The first items scheduled are the units still in bays. Use substantial effort to solve whatever problem is keeping them from being finished. You can put a unit back on the street unfinished if the defect will not interfere with safe operation (such as a broken heater in the summer).
Rule: If possible vehicles that are started are worked on until they are completed.
Never start a job you can't finish (due to parts, tools or outside services). Identify all parts and other resources needed before starting.
· When units come in the door for any reason (PM, breakdown, corrective), review the unit history and see if any there is any other work due. If a unit comes in for a breakdown and is due for PM the following week, consider scheduling the PM while have control of the vehicle.
· Most of the schedule will come from PMs that are scheduled. They will constitute 10-15% of your work load and create an additional 45-55% (corrective items).
· Reserve parts by pulling them out of stock and putting them in a staging area (some places use plastic totes). One shop had a wall of old bus lockers that they used. Parts were pulled, put into totes, and slid into a locker. The key was put into a plastic envelope with the work order. Start the job when everything is there.
· Is there a day-of-week effect? If so, then some of your demand is known by the day of the week.
· Look outside. The weather will immediately influence the schedule for that day.
· Overtime should be the result of a short term inequality between the demand for services and the resources available. It should be known about well ahead of time. If there is an emergency requiring overtime then mechanics can work on routine work to fill in the time, finish the shift, or while waiting for the unit.
· Control your vacations with annual sign-up sheets. In one facility, people signed up for vacation at the beginning of the year and then again a quarter at a time. The order was rotated so that everyone had a chance at first choice. The number and skill sets of the people on vacation at any one time were regulated.
· Limit yourself when assigning more than one person to any job unless absolutely necessary. Two or more people slow the job down. Of course, safety sometimes dictates when two people must be used. Never have only one person in the shop.
· Supervisors should show up randomly if they are responsible for off shift work.
· Keep overlay between shifts to a minimum. The supervisors should be overlapping and finding out where each job is and passing that on to the crew member.
· Run as few shifts as possible. Three shifts are tough to crew and manage (and are usually less productive).
Tip excerpted from Basics of Fleet Maintenance by Joel Levitt