For On-highway Fleets, It's Go Time for Uptime

On a recent road trip from Kansas City to Indianapolis, my travel route took me on I-70, an interstate that runs through the center of the continental United States. It’s a popular route for fleets transporting goods to distribution centers.

Semis, big rigs, class 8 trucks, whatever name you prefer, I’ve been fascinated with them my entire life. As a kid riding in the back of a station wagon, I’d motion to truck drivers to blow their horns. More often than not, they did. As an adult behind the wheel, I see trucks differently. I note the fleet trucking company, wonder at the load being carried, spot the message about needing drivers, and given I work at Uptake, worry about uptime.

On the drive, I saw full parking lots at truck stops and rest areas. Often, trucks are stopped as drivers must follow federal safety regulations. Heavy-duty trucks were also stopped when loading and unloading. For drivers, wheels turning equals them earning. The truck that breaks down on the highway or requires maintenance hurts the driver’s earning potential and racks up expensive tow fees.

Cost per mile for private fleets rose to $2.90 in 2021, according to the National Private Truck Council (NPTC).
Cost per mile for private fleets rose to $2.90 in 2021, according to the National Private Truck Council (NPTC).

For fleet maintenance and management, the goal is also uptime. If trucks are serviced and ready to go and have drivers, shipments arrive on time, and customers are happy. When trucks break down or require maintenance, technicians can be swamped with work orders and caught in a reactive mode of maintenance, making for an inefficient shop. Any truck in the shop is out of service and not making money for the fleet.

Four Ways to Improve Uptime

Since uptime benefits everyone involved in trucking–fleet management, fleet maintenance, drivers, and customers – let’s focus on ways you can improve your fleet’s uptime. These four strategies work for fleets of all sizes.

Uptime by Way of Predictive Maintenance

Preventive maintenance and following OEM recommendations are essential. However, there is a limit to the reliability you can gain. Predictive maintenance sees what’s not there, long before a sensor warns you. In many cases, maintenance teams can perform both preventive and predictive maintenance in the same service call. The result is greater reliability and uptime.

Uptime through your Telematics Provider

Telematics providers like Geotab connect commercial vehicles to the internet and help fleet customers reduce fuel consumption and monitor driver behavior. Predict failures and detect anomalies that impact performance, reliability, and uptime.

Blog: Strategies for Improving Driver Retention

Uptime is a Magnet for Drivers

Fleets lose around $1,500 every day a truck sits idle in the lot. That’s why driver recruitment and retention are always on a fleet manager’s mind. Walmart’s recent move won’t help matters. The retailer is dangling $110k starting pay to lure long-haul truckers to drive for Walmart. Our driver retention blog offers five tips, and none of them relate to compensation. Given the driver mandate to keep the rig moving, uptime is a magnet for drivers.

Uptime for Small fleets and Owner-operators

Small fleets and owner-operators have big challenges competing with major trucking companies. Reliability is critical because you lack support. Now you have an edge. Uptake Fleet is bundled in TruckSuite’s managed services for small fleets and owner-operators. Uptake Fleet can help you avoid that expensive repair and improve uptime to compete for contracts.

Uptake Fleet
Uptake Fleet

Competitive Advantage for Fleets

During my 16 hours of driving on I-70, I did not see a single stranded big rig. No doubt, reliability across the fleet landscape is excellent. However, with thin margins and a shifts in consumer demand, trucking fleets are always looking for a competitive advantage.

I noted the aerodynamic touches on tractor-trailers and the efforts to eke out mileage gains. What I couldn’t see but was there just the same and is a click away, is the uptime potential maximized when using Uptake Fleet.

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