Q: I have been using the number 15 trucks/mechanic. What is the actual industry standard ratio for trucks:technicians?
A: There are many variables when calculating the number of technicians required per number of trucks. The type of fleet business you are in effects this number greatly. It takes more labor hours to maintain a garbage truck compared to a highway tractor due to the added labor of the hydraulic system, which would not be performed on a highway tractor. You also have added labor to maintain the braking system on a garbage truck. This is due to the stop-and-go conditions compared to a highway tractor. The number of technicians required also depends on the age of your fleet. A new piece of equipment will require less labor hours, but each year the equipment ages this cost rises.
Once the maintenance expenses begin to affect your corporation's bottom line, it is time to look at replacing the equipment. Setting this benchmark again varies by the type of business you are in and the cost to replace the piece of equipment. We believe in sitting with the corporate ownership and setting this benchmark together to avoid any unnecessary surprises.
Industry standards are normally one technician to keep 12.3 trucks on the road. My suggestion is measure the amount of overtime hours being paid out. Is unnecessary shop time being paid out? Are present jobs being performed within industry standards? Overtime has a very negative effect on the maintenance costs of the equipment. Simply calculating out the numbers being paid might justify hiring another technician then. You now have a very effective measuring tool. Be sure the shop work order is not being abused. The goal is to have every hour paid to a technician billed to a piece of
equipment showing "true" hours.
Lastly, a technician who takes twice as long to perform a job than industry standards can also return untrue and higher than normal maintenance expenses to a piece of equipment. Training or replacing the technician is the answer to this possible dilemma. Once you have all this in line then you can measure true required over time hours being paid out....maybe it is time to add more technicians after this is calculated.
I hope this helps, my friend.