Truck tyres Brisbane – Tyre management strategies that slash costs

Truck tyres Brisbane – how to reduce fleet operating costs

As a fleet manager, you’ll understand how, whatever the economy is doing, it’s imperative to keep costs to a minimum. Fuel, insurance and labour costs are perhaps the most visible areas for savings to be made, but can you afford to overlook the cost of truck tyres in Brisbane and beyond?

Here, I look at how maintaining control of your truck tyres impacts fleet operating expenses, and what strategies a fleet manager can use to reduce costs.

The fleet market in Australia is alive and kicking

In its state of the Australian Commercial Fleet Market in 2016 report, Automotive Fleet noted that the fleet market was still growing despite some severe conditions in the major markets:

  • Fleet sizes in Australia range from fewer than 20 to more than 1,000 vehicles
  • Key commercial fleet segments are:
    • mining and construction;
    • telecoms and utilities;
    • daily rental;
    • Governmental (Federal and local).
  • SUV sales boomed in 2015, with the segment making up 35% of the market, while light commercial vehicles accounted for 17%.

The major challenge for commercial fleet managers is the total cost of ownership.

Truck tyres Brisbane are assets, not consumable products

Without truck tyres, your commercial fleet in Queensland could not operate. Many fleet managers treat truck tyres as no more than consumable products. If they were regarded as financial assets and selected and managed with the same care as the trucks and trailers to which they are fitted, then their life would be prolonged with costs of repair and replacement falling. With some new tyres costing thousands (or even tens of thousands) of dollars, this strategy makes huge financial sense − especially when you consider that tyres are the third biggest running cost for most commercial fleets.

I’m not suggesting you do what the operators of New Acland Coal Mine did following the global tyre shortage of 2008 (its stockpile of 250 tyres worth more than $7 million has become something of a tourist attraction), but with sensible tyre management initiatives you could see a sizeable positive impact on your operating costs.

A simple strategy for managing your fleet’s truck tyres Brisbane

The 6-step tyre check regime that increases the life of a mining company’s tyres are as follows:

  1. Check tyres on a daily basis
  2. Look for bubbling or blistering, cuts, or rocks stuck in the tread
  3. Signs of uneven wear could be a sign of a worn shock absorber or misalignment, for example
  4. Check rims and rim components
  5. Never mismatch rim components
  6. Finally, ensure that all your tyre maintenance technicians are suitably trained and qualified

A few days later, the manager of a commercial fleet here in Brisbane (and one of our customers) told me of the strategy he uses to keep a lid on truck tyre costs. He operates a cradle-to-grave truck tyre management process, which includes the inspection and maintenance check above. Since putting this plan into action, tyre life is up and associated tyre costs have fallen.

The 7-step fleet tyre management strategy that cuts costs

Step 1: Purchase the best tyres that fit the purpose required

Whatever they are needed for, buy the best tyres that you can afford for the need. A little extra spending now is usually rewarded during the life of the tyre. Decisions about brand and tyre type should be reviewed regularly, and selected with consideration of the application, terrain and weather.

Step 2: Track truck tyres from day one

It is essential. Modern technology, such as advanced computer software and tyre pressure monitoring systems, has improved tracking effectiveness. However, if such equipment isn’t within the scope of your budget, you can still instigate a programme that measures the effectiveness of tyre brand and maintenance procedures, for example. Pen and paper and excel spreadsheets are incredibly powerful tools themselves.

Some fleet management systems measure individual tyre performance by wheel position – this helps to decide on rotation requirements.

Step 3: Delegate responsibilities

Before setting tyre maintenance policies and procedures, the fleet manager should delegate responsibility for all tasks. For example, will tyre pressure checks be the drivers’ responsibility, or duty for the maintenance section?

Step 4: Create a tyre maintenance policy and set out procedure

Set a timetable for tyre inspection, and establish a system for measurement and recording. Training may have to be given, and there will need to be appropriate tools for recording and communicating information. Checks and maintenance will include:

  • Truck tyre pressures
  • Tyre damage
  • Tyre rotation and alignment

Step 5: Regular tyre cleaning

When dirt builds up on tyres, they become more susceptible to premature wear and tear. Oil, fuel, and other contaminants can deteriorate truck tyre rubber. Regular cleaning with a mix of detergent in warm water, combined with the removal of debris and objects such as nails, will help to prolong tyre life and increase tyre effectiveness.

Step 6: Decide on a tyre replacement and buying policy

You’ll need to decide how, where, and when you will replace your truck tyres and replenish your stock. Will tyres be re-treaded, and if so, at what point?

Step 7: Analyse why tyres have been scrapped

Whenever a tyre is discarded, examine it and its history (from your tracking programme) to discover why it needs scrapping. It will help you to figure out why your tyres are lasting for only the time they are, and put in place new procedures to prolong their life. It may be that a particular vehicle or driver contributes to shorter tyre life.

Cost-effective safety

As a fleet manager, you’ll be able to reduce costs by controlling all the factors within your control:

  • Buy the best tyres within your budget for the intended application
  • Remember the right tyre will aid performance, driveability and fuel consumption
  • Monitor tyre maintenance as well as truck and engine inspections and repairs
  • Make sure your drivers and maintenance staff get some training
  • Track tyre performance, you’ll recognise shortfalls in maintenance programmes more easily and faster, as well as discover which tyres and treads provide your commercial fleet with the best performance, and your best financial returns.

With the efficiency gains your fleet makes: costs reduce and profits increase. Making your fleet more competitive so you can invest and improve your fleet performance elsewhere.

Call us today on 3333 5510, we’re happy to discuss your fleet requirements and how we can help you get the best from your truck tyres.


Kevin Wood

About the Author

Kevin has been at the forefront of the tyre industry for over 20 years. Kevin's speciality is in industrial and commercial tyres including the management and upkeep of fleets. Kevin has worked with vehicles his whole career from painting, mechanical, suspension and panel beating he has also spent time in the Australia Army as a driver. He has driven all size of vehicles throughout his career so understands the demands placed on drivers.