Back in June of this year I wrote a School Transportation News article on saving time in a school bus fleet maintenance shop. The two organizations were First Student and National Express. They are both school bus contractor companies that do all of the duties that are required to get students to school all over North America.
School Bus Leasing Companies Are Big Business
First Student has 52,000 buses operating and National Express run 20,000 buses. That goes to show how big the school bus industry really is. Most of their fleets operate state side obviously because of the mass population of students going to school.
Time Management Reduces Operating Costs
I was in awe of the size of these fleets and got the privilege of interviewing company managers and asking them questions on how they work on time management within their vast network of maintenance facilities. After going down to Memphis to IC University I realized how small our 77 bus fleet was. I spoke with a Shop Tech from Dallas and he was running 6 different maintenance shops with 1800 buses and 80 spare buses…more than our fleet put together!
Analyzing and Evaluating The Shop Operation
First Student did a video study on one of their techs going through a complete service in one of their shops. They played it back and analyzed the steps taken to access tools and fluids and realized that there were some obvious short cuts that could be taken to save time.
At the end of their study they saved 2,200 steps creating shorter walking distances. Service tools were close at hand along with testing equipment that they use for every service. A health check is done with the engine scanner to see if their are any engine codes or history codes to keep on top of developing or future problems lurking in the back ground.
Throw Out The Clutter
Another step they took was to totally clean out the shop and throw away anything that did not serve a purpose and had been laying around for a long time. Every shop has this clutter and I know this first hand in our shop that if you do not have a shop clean up at least once a week the techs start to trip over old parts and drain pans and what ever else gets put in the wrong place.
Keeping A Clean Shop
Good housekeeping and putting tools where they are supposed to be is essential for any shop to save time which is better spent on repairs and maintenance on the fleet. I don’t know how many times I’ve been through the typical scenario of searching for a tool that has not been put back in the right spot.
Another huge point the First Student Managers brought up was a network of websites and social media outlets that everybody involved in maintenance could hook into and help each other out with questions and answers. This is invaluable communicating with each other to share each other’s experiences to reduce diagnostic time and repair time.
This brings to light the value of blogging and forum communication that this site mechanicshub.com offers. There is every category available from school buses, class 8 trucks and heavy duty contsruction equipment…to name a few. Please comment below especially if you are working in a shop that is pro-active in efficiency and cleanliness. Thanks for reading and if you want a more detailed account of this article subject have a look at the School Transportation News article.