Downtime: The constant headache

Blogs Lucas Deal March 11, 2013

Downtime. If we were to rank bad words to fleet managers, it’s an easy top five representative. Depending on the fleet, it could be the top dog. It’s one of those words, and situations, no one wants to deal with.

But it happens, a lot.

One of the best things a service provider can do to appease its customer base is to work diligently to manage vehicle downtime.

I say manage because downtime can’t be eliminated. Trucks are always going to break down, and it’s always going to take time to fix them. A truck that never broke down or could be repaired in 10 minutes or less would be the greatest innovation in trucking history — but it doesn’t exist.

The best solution we have regarding downtime is to manage and minimize it, and that’s the goal of the Universal Downtime Tracking task force operating at TMC.

Chaired by Jack Porter from Decisiv, the goal of the task force is to define downtime as it relates to fleets, dealers and service providers, and create an RP with a tracking index and tools for managing and communicating the dreaded D-word.

And while defining downtime seems like an easy thing to do, there’s no industry standard for it and exactly how it should be evaluated.

According to Porter, fleets and service providers may have wide variances between their definitions for downtime, and how they calculate it when a vehicle breaks down.

“Service providers and fleets need to track downtime together,” he said; which means starting and stopping downtime clocks at the same time.

Lucas Deal is the editor of Truck Parts & Service and Successful Dealer. He can be reached at

You can follow me on twitter at @lddeal85

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