By Kirby McLinn
We are regularly asked to help our clients benchmark their revenues, costs and productivity. Metrics are the building blocks of business planning and profitability, and minor changes in key metrics can have a significant effect on the performance and profitability of any trucking company. The transportation industry has never been more metric driven than it is today; and as a result, access to industry data is becoming more prevalent with new benchmarking endeavors covering all aspects of the business including general financial data, driver recruiting and retention statistics, maintenance and a wealth of operations statistics.
Everyone working in our business knows how difficult it is to find and retain qualified maintenance technicians. The so-called “skills gap”— the gap between a company's workforce needs and the skills of the existing the labor pool— is very real and it extends beyond fleet maintenance to the transportation, construction and manufacturing sectors. There are plenty of great career options in the skilled trades, if only men and women with the right set of skills were available to fill them.
This week, directors of fleet maintenance operations from across the country became the first class to enter Master Fleet University, a concentrated series of classes designed to help students build complete, best-in-class fleet maintenance programs, and also to share best practices.
Managing a fleet’s tire program can represent a significant challenge. On one side of the equation, tires are the highest cost item in the shop. On the flip side, most mechanics would prefer not to deal with tires. To effectively manage costs, informed decisions must be consistent and decision-making enhanced by a well defined tire program.
Many shop leaders struggle with this decision: Should I allow my mechanics free access to the entire parts rooms and rely on them to charge out their parts, or should I staff parts personnel to provide counter service to the mechanics and ensure a higher likelihood that the part will be charged out?
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