How To Start Tracking An Effective PM Program | Semi Truck Repair
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be completely OCD to track an effective PM program. With a little time spent on the front end and regular notations on an excel sheet, you can reduce your operating expenses, keep your equipment in tip top shape, and isolate problems before they become major fixes.
We’ll walk you through the basics, don’t worry; and we’ve provided an excel sheet to get you started too. (Yep – you’re welcome. You can find that below.)
To start, one by one, you’re going to want to bring in all of your equipment and give them each individually a total physical. You are their primary care physician after all, right?
Take stock of the condition of everything that matters and the levels of all your fluids. We’ve known some clients that will bring in a tractor and give it a complete wet PM regardless of when it had its last one, just to start fresh and create a new baseline. Whether you’re that ambitious or not, you’ll want to put the date AND mileage of the last oil change and the last PM.
Additionally, you’re going to want to track the 32nds on all your tire positions. Tracking wear patterns can highlight mechanical issues and catch issues early. Alternately, you can use these numbers as a proving ground if you decide to test out new tires or tread patterns.
Finally, you’ll want to track the dates of your “annual exams.” Things like DOTs, alignments, battery and electrical systems checks, or tranny flushes, are easily forgotten. We can’t tell you how many times we’ve heard “Yeah… That tractor had an alignment around this time last year I think.” Did it? In a company with just a few trucks, you might be able to mentally track some of these items, but we wouldn’t count on being able to do so all the time. We are only human, after all! And it goes without saying, if you manage a fleet with a lot of vehicles – you’d have to spend all your time memorizing truck and trailer numbers and their corresponding dates of service to stay on top of things.
Utilizing an excel sheet however, keeps things super simple. At a glance, you know that Truck 123 and Trailer 456 are due for DOT’s in February each year, or that Tractor #2 gets aligned every March. If something happens that you need to change the frequency of these items, its as simple as a few keystrokes.
So, to get you started, we’re sharing our generic Equipment Health Tracker that we use for some of the clients that we manage their maintenance programs. Feel free to tweak it to fit your fleet or your preferences. (And by all means, if you think you’ve stumbled on a great way of doing things – please share that idea with us too!)