Taking care of tires is a top priority for fleet managers because a complete tire management program can be the difference between solid profits and just getting by.
In most fleets, even seemingly small improvements can mean large dollar savings. Practicing Kaizen [small continuous improvements] is the best approach. The Japanese word “kaizen” means "change for better" and is tied to the concept of small continuous improvements. Toyota is a great example of a company that deployed kaizen to reach the pinnacle of automotive quality.
Recommended Data Points
A key step is to develop actual data on how your tires are performing. Here are 10 key data points that fleets should be recording and monitoring:
- Established pressure data
- Average miles expected
- Loads carried by vehicles
- Miles achieved from original treads
- Miles achieved from retreads
- Number of retreads from original casing
- Frequency of tire inspections
- Removal timelines for retreads, as well as the number of retreads expected
- Expected life of the tire casing within the fleet
- Inspection of failed or end-of-life tire
Examining these data points on a consistent basis can reveal some areas of opportunity. For instance, a fleet manager might find that they are generating inordinately high tire expenses from emergency breakdowns.
By identifying breakdowns and examining the causes they may take a different approach that would reduce this expense area. The approach taken by one of our OEM customers, Clement Trailers, was to switch to Double Coin RR150 tires (pictured to the left) to solve some down time issues with the previous brand. Click here to read their story.
A good tire management program includes tracking, analysis, preventive maintenance and more. An effective tool in keeping track of tire costs is to use a worksheet like TMC’s Recommended Practice (RP 208D) Tire Cost Determination . All tire-related expenses from new tire and retread costs, to repair and road call costs, should be recorded. From those expenses, credits should be subtracted from things like warranty and discounts; then, net costs are divided by the total tire miles for the fleet to come up with a monthly tire cost-per-mile.
A good program also includes scrap tire analysis which can highlight improvements that need to be made to maintenance practices like inflation pressure maintenance, vehicle alignment or repair practices. Here’s an earlier blog post on this topic.
It is important to remember is that this is a goal that is never achieved; there is always room for improvement. And the most successful kaizen initiatives are those where every single employee is involved.