A couple of weeks ago we shared the troubling reality that the skilled trades are hurting. The gap between the skills needed for available jobs in today's skilled trades and the people who are currently seeking these jobs is growing. But it's more complicated than just people lacking skills.
Baby boomers, the core of today's skilled trades people, are retiring in ever-growing numbers. Millennials, the generation replacing retiring boomers, isn't interested, and even if they were interested, they’re not ready.
By now we all know that change is a given; that if you've been doing something one way for a long time, you're probably doing it wrong. Not long ago, someone asked, “What are the most significant changes to occur in fleet maintenance in the past 10 years?” Although changes to tractor and trailer specifications and manufacturing have been broad and all encompassing, two of the biggest factors to impact fleet maintenance programs are the increased usage of Auxiliary Power Units (APUs) and the introduction of Exhaust After-treatment Systems.
Are you paying breakdown vendors to provide roadside service and when they show up the truck is gone? The cost associated with these dry runs is waste, and completely unnecessary. Once a call is made to a vendor, and they dispatch a piece of equipment to service your vehicle, you are going to incur charges whether they locate your driver or not. It’s understandable that a driver would prefer to move their equipment off the side of the road if he/she is able to temporarily make a repair or discover a way to get the equipment moving. If this occurs and the breakdown staff is not informed, the company will be billed for a dry run.
by Steve Zerphey, General Manager, Fleet Services
Did you know that the most complex repair procedures lead to the most variation in repair approach? If you were to research and list the repairs in your shop that have the greatest range of repair times, you’ll find that the list contains your most difficult repair procedures.Therefore, driving out that variation can represent the greatest opportunity for reducing repair times and, ultimately, repair costs.
When Curt Langstraat and Bramer Powers made a decision to attend the first ever Master Fleet University May 17-19, they knew their shop at Fortune Transportation, Windom, Minn., had some issues in need of attention. “I looked at the syllabus and immediately told our general manager, ‘This would be a great thing,’” Langsrtaat said. What wasn’t as readily apparent to Langstraat and Powers was how they were going to make the needed changes.
Master Fleet 101 included sessions on PM Programs, Repair Stances, Tire Programs, Parts Programs, Reporting, Benchmarking and Change Management. After two-and-one-half days of intense, small group training, both men believe the shop at Fortune Transportation is about to make significant changes for the better.
“We have a written plan and we have a deadline. It’s manageable and Master Fleet is going to call us in 30 days to see how we’re doing,” said Powers. “I think everybody in our shop is ready for some change.”
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