When trying to maintain your truck, it’s important to prioritize your truck maintenance tasks. What’s the most important? What can wait? To make these decisions, a SWOT analysis can help.
You may have heard of SWOT analysis for businesses. It’s a simple way to put major issues into a diagram to help the management team make critical decisions.
As an owner-operator, you have major decisions that you have to make about your truck maintenance on almost a weekly basis. Every time you do an inspection of your equipment, you’re deciding if it’s the time to repair or replace something.
A SWOT analysis helps you organize your information in four boxes:
Before we can do a SWOT truck maintenance evaluation, we need to gather some other information. Divide a piece of paper into four sections. These boxes are placed in a square with titles above and to one side.
Across the top, we have two columns: Good and Needs Attention. Having new or recently updated equipment is good. If you need to repair, replace, or have service in the near future, we’ll call that Needs Attention.
Down the left side, we have two rows: Internal and External. For our purposes, we’ll say that what’s under the hood, in the cab, or in the trailer is internal. Everything else is external. (You decide what to call those tools you keep outside the cab.)
Step 1: Examine your rig in its current condition.
Your task is to examine your rig in its current condition when you’ve got the time to do more than just the usual inspection. Using the DOT checklist (or another list that you like,) take a thorough look at all of your truck’s systems.
- New tires? Those are good and external, so they go in the bottom left square.
- Need an oil change? Failure to take care of it would certainly be harmful to the long life of your rig, so it would be in the top right box that needs attention and is an internal system.
After you complete your inspection, now it’s time to sit down with a cup of coffee and relax, because step 2 can be rather stressful.
Step 2: Assess the costs of truck maintenance tasks
Every item in the bottom squares should be priced. Some of them may be inexpensive (comparatively speaking.) Getting new wiper blades? Not very expensive. Getting new tires? That’s expensive.
With your price list complete, now we can SWOT.
You’ll need another 4 boxes to finish the SWOT analysis. Label the boxes
Step 3: Analyze Your Tasks
It’s hard to look at a shopping list that includes thousands of dollars and see anything as a “strength.” But because this is a snapshot, not a long term strategy, you can put into the strengths box things that are in good shape right now. Don’t need an oil change now? Put it in the strengths box.
This box is for the most immediate repairs – the things that you need to take care of before the Roadcheck next month. Maybe these are things you’ve been postponing. You can’t afford to wait any longer or you’ll end up being pulled off the road by the CVSA inspectors or worse, having a breakdown on the road.
Got your eye on an upgrade? Maybe a better GPS system or another trailer? Sometimes those upgrades are the investment you need to make to improve your business or your life on the road. These opportunities may take some savings but will be worth it in the end.
It’s too easy to put the CVSA Roadcheck as a threat – but it’s the prime example the concerns you have about the future. Do you see tires in your future a few months from now? Threats are the things you can start saving for now.
Make the Right Truck Maintenance Decisions
With your SWOT analysis complete, you can make plans to maintain your equipment the right way.
- Take care of the immediate problems.
- Plan for the future.
- Track the maintenance tasks that have been completed.
- Schedule future maintenance with the technicians you like and trust.
A SWOT analysis will help you prioritize, but keeping track of the work you’ve had done in the past and scheduling maintenance appointments requires a maintenance manager. Do you have software that will do this for you?
TruckingOffice Trucking Management Software is the solution you may already have. Are you using TruckingOffice TMS for your dispatches, routing, and invoicing? We also have an additional module to track the maintenance of your trucks – at no extra charge. It’s built into our system to help you
- track repairs
- schedule maintenance by mileage or by date
- prepare the necessary documentation for a DOT audit.
You can see our maintenance module by signing up for our free trial of TruckingOffice TMS today. The entire package is free for you to explore and try out in real time. You’ll wonder what you ever did before TruckingOffice!