Officials say that automated programs can assist in tracking work and maintaining inventory. Dean Transportation Inc. in Lansing, Mich., is a paperless operation through the entire work order process.
Here are additional practices that can help to maximize safety and efficiency:
• Understand your state’s inspection regulations. Carney says that the Ohio Highway Patrol’s (OHP) inspection booklet changes slightly every year, so his technicians obtain a new copy annually and review it to make sure that they’re familiar with the OHP’s regulations.
• Standardize your fleet. Duquette says that once Liverpool Central School District standardized to one bus body and two or three engine types, it resulted in a reduction of about 17 percent per year in standing inventory over a 10-year phase-in period. “At one point we had about $500,000 in inventory, and we’re down to about $120,000,” he says.
• Perform maintenance in house. Both French and Patrick say that most of their operations’ vehicle maintenance is performed in house, including almost all warranty work at Volusia County Schools. French says this saves the cost of transporting the bus to a service center and minimizes downtime, and labor is reimbursed at competitive door rates.
“Performing complex repairs under warranty helps enhance the technicians’ skills, and we want to make sure we’re prepared for the day those buses are no longer under warranty,” he adds.
• Be open-minded. Pellerito recommends spending time evaluating new technology for technicians based on what you can accommodate with your budget.
“Allow all employees to be a part of the decision-making process, and allow management personnel to think outside of the norm,” he adds.