Vehicle productivity

Vehicle productivity is the key to ensuring that your new commercial vehicle has the ability to generate an earning. So, when buying a new vehicle, carefully examine all the factors that affect its productivity.

Vehicle productivity in real terms is the ability of a suitable vehicle to continuously transport goods or people within established time schedules and at realistic, acceptable life time costs, providing a high level of availability and reliability over the expected life time of the vehicle.

Selecting a commercial vehicle or bus without examining the true factors that lead to high vehicle productivity is often a common mistake.

Many operators only base their vehicle selection on vehicle performance, in other words the achievement of transporting the greatest amount of goods or people at the highest possible speed and lowest possible cost.

Failure to consider all the elements that contribute towards vehicle productivity often leads to vehicles that are unreliable and not available. If the vehicle is not available, no income can be generated.

To achieve optimum vehicle productivity many factors have to be considered before selecting a commercial vehicle or a bus for the application.

• Incorrect vehicle selection could adversely affect the payload and trip times. Before deciding on which make of new vehicle to buy, insist that the selling dealer supplies you with a simulated computer generated road test, which will illustrate the performance of the vehicle, a mass distribution drawing showing all axle loadings and compliance with the Road Traffic Act, and an operating cost estimate that will illustrate the operating costs of running the vehicle for the expected life time of the unit.
• If vehicle parts and service backup is not readily available, the vehicle will not always be available. Carefully examine the dealer’s claim that he can provide the full nationwide back up after sales service that you will need to keep your new vehicle continuously on the road.
• If drivers have not been adequately trained on the vehicles or are negligent, excessive accidents will occur, resulting in high incidence of lost time and vehicle down time. Ensure that your drivers are carefully selected, and will drive your vehicle at all times in a professional manner. Truck and bus drivers play an important part in maintaining and lowering all variable vehicle operating cost factors and therefore need to be well trained and motivated.
• If preventative and regular vehicle maintenance and inspections are not carried out, unnecessary expensive roadside breakdowns will occur resulting in low vehicle productivity. Preventative maintenance consists of those routines that keep the vehicle and ancillary equipment, including trailers, in proper working order. Preventative maintenance is not only desirable, but necessary, if high vehicle productivity is to be achieved.  Regular inspection of the vehicle and equipment will ensure continuous trouble-free operation of the vehicle. Preventative maintenance and regular inspection will also enable the technician and or driver to detect any tell-tale signs, like a fluid leak indicating the possibility of an expensive pending failure.

Time spent in carefully examining all the factors that contribute towards high vehicle productivity will be well rewarded.


One of this country’s most respected commercial vehicle industry authorities, VIC OLIVER has been in this industry for 45 years. Before joining the FOCUS team, he spent 15 years with Nissan Diesel, 11 years with Busaf and seven years with International.

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