SATELLITE BEACH, Fla. — School bus inspection scheduling at Brevard Public Schools’ transportation facilities has gotten more efficient in recent years thanks to a fleet management program that was developed by one of the operation’s employees.
Todd Woodard, shop foreman for the district’s Mid-South Area Transportation Services facility, developed the Microsoft Excel program two years ago over a period of three to four months, and he told SBF that he has been testing it at the district’s four transportation facilities since then.
“We have the program on a shared server where everyone can access it from their shop,” he explained, adding that each shop has customized the program to the schedule for their portion of the district's fleet.
He also said that the program is automated. Once the district’s school schedule and fleet information are entered into the system, the only information that has to be added manually is changes in fleet size (i.e., buses added to the fleet or removed from service).
“Here in Florida, we’re on a 30-school day rotation,” Woodard said. “Every 30 school days, the buses have to come in for inspection. Through some formulas that I’ve come up with, I’ve been able to get the program to skip weekends, federal holidays, student holidays or teacher work days, etc. I have a column where you can enter those [non-school] dates manually. As of right now, I’m set to roll through the 2013-14 school year [for the bus inspection schedule].”
To locate inspection information for a specific bus, the user enters the bus’ number, and a column will update with the date of the bus’ last inspection and when it is next due for inspection. Any other buses that are due for an inspection on that date will also come up. The program lists what buses are due for inspection the next day, and the day after next as well.
“It also includes the information that goes on an inspection card so that the drivers can plan ahead,” Woodard said. “Another thing we’ve started recently is, we’re tying it into an Access database, so I can enter a bus number and pull up the manufacturer information, the VIN, engine serial number, transmission serial number, parking locations and the bus’ inspection history. I've also tied it into our fueling system to obtain updated mileage.”
Woodard said that using the program at Brevard Public Schools’ transportation facilities has greatly improved communication and efficiency in the bus inspection process.
“During the summer months when there is no school, the quality control foreman designated the inspection days and the non-inspection days,” he explained. “There was a high risk of miscommunication in terms of when inspections would be due, and the rotations were off. With the program, everyone has access to it, so everyone knows when the inspections are due and when rotations need to start.”
Woodard said his program is written in a way that makes it easily adaptable to other school bus operations’ inspection rotation cycles. For example, if an operation was on a 60-day rotation cycle, all that would be required is a number change to the program codes.
Those interested in learning more about the program may contact Woodard at [email protected].