Restrict supply access Garage supplies, by definition, are expendable consumables used in the day-to-day maintenance of your fleet. We do not inventory such items, but instead use a common sense approach. Nuts, bolts, washers, “o” rings, hose clamps, miniature bulbs and various sprays and gasket sealer are issued to each mechanic as needed. They are not stored where anyone can take what they need without scrutiny. Clearly, if you have a person who needs a fresh can of spray lube, for instance, with nearly every repair job, you might want to take issue with his work habits. If you simply must account for supplies, try using a percentage of the repair parts or labor charges. For example, if you use $100 in chargeable parts, add 8 percent or 10 percent for supplies to help cover expenses for parts washers, rags and previously mentioned consumables. Joe Reed, assistant director of transportation and maintenance School District of Palm Beach (Fla.) Supervise garage staff Stuff can walk out of the back door faster than you can ship it into the front door if you don’t have some sort of inventory control. In most instances it is more a matter of supervision than anything else. If your high cost is not in consumables, the only thing I can think of is your expectations for expenses are too low. In general, you should be seeing each of your buses once a month at a minimum. If you are seeing your buses more often due to repairs and not preventive maintenance, then you need to determine which buses are coming in and why they are coming in. Until you determine where your costs are being incurred, you really can’t determine what is causing your perceived high costs. Mark Obtinario, owner Cowlitz Coach Service Castle Rock, Wash.