Ineffective management and maintenance of fleet tyres can affect the performance of a company’s fleet and give rise to unnecessary and costly operational expenditure, which severely impacts on an organisation’s bottom line, warns the South African Tyre Manufacturer’s Conference (SATMC).
As the focus of all businesses shift to budgeting and improving on past performance with the dawning of the new financial year, the SATMC urges all fleet managers to plan and budget for routine tyre checks, maintenance and timely replacement of tyres to assist them with containing cost.
“A fleet that is fit for purpose and operates cost-effectively and efficiently is worth its weight in rubber,” says Dr Etienne Human, CEO and Director of the SATMC. “Having a comprehensive budget for fleet management in place can help curb any unexpected price escalations that may affect your business or its profitability.”
Human shares tips for keeping costs to a minimum during all stages of the fleet tyre lifecycle, including procurement, maintenance, running and disposal, that can help fleet managers save time and money during the 2015 financial year.
When procuring tyres for fleets, the speeds, distances, loads, poor road surfaces, heat, likelihood of scuffing against pavements and objects on the roads and in quarries, all need to be taken into consideration.
“Opting for the cheapest tyres does not automatically translate into a cost saving,” says Human. “Fleet managers need to weigh the price in relation to the quality of the tyre to ensure that they procure tyres that will result in the lowest cost per km.”
Tyres supplied by the South African tyre manufacturers, including Bridgestone, Continental, Sumitomo and Goodyear, are designed and manufactured for the harsh South African conditions. “It is not uncommon to hear that they last twice as long as some imported tyres, which could ultimately result in a huge cost saving,” says Human.
“Regular tyre inspections and early detection of any damage to tyres are vital to prevent premature tyre failure and keeping maintenance costs to a minimum,” says Human.
Fleet managers and drivers have a duty to maintain their vehicles to the highest standards, which means checking all levels regularly, especially tyre pressures, tread depth and checking for damage to tyres. “Under-inflated tyres is not only dangerous, but also contributes to a significant cost increment for organisations due to prematurely worn tyres and resulting road accidents,” warns Human.
Any damage on tyres could cause tyre failure, including punctures, smooth tyre tread, cuts and bulges. “Although some damage to tyres can be fixed, no repairs can be made to the sidewall of passenger and light commercial vehicle type tyre and not all repairs are permanent,” Human explains. “Using a quick spaghetti type repair to seal a penetrated tyre is temporary and should be replaced with a proper mushroom type repair, where the tyre is removed, inspected and properly repaired as soon as possible.”
“Educating drivers to take better care of their vehicles will further reduce wear and tear on tyres and brakes, in turn reducing maintenance and repair costs, as well as improving fuel consumption, amounting to a massive cost saving,” says Human. “Driver training should be regarded as part of an ongoing management process, to ensure optimum running.”
Informed and gentle drivers will further result in reduced vehicle and driver downtime, which result in both hard savings including reduced repair costs and soft savings, by keeping the vehicle and the driver on the road safely.
“Delaying replacing aged tyres or worn tyres with a below regulatory tread depth is likely to result in additional expenditures, due to the knock-on effect of ultimate tyre failure,” says Human. “Accidents or breakdowns next to the road due to unroadworthy tyres will result in high costs, which could easily be avoided.”
To reduce the risk of tyre failure and its effect on business cost and performance, all tyres need to be replaced well before they reach the tread wear indicator or regulatory minimum depth of 1mm and regardless of how much tread is left, it is recommended that tyres be replaced at around the age of 5 to 7 years.
For more information about the SATMC, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.