Fleet Maintenance - 14
How leasing can improve trailer ROI
Total lifecycle cost analysis
is essential in weighing the
true financial benefits of
leasing versus owning commercial equipment - and
trailers are no exception.
"While the purchase of trailers
may make financial sense
for companies seeking tax
depreciation benefits or
tax-oriented financing options,
the true cost of ownership
will encompass many other
aspects including preventive
repair services, towing, and
various administrative and
asset management expenses,"
says Joe Gallick, senior vice
president of national accounts
at NationaLease, one of the
largest full-service truck leasing
organizations in North America.
Trailers are always going to
need maintenance, regardless if they are leased or
owned. But when looking at
the complete lifecycle of a
trailer from procurement to
final disposal, Gallick says
full-service leasing over a
period of seven to 10 years can
provide some advantages.
Match the trailer to the
need. The leasing company
works with the trailer manufacturer to ensure that the trailer
specs and features meet the
fleet's needs - in a way that
minimizes future maintenance
while maximizing uptime, safety,
and regulatory compliance.
"Failure to understand the
fleet's freight characteristics,
loading practices, and operating
environment will ultimately lead
to increased maintenance costs
downstream," Gallick points out.
Once the trailer is acquired,
a good lessor will ensure that
the trailer is ready for service
through proper inspections
and administrative tasks. From
there, the lessor will service the
trailer at pre-defined intervals
until the lease expires. "With
a tightly governed preventive maintenance program,
unscheduled repairs and
emergency breakdowns will
be kept to a minimum," Gallick
says. "Even when problems
occur, the lease provider will
have many resources to tap into
including a 24-hour call center,
repair suppliers, and substitute
equipment - all of which will
assist in keeping the fleet's
freight in movement while
minimizing unplanned costs."
Specialized in complexity.
Good leasing companies have
the technical infrastructure
to maintain and repair today's
increasingly complex commercial vehicles. We're talking
technicians, training, and
equipment. Core competencies
range from traditional reefer
systems to cargo sensors and
other forms of telematics.
"Leasing companies are becoming increasingly adept in leveraging the technology associated
with these applications to yield
important performance and
maintenance analytics that support problem root cause analysis and continuous improvement processes," Gallick says.
According to Gallick, goods are
now "pulled" through the supply
chain by the end consumer,
rather than the traditional
method of being "pushed"
Proper specifying is also about choosing
unique features that give the fleet an advantage.
Aerodynamics is an example of an option that should
be carefully considered from an ROI perspective.
"One potential maintenance challenge we're
seeing has to do with various aerodynamic
skirts being mounted underneath trailers," says
John Freiler, engineering manager for the Truck
Trailer Manufacturers Association (TTMA). "That
can make it harder to see when a potential problem is building or when something is in need of
repair. The technician likely has to get on a creeper
and get under the trailer to do a good inspection.
Without some of those mounted aerodynamic
features, it would be easier to spot some of those
issues during a simple walkaround."
14 Fleet Maintenance | October 2020
by suppliers. This shift has
prompted manufacturers to
increase trailer sophistication.
"A trailer has become an
extension of the customer's
distribution network in that it's
an integral part of inventory
management," Gallick says. "In
a just-in-time world, being able
to locate a part in a manufacturer's assembly line, for example,
is critical - and the trailer and
are big enablers in doing so."
Gallick points to refrigerated
trailers as an example. Cold
chain technology is becoming a differentiator for many
shippers. A typical food distribution trailer may include
cargo sensors that can monitor
compartment or full trailer
temperatures throughout the
day, transmitting data and
alerts to the customer and
maintenance provider when
control limits are breached.
"While these tools are essential
in complying with increasingly
stringent food safety regulations, they also enable the
lessor to identify maintenance
problems before they occur
and correct them proactively
during normal scheduled maintenance while avoiding more
costly emergency repairs and
trailer downtime," Gallick says.
As is always the case, downtime and costly repairs are
among a fleet's worst enemies. In some instances, a
well-planned lease through a
well-respected leasing provider
can help a fleet face those
enemies head on, helping
save money and boost ROI
over the life of the trailer.
The potential trade-off between aerodynamic-driven fuel savings and technician convenience
helps illustrate the importance of properly specifying trailers. It's important for fleets to carefully
consider what an individual trailer is going to be
expected to do when determining the appropriate
specifications and features.
"While there is strong evidence that aerodynamic devices work at highway speeds, there is also
evidence that they do not work well at lower speeds,"
says Jeff Sims, president of TTMA. "In a pickup and
delivery application, for instance, the fleet might just
end up adding cost and weight with no real benefit.
On the other hand, it would make sense to order a
full aerodynamic package for a linehaul application.
In that circumstance, the ROI would be there."
»Features that enhance trailer durability
and reduce maintenance needs help a
fleet attain better ROI. The 4000D-X
Composite TBR Dry Van from Utility Trailer
is built for heavy duty applications, with a
bottom rail that is considerably taller and
thicker than standard bottom rails.
Photo courtesy of Utility Trailer
Sims adds that it's important for a fleet to
describe its needs and applications to the dealer
and/or trailer manufacturer. The TTMA offers a
trailer specifying document to help guide fleets
through this process.
There are also some common specifying pitfalls
a fleet should watch out for.
"Floor rating sometimes gets missed for fleets
that load repeatedly heavy loads," Stoughton
Trailers' Giesen points out. "In this case, adding
a floor rating through spec can extend trailer life
and reduce maintenance costs."
"Not paying for specific options upfront and
trying to add them through the aftermarket can be
incredibly expensive," Stoughton Trailers' LeRoy
says. "A prime example is a tire inflation system,
which is one of the best investments on the trailer
since it can significantly prolong the life of tires.
Ordering one after the trailer is built is roughly
double the cost."
How technology helps
fleets manage trailers
Sensors, telematics, and other technologies have
permanently changed the way heavy duty trucks
are manufactured, managed, and maintained.
Much of that technology is also making its way
to the trailer.
"We've been hearing more discussion amongst
our members about making a trailer a smart trailer," TTMA's Sims says. "That includes having the
ability to feed maintenance-related information to
the fleet manager or service department. There are
so many manufacturers, particularly the lighting
companies, that offer different types of communication devices today. Essentially, if it's a component on a trailer that generates information a fleet
can benefit from, someone can probably build a
sensor for it."
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fleet Maintenance
Uptime: How Fleets Can Connect with Tech Schools
Editor's Note: The Aftertreatment Blues
Keys to Maximizing Trailer ROI
Best Practices for Maintaining Hydraulic Braking Systems
Solving the Parts Puzzle
Contending with Accelerated BEV Tire Wear
Cold Weather HVAC Considerations
Management: CMMS Marketplace
Economic Outlook: Signs of Economic Recovery
Diagnostics: Choosing the Right Diagnostic Tool for Roadside Triage
Fleet Parts & Components
Tools & Equipment
Guest Editorial: The Propane-Powered Alternative
Fleet Maintenance - 1
Fleet Maintenance - 2
Fleet Maintenance - 3
Fleet Maintenance - 4
Fleet Maintenance - 5
Fleet Maintenance - 6
Fleet Maintenance - 7
Fleet Maintenance - Uptime: How Fleets Can Connect with Tech Schools
Fleet Maintenance - 9
Fleet Maintenance - Editor's Note: The Aftertreatment Blues
Fleet Maintenance - 11
Fleet Maintenance - Keys to Maximizing Trailer ROI
Fleet Maintenance - 13
Fleet Maintenance - 14
Fleet Maintenance - 15
Fleet Maintenance - 16
Fleet Maintenance - 17
Fleet Maintenance - 18
Fleet Maintenance - 19
Fleet Maintenance - Best Practices for Maintaining Hydraulic Braking Systems
Fleet Maintenance - 21
Fleet Maintenance - 22
Fleet Maintenance - 23
Fleet Maintenance - 24
Fleet Maintenance - 25
Fleet Maintenance - Solving the Parts Puzzle
Fleet Maintenance - 27
Fleet Maintenance - 28
Fleet Maintenance - 29
Fleet Maintenance - 30
Fleet Maintenance - 31
Fleet Maintenance - Contending with Accelerated BEV Tire Wear
Fleet Maintenance - 33
Fleet Maintenance - Cold Weather HVAC Considerations
Fleet Maintenance - 35
Fleet Maintenance - Management: CMMS Marketplace
Fleet Maintenance - 37
Fleet Maintenance - 38
Fleet Maintenance - 39
Fleet Maintenance - Economic Outlook: Signs of Economic Recovery
Fleet Maintenance - 41
Fleet Maintenance - Diagnostics: Choosing the Right Diagnostic Tool for Roadside Triage
Fleet Maintenance - 43
Fleet Maintenance - 44
Fleet Maintenance - 45
Fleet Maintenance - Fleet Parts & Components
Fleet Maintenance - 47
Fleet Maintenance - 48
Fleet Maintenance - 49
Fleet Maintenance - 50
Fleet Maintenance - Tools & Equipment
Fleet Maintenance - Classifieds
Fleet Maintenance - 53
Fleet Maintenance - Guest Editorial: The Propane-Powered Alternative
Fleet Maintenance - 55
Fleet Maintenance - 56
Fleet Maintenance - A1
Fleet Maintenance - A2
Fleet Maintenance - A3
Fleet Maintenance - A4