Minimising Commercial Vehicle Downtime

Light commercial vehicles (LCVs) play a vital role in delivering for UK society and our economy.  Recent research published by the SMMT, indicates that some 3.4 million people in the UK use or depend on vans for their work.  Whether making up part of the fleets of big business or supporting the thriving SME and sole-trader sector, these workhorses are the backbone of British society.  This 3.4 million strong workforce has a combined annual wage bill of £56 billion – amounting to some 11% of GDP.

As the economic importance of vans grow, it is crucial that businesses understand the implications that van downtime can have on drivers’ productivity, fleet budget and the reputation of their business.  Aside from the cost implication, vans off the road can also present a reputational threat due to businesses finding it difficult to uphold promises to their customers.

When light commercial vehicles (LCVs) are off the road for longer the fees for replacement hire vehicles, loss of potential earnings and impact on customers rise.  The Freight Transport Association estimates that having just one LCV van off the road can cost a business as much as £727 per day.  They go on to suggest that unplanned Vehicle Off Road (VOR) averages five or six days per vehicle per year, which is in addition to around three days’ planned downtime due to scheduled maintenance and repairs.

Whether it’s caused by mechanical problems, incident damage or scheduled maintenance, van operators need to be prepared for downtime scenarios before they become too costly for the business.

Here we look at some tips to help minimise the downtime of your vehicles:

Acquire the correct LCV for the job

Ensuring you have a van of the correct size, payload and fitted with the correct equipment for the job in hand can have a positive effect on the unplanned VOR time.  It is really important to correctly specify your vehicle with the help of your fleet provider and also to involve drivers in the decision process to help ensure your LCVs are fit for purpose. The older your vehicle, the more likely it is to break down, so calculating your vehicle replacement cycle correctly can also help reduce both maintenance costs and downtime.

Schedule regular LCV repairs

Regular servicing and repairs will help to reduce VOR time. Advanced warning from your fleet management provider of servicing requirements will make it possible to schedule regular repairs and manage the related downtime.

Engage your drivers

It is important to allow adequate time to handover the vehicle and discuss vehicle information, safety features, routine maintenance, equipment, and driving techniques with your drivers to reduce wear and tear, incident rates and unscheduled repairs.

Browse our online Driver Factsheet Library here to help provide your drivers with helpful information such as:

  • Driving a Van : Daily Walkaround Check
  • Van Tyres and Your Safety