Fleet Maintenance - 50

┬╗┬╗Buckingham Companies realizes the value of
preventive maintenance and, like most fleet
operations, prepares preventive maintenance
work plans at least a month ahead of time.
Photo courtesy of Donaldson Company

Soft costs, hard problems

The ripple effect of
unplanned downtime
One fleet shares its challenges
and unexpected costs when it
comes to downed vehicles.

One issue that keeps fleet managers up at
night, whether managing a school bus
garage or an over-the-road freight business:
unplanned downtime.
In the filtration business, with the microscopic tolerances in today's high-pressure common
rail engines, dust and debris not visible to the
naked eye can make fuel, oil, and hydraulic
fluid unworthy to put into a vehicle without the
risk of downtime-inducing damage. Filtration
companies like Donaldson are constantly
evolving technology to keep fluids clean and
vehicles moving. Unplanned downtime is the
rock that causes the ripple effect throughout
the fleet operation in unforeseen ways.
Michael Buckingham-Hayes, vice president at Buckingham Companies, a refuse
and recycling company operating in the
Upper Midwest, recently shared the impact
of vehicle downtime on his fleet and what

By John Woolever

Donaldson Company is a filtration company serving
numerous industries, including the heavy duty commercial vehicle market. Woolever is the global product manager for Donaldson's engine aftermarket business unit.
He has been with the company for 17 years in a variety of
technology and innovation roles in the quality, business
systems, and product management fields. Woolever has
a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering from Iowa
State University.

50 Fleet Maintenance | March 2020

fleet managers face on a day-to-day basis.
Buckingham operates 20 trucks daily and
maintains a single spare disposal truck and
one additional all-purpose vehicle. There's not
a lot of margin for error in an operation that
tight, which means that keeping each vehicle well-maintained is vital. The alternative is
hard costs and longer-term difficulty.
"If one of our trucks goes down, the cost of
a tow can be as much as $450," BuckinghamHayes says. "That starts adding up when you
have a string of bad luck. At one point, we've had
truck breakdowns averaging once per week."

Buckingham-Hayes says that the "softer" costs
of unexpected downtime are in some ways
more damaging than the actual dollars spent.
"Morale has maybe the biggest impact across
our organization," he says. "Our backup trucks
are older and less comfortable than the regular
ones, and drivers don't want to use them. For the
mechanics, one unexpected repair can throw a
wrench into everything else. It's a ripple effect."
That ripple effect stretches from mental wear
and tear on employees to physical wear and
tear on equipment.
"When the mechanics are firefighting down
equipment, scheduled preventive maintenance
takes a hit," Buckingham-Hayes says. "And if
our preventive maintenance gets neglected, the
window for more unplanned downtime opens,
and the cycle starts all over again."

Prevention is the key

Buckingham Companies realizes the value of
preventive maintenance and, like most fleet
operations, prepares preventive maintenance
work plans at least a month ahead of time.
"Our most common issues that create downtime are hydraulics, transmission, front and
rear differentials, and coolant line issues,"
Buckingham-Hayes says. "The plan focuses on
hoses and connections, keeping fluids clean,
et cetera."
Beyond the physical maintenance checks,
he also plans for "bigger picture" prevention.
"We've found that more trucks running
shorter routes is easier on the equipment, and it
creates more flexibility when problems do arise,"
he says. "A lighter workload works to keep people
fresh; the same can be said for equipment."

Hard costs, hidden headaches

These are specific hard costs. Taking a deeper
look, there are a lot more costs when it comes
to Buckingham Companies' trucks being out
of service.
"We can't let our customers down,"
Buckingham-Hayes says. "So when all else
fails [and multiple vehicles are out of service],
we rent a refuse truck. That can cost $10,000
to $12,000 per month. Three months of those
types of costs and we're looking at a down
payment on a new refuse truck."
Costs go beyond the immediate and obvious. Buckingham maintains their own service
garage, so if there's an excessive number of
repairs, there's overtime for technicians to
consider. Drivers may have to work longer
days to cover gaps in coverage when a vehicle
is down. If fluids are spilled there may be an
environmental cleanup fee. In some cases, parts
may need to be expedited. It can end up costing
a fleet more money to get what they need, which
is to stop spending on downtime.

One part of a
comprehensive plan

Buckingham Companies is just one fleet that
Donaldson works with regularly, but the truths
they've learned are universal. Scheduled
preventive maintenance is a good thing, and
it is the most important factor in avoiding that
dreaded unplanned downtime.
Accelerated component wear from contaminated lube, fuel, or hydraulic fluid is a prime
cause of unplanned downtime and the corresponding operational costs. For instance,
expensive high-pressure common rail fuel
system component failures can be minimized
with improved filtration on fleet vehicles and
in bulk storage tanks.
With long-life, high-capacity filtration products, fleets can even extend service intervals
and minimize planned downtime frequency.
The right filtration efficiency can provide
protection and minimize the ripple effect.


Fleet Maintenance

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fleet Maintenance

Uptime: Get Involved
The Role of Composites in Heavy Duty Trucking
Best Practices to Establish a Total Vehicle Alignment Program
Document Management in the Digital Age
Smoke Out Cabin Leaks
Four Keys to a Successful Extended Drain Interval Program
Management: Be Aware of Maintenance Scheduling Challenges in the Shop
Training: What Does Trucking Have to Do With STEM?
Fleet Parts & Components
Tools & Equipment
Guest Editorial: The Ripple Effect of Unplanned Downtime
Fleet Maintenance - 1
Fleet Maintenance - 2
Fleet Maintenance - 3
Fleet Maintenance - 4
Fleet Maintenance - 5
Fleet Maintenance - 6
Fleet Maintenance - 7
Fleet Maintenance - Uptime: Get Involved
Fleet Maintenance - 9
Fleet Maintenance - The Role of Composites in Heavy Duty Trucking
Fleet Maintenance - 11
Fleet Maintenance - 12
Fleet Maintenance - 13
Fleet Maintenance - 14
Fleet Maintenance - 15
Fleet Maintenance - Best Practices to Establish a Total Vehicle Alignment Program
Fleet Maintenance - 17
Fleet Maintenance - 18
Fleet Maintenance - A1
Fleet Maintenance - A2
Fleet Maintenance - A3
Fleet Maintenance - A4
Fleet Maintenance - 19
Fleet Maintenance - 20
Fleet Maintenance - 21
Fleet Maintenance - Document Management in the Digital Age
Fleet Maintenance - 23
Fleet Maintenance - 24
Fleet Maintenance - 25
Fleet Maintenance - 26
Fleet Maintenance - 27
Fleet Maintenance - Smoke Out Cabin Leaks
Fleet Maintenance - 29
Fleet Maintenance - Four Keys to a Successful Extended Drain Interval Program
Fleet Maintenance - 31
Fleet Maintenance - 32
Fleet Maintenance - 33
Fleet Maintenance - Management: Be Aware of Maintenance Scheduling Challenges in the Shop
Fleet Maintenance - Training: What Does Trucking Have to Do With STEM?
Fleet Maintenance - Fleet Parts & Components
Fleet Maintenance - 37
Fleet Maintenance - 38
Fleet Maintenance - 39
Fleet Maintenance - 40
Fleet Maintenance - 41
Fleet Maintenance - Tools & Equipment
Fleet Maintenance - 43
Fleet Maintenance - 44
Fleet Maintenance - 45
Fleet Maintenance - 46
Fleet Maintenance - 47
Fleet Maintenance - 48
Fleet Maintenance - Classifieds
Fleet Maintenance - Guest Editorial: The Ripple Effect of Unplanned Downtime
Fleet Maintenance - 51
Fleet Maintenance - 52
Fleet Maintenance - B1
Fleet Maintenance - B2