person who is responsible for it. A shop person who is responsible for ordering parts and supplies, or an inven- tory clerk who exclusively processes all purchase orders, receives deliveries, and makes sure that everything com- ing in matches what was ordered. Consider drop shipping. You may be able to negotiate

with dealers or suppliers a drop shipping method for select parts. With this method, you can order parts or supplies without holding the inventory yourself. Instead, a dealer, wholesaler or manufacturer is responsible for carrying the inventory and shipping the products when you call for them. That way, you don’t worry about inventory holding,

storage or fulfillment. It is a fact that most school bus dealers track your usage and have proactively added to their inventory to service your needs. Using dealers is not limiting, as many good options

are available. Those options include visits to dealers, placing phone orders, or leveraging the bus dealer or bus manufacturer to provide you with ecommerce

platforms that have 24/7 access to parts information and ordering. All school bus manufacturers offer replacement part

programs that are managed through their extensive dealer network, with access to parts distribution cen- ters across North America, to maintain up-time parts delivery cycles.

Common Goals Regardless of the fleet size, the number of maintenance

facilities involved, and whether-or-not they are supported by computer software, all personnel who are involved in school bus inventory management should have a com- mon goal. That goal is to provide the safest and most economical transportation for our most precious cargo. The key issue that is relative to the inventory manage-

ment function, is that management directs the effort to manage cost by setting achievable goals. That process includes planning, organizing and formulating realistic budgets, so as to attain these goals. ●

Robert T. Pudlewski has over four decades of experience in the school bus industry. He is the retired vice president of fleet operations, procurement and maintenance for Laidlaw and is a member of the NSTA Hall of Fame.


Content. Community. Commerce. July 26–31, 2019

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