Servicing and maintenance is set to be a key area for fleet management during the remainder of 2020, fleet software specialist FleetCheck is predicting.

The company says that a number of challenges are arising within the new normal that will mean fleet managers need to pay more attention to the area than usual.

Peter Golding, managing director, explained that the main issue would be pressure to reduce costs at a point in time when vehicle replacement was often being delayed.

“This strikes us as the most acute point of weakness for fleets. Because of the uncertainty around the current economic situation, many companies are pulling the purse strings tight. This means that they are often putting off their normal car and van replacement cycles at the same time as looking at ways of cutting service and maintenance costs.

“Clearly, these two objectives are not always compatible. The longer you keep hold of a vehicle, the more closely its service and maintenance needs to be monitored and the more likely it is that serious problems start to develop that cost a lot of money to put right.

“What fleet managers need to do is to try and arrive at strategies that allow them to keep all the vehicles on their fleet in a fully roadworthy condition while, at the same time, minimising expenditure. This can be done, we believe, but it is not easy.”

Peter said that the key was to look at servicing and maintenance costs as closely as possible, ensuring that the work was done to a high standard at a competitive cost.

“How this is achieved will depend very much on each individual fleet. Some will have people on board with the technical knowledge to look at their service and maintenance buying almost on a line-by-line basis to identify areas where savings can be made. Where this is being done, they can use fleet software to help automate that process.

“Others will lack that degree of proficiency and require external support. One thing we are planning for the second half of the year is to promote the advantages of Garage Link, which is our product giving our user base free access to a national network of repairers using technology from epyx and offering massive buying power alongside expert advice.

“In both instances, the solutions employed may mean, for example, looking at using more independent repairers, reviewing tyre brands bought and watching for areas of accidental overcharging, such as sometimes happens with oil and other fluids.”

The MoT test situation was also likely to prove to be a potentially serious issue related to servicing and maintenance during the second half of the year, Peter added.

“It’s been widely highlighted already but considerable pressure will be placed on the MoT testing infrastructure as all the delayed tests become due alongside all of those that were set to take place anyway. Demand will sky rocket and there may not be enough capacity.

“Our advice to fleet managers is to book in now all of your vehicles that have MoT tests due before the end of the year. It is not impossible that some cars and vans will have to be removed from use because a test isn’t available before their current MoT expires.”