Data mining for improved maintenance management

Wake County, NC, implements technology to maximize savings


Before using TMT Fleet Maintenance system, Fleet Operations would determine its vehicle lifecycles and lease rates using industry information. It has since created its own rating system for vehicles based on age, purchase price, the service they perform, fuel and maintenance costs, resale value and other areas. The rating system is managed separately using a custom Crystal Report that pulls data automatically from the TMT database.

“Some databases are not easy to use with another software system like Crystal Reports,” notes Kuryla.

Four years ago when the economy was in a free fall and budgets were tight, Fleet Operations was able to use data analysis to extend its trade cycles and decrease lease rates for customers by $1.5 million.

A more recent example is the Honda Civic hybrid. Based on industry data, the vehicle has a five-year lifecycle. In the past year, the fleet made the decision to increase the lifecycle to six years. Similarly, the Crown Victoria has an industry three-year lifecycle. Wake County offers a four-year lease to lower costs for customers.

“We determine lease rates based on actual data versus market data,” he says. “We felt we did things better and made things last longer. We couldn’t do it without TMT to pull data out.”

MORE EFFICIENCY

Managing labor and other shop resources is another area where the system continues to provide useful analysis. The Wake County fleet is maintained in one shop by a staff of 14, including seven full-time and one part-time technicians. The fleet’s vehicle-to-mechanic ratio is 120:1, far greater than the standard ratio across the country of 55:1.

The TMT fleet maintenance solution’s electronic parts workstation has improved shop communications and simplified the process of supplying parts and assigning them to repair orders. Fleet Operations’ $130,000 in parts inventory is tracked with 98+ percent accuracy to parts-on-hand, according to Kuryla.

Before the system was implemented, the fleet had virtually no warranty recovery. The system automatically identifies and documents repairs covered by warranty. Wake County averages $12,000 per year in claims and has approval from OEMs to handle warranty repairs in house.

In addition to servicing its own vehicles, Fleet Operations works on vehicles owned by outside agencies such as the U.S. Marshall and community colleges. The fleet invoices these customers directly from TMT. Revenue from outside agencies averages $90,000 per year.

HELP ADAPTING TO CHANGE

Currently, the fleet is going through a budget process for the upcoming year. As part of this process, the fleet is able to justify additional costs, such as hiring another technician, by showing the impact this would have on service times and other areas that are important to customers.

Within minutes, Fleet Operations can run a report that shows the impact on its workload if the EMS department wanted to add another ambulance or if the sheriff were to add five patrol cars.

Currently, ambulances are only four percent of the fleet but account over 20 percent of the repairs and 10 percent of labor time. One ambulance is the equivalent of five cars in terms of staffing needs.

In general, the maintenance database has become an invaluable tool for Fleet Operations to quickly adapt its services to the needs of each individual group in the organization, Kuryla says. “As time goes on, those needs change. If we have the same goals we can go farther, faster.”

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