Factors Affecting Fleet Maintenance Costs

Date: July 1, 2022

Author: Automotive Fleet

"As global supply chain uncertainty, labor shortages, and a rising inflation rate present ongoing challenges, fleet operators are closely monitoring the impact of these factors on vehicle acquisition and maintenance costs. In an effort to ready their operations to face future challenges, they’re also seeking effective ways to anticipate trends and resulting business implications.

Supply chain constraints, chip shortages, vehicle demand exceeding supply, increasing commodity prices, and overall inflationary pressures (which are currently at the highest rate in the past 40 years) are collectively leading to an increase in fleet operating costs.

Specifically, as chip shortages continue to delay new vehicle production and delivery, acquiring new vehicles has become more and more challenging. Ultimately, this means older vehicles on the road for both businesses and consumers. Older vehicles can experience more frequent breakdowns and require more costly, complex repairs, placing increased demand on both roadside assistance and vehicle repair providers.

Roadside assistance service providers are seeing higher volume at a time when they’re experiencing difficulties sourcing drivers for towing and other transportation needs.

Rising inflation and labor shortages, currently on a scale not seen in decades, have also impacted repair shops. Challenges when hiring vehicle technicians, transport drivers, and tow truck drivers – exacerbated by workforce changes brought on by the pandemic – have forced many repair shops to raise hourly labor rates to attract qualified applicants. Supply chain issues have also driven significant increases in the cost of raw -materials, oil, tires, etc. - as demand continues to outpace supply. And these costs are getting passed on to the end-user fleet operators.

This being said, it’s important to not let industry trends paralyze decision-making. Information shared by industry experts can help minimize surprises, as the volatility that has caused price increases will likely continue to create a ripple effect of elevated costs in the coming months and into 2023. By partnering with a fleet management company like Enterprise Fleet Management, businesses can take full advantage of specialized fleet management expertise rather than trying to create it on their own. Enterprise’s local Client Strategy Managers provide updates on relevant industry factors to help business operators better understand fleet expenses and make informed decisions about their fleet and business needs.

When examining the total cost of fleet ownership, depreciation, maintenance, and fuel are the three largest cost centers. Enterprise’s streamlined fleet maintenance programs can help businesses minimize maintenance expenses and downtime by providing preventative maintenance recommendations and identifying the optimum vehicle cycle point. Enterprise can provide clients with access to data analytics and industry expertise that can help a business optimally meet employee needs with its vehicles while also maximizing their resale value.

“Maintenance is the key to vehicle health and has become an increasingly important factor in managing fleet costs, as vehicles remain in service longer,” says Tom Gieseking, Vice President of Fleet Operations for Enterprise Fleet Management. “When working with clients’ fleet vehicles, our National Service Department proactively monitors proposed repair costs and adds manufacturer-recommended maintenance services, improving overall uptime and saving our clients money.” 

With access to a nationwide network of more than 80,000 maintenance shops and 30,000 preferred partners, Enterprise Fleet Management offers managed maintenance programs to ensure ease of recognition and quick service.  Additionally, its representatives help manage downtime by following up on repairs, offering additional technical expertise, and assisting with backorders.  ASE-certified technicians provide oversight of increasingly-complex vehicle repairs and review all proposed work, pricing, and warranty coverage – saving businesses time and money. In 2021, Enterprise Fleet Management saved clients more than $45M in fleet maintenance costs by making sure the necessary services are being done at the right time, for the right cost and that warranty repairs are properly covered by the manufacturers.   

Businesses are facing their own unique challenges during these uncertain times. Enlisting the help of a fleet management company to assist with vehicle needs can provide valuable peace of mind and free up time and resources to help businesses focus on their core operations." 

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