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That leads to the continuous administrative burden on districts, which was acknowledged as a significant challenge. “Fleet maintenance managers’ priorities include repairing what’s bro-


ken, keeping technicians productive, and ensuring equipment uptime,” explained Christina Nielsen, director of government accounts at fleet MRO supplier Lawson Products. Lawson supplies fleet maintenance and other software to some of the largest school districts in the U.S. Nielsen said that happens, “All while facing a well-documented labor


shortage of maintenance mechanics and welders. Not having critical prod- ucts like brakes or wheel hardware at hand means keeping a school bus (or school district cars, vans, heavy- and light-duty equipment) out of service longer, waiting for a replacement part.”


Maintain, Manage and Move the Fleet Forward A robust parts inventory management system helps ensure the right part


is available and at the right time, so the buses can be best maintained and kept rolling. “We’re on a 45-day planned maintenance cycle now,” said Ed Godwin, the


shop foreman for Chesapeake Public Schools. “So, when [the bus] comes in here, if it looks like the brakes are down and they’re not going to make it for the next 45 days, then we go ahead and replace them at that point.” Godwin said that reporting functionality of an inventory management system would provide his fleet manager with purchase data or usage infor- mation about any part, which he described as being quite laborious in their current situation. “It’ll take me a couple of days—and the secretaries and even parts—going


through records,” he added. “If they knew exactly what we’re spending for specific parts, then it would be nice.” Currently, he said the district’s IT department is exploring software solu-


tions to manage many assets within the school system, and not just parts. But bus parts would be incorporated into a new system that would provide them with many benefits, in many ways, especially saving staff time. “That’d be nice if they do get that,” he concluded. ●


Right Part. Right Place. Right Price. Right Time.


Brian McCool is the manager of parts marketing and specialty sales for school bus manufacturer Thomas Built Buses. The OEM provides parts procurement management via the Fleetprocure eCommerce software solution. It automatically feeds orders into the dealer system and verifies pricing with order acknowledgement in a closed- loop order process.


According to McCool, the main challenge in running a lean and efficient parts management system is to get the right part to the right place, at the right price, and at the right time. “These are the primary factors that drive a positive aftermarket customer


experience for our fleets,” he reported. “Fleet managers typically stock very few parts, and there are few spare buses at fleet locations. So, maintaining uptime is crucial. Managers want to have their suppliers provide the correct part imme- diately at competitive prices.” McCool cited the integration of


Fleetprocure into a large bus fleet to automate the order, approval and payment steps. “We have been working with this fleet


as our test fleet to make this process available to all of our centralized billing fleets,” he shared, adding that Fleet- procure will simplify the entire ordering procedure and cut costs as a result.


Student Tracking/ Authorization


GPS Fleet Tracking


Pre/Post-Trip Inspection


Automated Reports


512.686.2360


smart-tag.net sales@smart-tag.net


www.stnonline.com 23


Ensuring students get on the right bus and get off at the right stop since 2013


Smallville Independent School District *011068*


CLARK KENT


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