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June 01, 2003  |   Comments (0)   |   Post a comment

Money-saving tips from maintenance managers

Money-saving tips from maintenance managers


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In SBF’s 2003 exclusive school bus maintenance survey, shop managers were asked if they had done anything recently to improve performance while lowering maintenance costs. Answers varied widely, but reprinted here are a few of the more descriptive, and potentially insightful, answers given by respondents.

 

  • We started using higher quality brake lining.

     

  • Instead of selling old buses, we take the engine, transmissions, glass and other parts off and give the bus shell to a junkyard. We save thousands of dollars in spare parts and still have parts left over that can be sold if not used.

     

  • We did a better job of keeping the same drivers in the same buses because they get to know the sounds of each bus, helping us identify problems.

     

  • Locking down on a price based on the future’s market, we bought fuel for a full year, which averages out to almost half of the current price of fuel at pumps on the street.

     

  • We chartered out field trips that travel more than 100 miles, increasing revenue.

     

  • We started repairing seat damage instead of replacing seats and seat covers.

     

  • We started taking advantage of warranty recovery opportunities.

     

  • We purchased an easier-to-use vehicle lift, which saved us a lot of money.

     

  • Driver training and education has been improved, and the condition of our buses reflects it.

     

  • We moved to a larger maintenance facility.

     

  • We improved our bus to mechanic ratio.

     

  • We cut idling time on all bus routes, cutting down the wear and tear on vehicles.

     

  • We set up a centralized purchasing department and streamlined equipment procurement expenses.

     

  • We converted all manual transmissions to automatic and all standard brakes to air brakes.

     

  • We started measuring the value of repairs by comparing the cost of repair with bus age and cost.

     

  • We started giving the technicians more of a say in purchasing decisions because they work more directly with the equipment.

     

  • We started a fuel additive/treatment program.

     

  • We improved our maintenance record-keeping.

     

  • We began tracking overtime hours more carefully.

     

  • An assistant supervisor was put in the shop to help keep things moving.

     

  • We resealed rear window glass and water leaks to slow down the onset of body rust.

     

  • We put stainless steel screens on light mountings to protect them.

     

  • We improved our radiator and coolant monitoring procedures.

     

  • We began replacing torque converters instead of the entire transmissions when they quit moving or broke down.

     

  • We installed road speed governors on all of our engines.

     

  • Drivers who damage equipment are now reprimanded. If they do so twice, they are terminated.

     

  • We implemented a bulk purchasing program for maintenance parts.

     

  • We started an oil analysis program.

     

  • All of our garage operations are now computerized.

     

  • We changed our lubricant and grease to a less expensive brand.

     

  • We began standardizing our entire fleet to improve cost efficiency on parts ordering and repairs.

     

  • We started talking to our drivers more to have them share concerns with us since they know the buses best.

     

  • We replaced all of our unproductive mechanics with hard workers.

     

  • We went to a more aggressive tire maintenance program.

     

  • We replaced all of our rear-engine buses, which were having trouble with salt and calcium corrosion in extreme weather conditions.

     

  • We now run retreads on the rear axle to cut down on tire costs.

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