The average cost of mechanical repairs in the trucking industry increased for the second straight quarter, according to an industry study released today by American Trucking Associations' Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC), in collaboration with maintenance provider FleetNet America.
The TMC FleetNet Maintenance Report also found that fleets have not been successful at avoiding that rising charge, since the miles between unscheduled roadside maintenance shrank slightly over the same period.
The report showed that the average cost of a roadside mechanical repair increased to $334 in the fourth quarter of 2018, up from $317 in the third quarter and $299 in the second quarter. And the study found that the average participating truckload carrier ran 10,663 miles between breakdowns, 3 percent less than in the same quarter in 2017.
Despite those industry trends, certain truck fleets can succeed at reducing maintenance costs, the study found. The top performing participating fleet operated with one breakdown every 75,528 miles, FleetNet said.
Fleets can apply data analysis to help them avoid those climbing costs and extend the number of miles driven between repairs, according to Cherryville, N.C.-based FleetNet America, a division of logistics provider ArcBest that is a provider of vehicle maintenance and repair solutions for commercial and private fleets.
In a video about leveraging data to reduce maintenance expenses, FleetNet America's executive vice president of sales and marketing, Jim Buell, argued that most companies have more unscheduled roadside repairs than they should. One solution is to use peer-to-peer benchmarking practices that allow fleets to compare their own metrics with similar companies, and identify areas most likely to drive down maintenance costs, he said.
TMS is offering participation in a "Vertical Benchmarking Program" to its members, through a collaboration with FleetNet America. Carriers that participate by sharing their data are provided an analytic tool that allows them to drill into their data, comparing it to the industry average, the group said.