Software such as Navistar’s OnCommand Maintenance and Inventory Management can help shops keep track of parts more easily.Photo courtesy of Navistar
Manufacturers strive for quick shipping, delivery
Collins Bus Corp. offers “same-day shipping, expedited shipping [and] international shipping from our centrally located distribution facility,” says Tedder, which “allows quick order turnaround and delivery to ourcustomers.”
Getting necessary parts quickly is essential to achieving speedy repair. This has led some of Blue Bird’s dealers to try out new technology.
“Some dealers are currently providing Blue Bird parts cataloging and support via iPad technology,” Galusha says. “Blue Bird is developing broader applications, first for internal use to our dealers and then to be rolled out between the dealers and the customers.”
Software effectively manages inventory
Using software to manage parts inventory can be quicker and easier than other methods.
“A lot more people are going to electronic inventory systems and barcoding,” Barrington says.
Helriegel suggests that software such as OnCommand Maintenance and Inventory Management, produced by IC Bus’ parent company, Navistar, “does provide the inventory management tools that most fleets are looking for, or that most fleets could utilize.
“[Inventory management software] can really help keep buses on the road and out of the shop,” he says.
PACCAR’s Managed Dealer Inventory system
TRP Bus Parts, retailed through PACCAR dealers, is a new line of all-makes parts specifically for buses. The parts fit a variety of buses, including those manufactured by Blue Bird, IC Bus, Thomas Built and more.
According to Dale Puhrmann, national sales manager — bus segment, TRP Bus Parts inventory is managed by PACCAR dealers through the company’s Managed Dealer Inventory (MDI) software.
“The MDI system automates the adjustment of inventory levels at the dealership to accommodate seasonal and historical trends while improving product availability,” he explains.
The MDI software offers recommended stocking lists to dealers and helps maintain inventory based on customized criteria at each dealership.
School transportation officials can reduce the cost of inventory by working closely with dealers, according to Puhrmann. Additionally, PACCAR offers Connect software for school transportation departments to better manage parts inventory and bus maintenance and repair.