So, you've taken the plunge and hired a fleet maintenance management service for your fleet of diesel trucks. That's great news - these services save you money by transitioning your fleet from reactive mode (dealing with breakdowns after they happen) to proactive mode (preventing extensive, costly problems with routine maintenance and care). But, how do you you've made the right decision? How do you know for sure that your fleet maintenance management service provider is saving you money? The answer to both of these questions is performance indicators.

What Are Performance Indicators?

 Performance indicators are a list of considerations that focus exclusively on the areas of your business that you are attempting to measure savings in. You can track the effectiveness of your fleet management by examining these indicators monthly, quarterly, and annually. There are several software products on the market that offer performance indicator tracking, or you can create your own spreadsheet on your computer, or by hand. 

What Performance Indicators Apply To Fleet Maintenance Management?

The below information offers a number of recommended performance indicators. Each of them pertains directly to the potential benefits of hiring a fleet management company. 

Reactive Vs. Proactive Maintenance Costs

Preventing maintenance problems with your fleet before they happen is estimated to save at least 25% on reactive maintenance costs. You can see an example of how this percentage is figured at

To determine your reactive maintenance savings, log the cost of repairs every time one of your trucks faces an unforeseen breakdown under an indicator labeled "reactive". Under a separate indicator labeled "proactive", log your receipts for routine maintenance.

As you grow to take advantage of preventative maintenance, the dollar amount of your proactive indicator should rise while the dollar amount of your reactive indicator falls. While reactive maintenance savings can be measured on a monthly basis, it could take some time to work out all the kinks of trucks that have been previously neglected of routine maintenance, so it's best to examine your reactive savings quarterly or annually.

Vehicle Availability

If one of your trucks breaks down, it's not available to carry a load, and no load means no profit. One of the benefits of hiring a fleet management service is that you can prevent missing work opportunities by ensuring that all of your trucks are ready and available to meet the demands of your clients.

It can be difficult to track your fleet's downtime. Some fleet owners begin the tracking clock when a vehicle actually enters the shop while others prefer to include the time a vehicle sits idle waiting for the mechanic to arrive. Some track every hour per day a truck is broken down while others only keep track of the number of days a vehicle is out of service per breakdown event.

The American Trucking Associations' Technology and Maintenance council is working on developing a universal method of tracking fleet downtime. Until it's complete, they recommend that you set a performance indicator to record each vehicles' downtime by counting the duration of time that passes between the moment they break down and the time they are returned as operable.

Tickets, Accidents, And Insurance

Faulty equipment can lead to traffic violations and accidents. In turn, a company who has reported several tickets or accidents will face steep insurance rates. By performing preventative maintenance, you lower the risk of placing a driver behind the wheel of a truck that isn't reliable. 

When creating your performance indicator list, create an indicator for both the cost of repair for trucks that have been in an accident due to faulty equipment, and for the total cost of insurance on your fleet of trucks.

If you don't notice an insurance savings over time, call your provider and ask them to reevaluate your policy taking into account your low number of traffic violations and accidents. In most cases, your claims history will have a significant impact on the cost of your premium.

Efficiency Of Vehicles

Vehicles that are serviced regularly run more efficiently than those that aren't. Simple-to-fix issues such as clogged filters or worn tires make your trucks have to work harder, thus using more fuel. Create a fuel cost performance indicator for each of the trucks in your fleet. 

The use of fleet cards can make this task nearly effortless. Fleet cards provide each driver with their own identification number. Upon fueling up, the driver is prompted to enter his identification number and his truck number into the credit card system. The information is then made immediately available to you via electronic mail or your fleet company's website.

When it comes time to examine your indicators, you should clearly see a rise in fuel efficiency for each vehicle on your list. 

If you've hired a fleet maintenance management service and you're wondering if you've made the right decision, create a list of the above performance indicators. Evaluating these indicators on a regular basis will allow you to clearly see your savings and understand how the service is financially benefiting your trucking company.