Five Ways to Improve Your Fleet Repair

heavy-duty-mechanic.jpgEvery once in a while, even the busiest private repair shops have to think about what happens if their service volume declines. Not you. You have a lot of challenges, but twiddling your thumbs isn’t one of them. When you’re in charge of a fleet, there’s always plenty to do. In fact, there’s so much work that you sometimes forget to take a step back and see if there’s anything you could do to improve your fleet repair output. And that’s okay, because we’ve compiled a number of ways for you and your facility to become more efficient and productive.

Expand your preventive maintenance.

You know those annual Department of Transportation inspections? How many times have those inspections caught a potential problem? Probably quite a few times. Now think if those inspections weren’t performed. That potential problem would have soon become an actual problem. Essentially, the inspections saved you from failures in the field and the possibility of a backlog of unscheduled repairs. So why do you only perform thorough inspections once a year?

You probably have a preventive maintenance program now. It might just be visual inspections before or after a vehicle is in your shop. It could include a checklist of specific inspections similar to the annual DoT checklist. Whatever you’re doing, do a little more. A few more minutes of inspection can save you days of repairs in the future.

Improve customer service through improved systems.

While you might not have customers in the sense of people who pay for vehicle service, you still have people who are counting on you to deliver vehicles on time and ready to do their jobs. The key to improving those people’s expectations is transparency. Develop a system that catalogs vehicles, updates their progress and is visible to your customers. This helps set or change expectations in terms of delivery, while also identifying any bottlenecks in the process.

After you have a system in place, work on your shop’s productivity. Consult with your departments to understand where they see opportunities for increased efficiency, then work with them (and their unions, if necessary) to streamline your processes.

Use every inch of your space.

Once you’ve improved your systems and processes, look at your actual physical space. Are there areas that are stagnant or underused? Could you be more efficient with your equipment or storage in order to create space to perform more service?

Are there dedicated bays for specific services that you perform less frequently than others? If so, could you convert or combine bays to open up space and equipment that would be used more? Essentially, is there anything in terms of your floor plan that you could change to increase your efficiency, productivity and customer satisfaction?

Benchmark your performance.

Do you know if you’re more or less productive than fleet managers in comparable cities? If you don’t, why not? Probably because you think it’s too expensive to perform a benchmarking survey with a third party. And you’re probably right. But why do you need that third party when you or someone with a vested interest in the results could contact those other fleet managers directly? Probably because you don’t have enough time.

Here’s the thing: Everyone is pressed for time and money. But data can often bring you more of both. If you want to make a convincing argument that your budget needs expansion, you need to prove it. Build relationships with people in cities of your own size, then ask them about their operations. The resulting information could provide inarguable proof that you’re underfunded and need to expand your operation.

Use the right equipment.

Outdated equipment leads to slower turnarounds, disgruntled techs and the possibility of massive backlogs when unscheduled problems pile up. Very few things can help like the right vehicle lifts. And no matter what kind of facility you have or what kind of vehicles you’re servicing, Rotary Lift is the answer when it comes to heavy duty lifts—above ground, in ground, four-post, mobile, modular, parallelogram, pit or modular.

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