws to a close, you will no doubt be as busy as ever. Of course, in the logistics game, there’s never a real “quiet time.” But with the anticipated downtime during the Christmas and New Year period on the horizon, it’s the ideal moment to schedule your yearly maintenance to ensure your equipment is in peak condition.
At TransVirtual, we know that our logistics software systems are a perfect way to plan and action maintenance schedules. You can use the holiday season as a period when you can send your vehicles and plant the service centre to give ‘em the ol’ once over. So here are a few ways you can take advantage of the holidays to get your gear in shape while you get your gear off at the beach.
The Philosophy of Maintenance.
The type of logistics that you’re in will define the types of maintenance that your plant and equipment will require. You might operate in highly corrosive or dusty environments such as Outback trucking, servicing the mining industry or operating beside the ocean. Alternatively, your gear may be subjected to lots of stop/start work, such as urban deliveries, mail runs or frequent distribution centre drop-offs.
Regardless of the work environment, choosing the correct maintenance plan can be an important way of minimising downtime and avoiding unnecessary spare parts and consumables consumption.
In general terms, maintenance regimes can be divided into four categories.
That busted radiator hose that you’ve had bound up with gaffer tape and tie-wire since March… time to get it fixed. Sometimes, those on-the-spot fix-it jobs work fine when you’re under pressure and need to keep going. As every logistics operator knows, occasionally the best repair jobs are the ones where you cobble together the necessary parts to MacGyver your way through a job.
But no matter how well you’ve tied that Cobb & Co twitch, sooner or later it’s going to give way. Without proper maintenance, a catastrophic blowout or failure may occur down the line, and the resulting cost of a big repair job can far exceed the cost of getting a smaller fault fixed properly. A corrective maintenance programme will list repairs that need to be done so they can be taken care of before they can cause bigger (and more expensive) problems.
This type of maintenance is carried out at predetermined intervals and may take in a selection of different factors such as oil changes, filter replacement, lubrication, and drive belt inspection. Sometimes, this type of maintenance is carried out as part of a warranty programme requiring the vehicle to be serviced at certain intervals following purchase.
Preventative maintenance can also include such things as renewing anti-corrosion coatings, checking and repairing wiring looms, and re-calibrating electronic systems. Maintenance cycles such as this aim to reduce the chance of failure or diminished performance during the period between each inspection, and to prolong the working life of the vehicle.
The Christmas/New Year break is a perfect time to perform preventative maintenance as it occurs at a set time of the year when vehicles, plant and machinery are more likely to be idle.
This type of maintenance relies on accurate record-keeping along with integrated analysis, measurement and periodic testing. Maintenance type and frequency can then be assigned to each piece of plant or equipment depending on the work that the vehicle is doing.
For example, a long-distance delivery truck may have the welds on its chassis inspected occasionally to pick up any hairline cracks or sloppy couplings caused by rough Outback roads. Alternatively, a machine such as a city delivery truck might have its seals inspected at set intervals based on how much work it has been doing and the type of urban conditions it has been working in.
A risk-based maintenance framework might be set up to look something like this:
- Collect data. For each identified risk, data needs to be collected to provide information about the risk, what the consequences of it might be, and what methods can be employed to mitigate it.
- Evaluate risk. Each risk can be evaluated according to how likely it is to occur and what its effects on the operation would be.
- Rank risks from highest to lowest. This enables you to decide which repairs need to be undertaken immediately and which ones can be left until the next inspection cycle.
- Create an inspection plan. This can take the form of an ongoing condition monitoring plan for less urgent repairs, and a preventative/restorative plan for maintenance that has to be taken care of straight away.
- Propose mitigation or repair. Now that you know what you are dealing with, you can assign each piece of plant to the appropriate repair facility or engage technicians to visit your workplace to implement on-site repairs.
- Reassess. What worked; what didn’t work? How efficient was the maintenance process and can we schedule these risk-based maintenance checks into our preventative maintenance framework?
OK…let’s cut to the chase here. That “check engine light” that’s been lit up on the dashboard of the ute since 2014: well, that’s a perfect example of condition-based maintenance right there! On-board detection equipment and sensors are installed to indicate when servicing is required.
Maintenance should be carried out whenever indicators give the signal that equipment is deteriorating and the risk of failure is consequently increasing. This maintenance strategy can drastically reduce the long-term cost of repairing a serious breakdown that could have been avoided if Bruce, the vehicle’s driver, had just told you that a warning light was on!
Don’t Forget the Shed…or The Yard.
With less staff around to get in the way of the property maintenance crew, the end-of-year break is a perfect time to get your work base tidied up.
Critters and leaks
Having your distribution facilities and vehicle sheds cleaned, bird-proofed, re-painted or insect-proofed while everyone is away on holiday makes sense. Use this time to get the spoutings cleaned out, any leaks repaired and maybe even get some new signage installed.
Do the hard yards
Potholes are a pain. So are overhanging trees, long grass and general junk. Every yard needs tidying up occasionally, so use the summer break to get Groundskeeper Willy around to fill in the holes, get rid of the old drums and whatnot, and give the grass a mow.
The summer holidays are a time to relax, reconnect with your family, recharge your batteries and forget about work for a while. So organising your plant and property maintenance to coincide with this is an excellent way of minimising the time your gear is idle when the New Year kicks off.
But you have to be organised. After all, the people who maintain and service plant and machinery will also be wanting some time off over the Christmas/New Year period. So if you would like to explore the ways that our logistics software systems can help you plan and action your maintenance schedules, give us a call.
At TransVirtual, we hope that your year has been a success and that 2024 will be even bigger. We hope you have enjoyed reading our blog post this year and we look forward to bringing you lots more interesting and useful articles in the New Year. Wishing all of our customers present and future a very happy holiday season.