The organization has to design and implement policies for vehicle fleet operation, such as maintenance management, breakdown management, spare parts management, control and reduction of fuel consumption, tires management, prevention and reduction of traffic accidents, or the use of owned or outsourced workshops.

The organization has to write and establish the operations manual for the fleet’s vehicles concerning their maintenance, use, safety, fuel consumption, driving, and what to do in case of an accident or breakdown. This manual has to be given and explained to every driver and/or person in charge of the vehicle.

The goal of vehicle operations is that they operate the maximum time possible in order to meet the established service level, with the least possible variable operational costs.

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The organization has to establish if they’d use their own workshops or will outsource this activity to a third-party, since the investments and the operational costs are usually higher and have to be evaluated. The fleet’s vehicles need to get maintenance and repairing in a mechanical workshop that complies with safety conditions, respect to environment and current laws.

The main aspects to consider for choosing between owned or outsourced workshops are the following:

  • Importance of vehicle fleet management.

If vehicle fleet management is the main activity of the organization, the best solution is to have owned workshops, since it has the following advantages. The vehicles are repaired and the maintenance is done as fast as possible, and are available for the maximum time needed for the service performance. It also gives the organization more control, flexibility and safety over maintenance and repairing, and also can choose what spare parts to use.

If the vehicle fleet management is a secondary activity in the organization, then it’s better to outsource the workshops, but the time the vehicle won’t be available for the service performance could be longer. Also, the organization would have less control and safety over maintenance and repairing, and often they won’t be able to choose the spare parts to use.

  • Economical aspect

An owned workshop requires an investment for facility and equipment costs, workforce cost, and complying with the law. On the contrary, if the workshops are outsourced, there’s no need for said investment or workforce costs.

  • Fleet size

If the fleet is small, it’s advisable to take the vehicles to a third-party workshop, since the investments and costs that come with owning a workshop aren’t profitable. On the contrary, if the fleet is large, the investment and associated costs of owning a workshop would be profitable.

  • Type of contract.

If the vehicles were acquired through renting/leasing, the contract might include maintenance and repairing of the vehicles, for which they should be taken to determined authorized workshops.

A mixed solution would be to have owned workshops for maintenance and subcontract third-parties for breakdowns; or having owned workshops and subcontract third-parties for special breakdowns, such as electricity, body or diesel fuel injection problems.

JMFI´m a Fleet Management expert, and the manager of Advanced Fleet Management Consulting, that provides Fleet Management Consultancy Services.