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Fleet Shop Scheduling
Written by Joel Levitt
Every shop should have a technique to schedule each crew. In
addition, other work should be reviewed before work on a vehicle is started, such
as Preventative Maintenance (PM) operations that will come due in the very near
Shop Scheduling Tips
The first items scheduled are the vehicles
still in process. Use substantial effort to solve whatever problem is keeping
them from being finished. Occasionally you can put a unit back to work without
all the work complete if the defect will not interfere with safe operation,
quality or production level.
Control your vacations with annual
sign-up sheets. In one facility people signed up for vacation at the beginning
of the year and then again a quarter at a time. The order was rotated so that
everyone had a first choice. The number and skill sets of the people on
vacation at any one time were regulated.
Never start a job you can’t finish
due to parts, tools or outside services. Identify, where possible, all parts
and other resources needed. Identifying resources is called job planning.
Reserve parts by pulling them out
of stock and putting them in a staging area. Some places use plastic totes. One
shop had a wall of old bus lockers. Parts were pulled and put into totes and
slid into a locker. The key was put into a plastic envelope with the work
order. Start the job when everything is there.
Most of the schedule will come
from PMs that are scheduled. They will constitute 10 to 15 percent of your work
load and create an additional 45 to 55 percent from corrective items.
Is there a day-of-week effect? If
so, then some of your demand is known by the day of the week. This is common
where there is some activity over the weekend. On Monday morning a bunch of vehicles
are broken. Look outside. Does the weather influence the schedule for that day?
Overtime should be the result of a
short-term inequality between the demand for services and the resources then
available. It should be known about well ahead of time. If there is an
emergency requiring overtime, then technicians can work on routine work to fill
in the time, or finish the shift while waiting for the unit.
Limit yourself when assigning more
than one person to any job unless absolutely necessary. Of course, safety
sometimes dictates when two people must be used. Also, you should never have
only one person in the shop. However, two or more people on a job slow the job
down. Studies have shown that having two people on the jobs might make the
likelihood of a safety incident higher than one person.
Supervisors should show up
randomly if they are responsible for off shift work. Rule: If possible, vehicles
that are started are worked on until they are completed. Keep overlap between
shifts to a minimum. The supervisors should be overlapping and finding out
where each job is and passing that on to the crew member. You can observe this.
If you overlap, do the technicians actively go over the jobs or is it an extra
Run in as few shifts as possible.
Three shifts are tough to crew and to get productivity out of. Keep in mind the
advantage of looking closely at doing maintenance when the units are NOT in
demand (if production runs 16 hours, maybe major maintenance can be done in the
last eight hours).
Consider your demand hours. Demand
hours are the hours that the vehicle is in use. This is important. If possible,
schedule the bulk of your maintenance activity should be scheduled when your vehicles
are not in demand. Ideally, the day shift would concentrate on multi-day jobs
and emergency work. The evening would focus on PM and corrective jobs.
Most police fleets are 24/7 but
might have different numbers of officers on the street at different times of
the day. In this case, the garage can be crewed so the light shifts have the
In some shops where the demand is
during daytime and they are constrained to daytime shop hours, they have some technicians
come in very early to get some of the quicker jobs out of the way before the officers
Joel Levitt is a
leading trainer of maintenance professionals. He has trained more than 15,000
maintenance leaders from 3,000 organizations in more than 20 countries in more
than 500 sessions. Since 1980 he has
been the President of Springfield Resources, a management consulting firm that
services clients of all sizes on a wide range of maintenance issues. He may be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published in Police Fleet Manager, May/Jun 2014
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