Keeping commercial trucks and trailers in good repair regardless of location – whether they are parked in a fleet’s operations yard, on the road, or even at a customer location – is becoming more and more attractive to motor carriers of all sizes and vocations, according to industry providers.
“Mobile repair is definitely becoming more popular and not just for roadside assistance but for on-site service and maintenance,” Michael Riemer, VP of products and channel marketing for fleet software provider Decisiv, Inc., explained to Fleet Owner.
“This is especially important for LTL and other trucking operations where the assets – trucks and trailers – come ‘home’ on a regular basis and service events can be scheduled and completed when the trucks are not in operation, resulting in zero effective downtime,” he said.
“We are seeing an increase in demand for mobile maintenance and anticipate that the demand will continue to increase,” added Dennis Cooke, president of the Fleet Management Solutions division for Ryder System.
“Mobile maintenance allows us to extend the reach of our shop network to provide convenient maintenance services for more customers [and] it is the preferred maintenance delivery method for trailers,” he pointed out. “We are also finding that large fleets receiving maintenance services across North America are more focused than ever on getting consistently high quality repairs ensuring that their CSA [Compliance Safety Accountability] scores improve.”
Those are also some of the reasons why GE Capital Fleet Services (GECFS) forged a partnership with contract vehicle maintenance provider Amerit Fleet Solutions in October last year to provide a nationwide on-site and mobile maintenance offering through GE’s TruckVantage fleet management service.
“Mobile maintenance allows our clients to schedule repairs and preventative maintenance (PM) on-site at their facilities, eliminating the expense and downtime associated with transporting assets to other maintenance providers,” noted Brad Hoffelt, senior VP and general manager of products and services at GECFS. “Through the Amerit on-site and mobile maintenance programs, customers can cut downtime, keep costs stable and predictable, and spend more time focusing on core operations.”
He added that both on-site and mobile services through GEFCS’ new offering include maintenance and repairs for trucks, trailers and material handling equipment, as well as parts inventory management and DOT, OSHA and other environmental safety inspections.
Fred Scott, service manager for the Rush Truck Center (RTC) facility outside San Antonio, TX, has watched demand for mobile service increase in his area for another even more basic reason: convenience.
“Back in 2008/2009 we started our mobile [service] operation with just 10 technicians, and while business in the shop leveled off during the Great Recession, our mobile tech business just kept right on growing – with the number one reason being convenience for the customer,” he explained. “It’s that convenience which keeps driving it and it’s why we’ve expanded the mobile operation to 42 techs right now.”
Using a mix of trucks – from F-250 light duty pickups to heavier F-550 and Class 5-7medium-duty models – RTC’s San Antonio mobile service operation can handle a wide variety of maintenance and repair needs, noted Scott, from basic PMs such as changing engine oil to more complicated repairs.
[To view more photos of the different mobile units operated by the San Antonio RTC facility, click here.]
Mike Besson, VP of dealer operations and customer care for the RTC organization, a division of Rush Enterprises, emphasized that mobile maintenance also helps reduce downtime for trucks and trailers.
“That convenience factor is critical – once you get a customer used to that, it’s difficult for them to change back,” he explained. “We [RTC] are going to have a dedicated mobile division sooner rather than later for that very reason – it’s all about creating fleet maintenance solutions for the customer and mobile maintenance is definitely going to be a bigger part of that ‘solutions’ package.”