School Bus Fleet

October 2014

A management & maintenance magazine for school transportation fleets

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46 S C H O O L B U S F L E E T • O C T O B E R 2 0 1 4 cause Owatonna Bus Co. is now a big company, it is able to experiment and test different products. For example, a few years ago, the feet made the switch to synthetic oils. While they are more expensive, the company increased the feet's drain intervals, making it a bo- nus. "We've found some things that have worked and we've found some things that really haven't. If you have good data input, it's pretty easy to see," Lammers says. Finally, he says he can't encour- age networking enough. While it may sound like a silly endeavor, he says, there are nationwide feets with feet managers who have been working for a very long time. There are resources out there to help people and answer questions. Lammers says, "We can talk to a guy who works for Coach USA that probably has 100 of the same mod- el we're operating one of. We can talk to him when we're having problems or ask who he talks to. They see a lot more than we do." partment of Transportation audit, ac- cording to Lammers. Lammers is also looking forward to examining the TCO variance be- tween drivers and locations. By com- paring several buses running on the same route, he will be able to see how the driver alone makes a difference on fuel mileage and maintenance. "We can really look at those and see where we can save some money," he says. "We're a private contractor, so we want to be able to maximize our dollar for what we're doing." Advice for feet managers Having streamlined his TCO mea- surements, Lammers gives some ad- vice to feet managers who are looking to do the same. He says that one can- not do a good job without data. With- out data, one won't be able to calculate a TCO. With data, feet managers are able to see what is and isn't working. Trial and error is another recommen- dation, if the company can afford it. Be- With the new system, employees will be able to access the server remotely, and Lammers can see exactly what is going on at each location in terms of service, parts and fuel management. Additionally, technicians will have their own laptop at their workstation so that they don't need to walk into a kiosk to enter the service or work or- der. Plus, technicians will have access to the Thomas/Freightliner tech site, the IC Bus tech site and Blue Bird's site in case they need to reference anything during the service. There are also some nuanced ben- efts of this new central server. The company will be able to mark up la- bor for any outside work technicians do rather than having to change the base cost. And, technicians will now be able to include a digital scan on the title of the vehicle, and any warranty or recall information, so everything is one place. This, along with a physical document recorded in each unit's fle, creates a paper trail in case of a De- PROFILE

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