POLICE Magazine Supplements

Special Report 2019

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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On the first day the City of Fort Wayne, IN, launched its in-house maintenance program, a colleague approached Di- rector of Fleet Operations Larry Camp- bell, CPFP, and said, "Well, you just launched a business. How does it feel?" In just one sentence, Campbell's co- worker summarized the massive effort leading up to the city's new in-house maintenance program for its more than 2,340 vehicles. "He was correct," Camp- bell said. "It was a major undertaking." is was the first time in 22 years the city had handled maintenance in house, following the end of an 18-year contract with its previous maintenance provid- er. e shi to in-house maintenance is projected to yield a significant cost savings to the city. "We're projected to save $300,000 right off the bat," Camp- bell said. How did they do it? Campbell said it was an effort involving extensive plan- ning and countless decisions, large and small. But, boiling it down, he cited these seven steps. KNOW YOUR CURRENT FLEET Even before bringing maintenance in house, the City of Fort Wayne fleet team knew a lot about its fleet. For instance, staff members knew they needed very specific turnaround times to improve fleet availability. ey even set specific turnaround times for each division and equipment type. So, for instance, an SUV, sedan, and hybrid might all have their own time frames for service. But the maintenance provider strug- gled to meet the agreed-upon time frames—and fleet staff spent far too much time checking turnaround times, fleet availability, and percentages to as- sess penalties. Campbell and team started to dig into the data further and learned the ratio of vehicles to technicians was too low. Fleet team members knew they needed more technicians to achieve the desired turnaround times, but they couldn't add staff without adding dol- lars to the existing contract. While Campbell and team knew all of this data, the one thing they didn't actually know was the technical staff. Because the city's fleet team was only allowed to talk to management for the outsourced company and not directly to the workers on the shop floor, they missed out on interactions that could have resulted in improved performance, greater efficiency, and reduced costs. What did all this knowledge amount to? A compelling case to bring mainte- nance in house. WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN Once the fleet team members started to see the potential benefits to bringing maintenance in house, they began to ask, "How would we do it differently?" To formalize this, they started writing a business plan. e management team met weekly to map out its "new business" of in-house parts and maintenance. Included on the team were division heads, the city controller, and the deputy controller, who Campbell said were key to gaining buy-in. Putting together the business plan required an even deeper dive into fleet data to support the need for in-house maintenance. A key factor of the business plan was costs—both the cash outlay and the po- tential savings. "We didn't have a huge capital outlay for a new startup," Camp- bell said. "e city made sure we owned diagnostic soware, so we didn't have to go out and spend a bunch of money on top of that to bring it back in house." CREATE A TRANSITION PLAN Once the business plan was approved, the team began to plan for the transi- tion. is included establishing new standard operating procedures (SOPs), work rules, budget plans, and pricing. It also included inventorying parts, tools, and shop supplies. At the end of the day, local and state contract pricing and negotiations with vendors yielded competitive pricing. 8 | SP E C I A L R E P O RT | U PF I T T I NG & F L E E T M A N AG E M E N T ➔ 7 STEPS TO BRING MAINTENANCE IN HOUSE Shelley Ernst The City of Fort Wayne, IN, ended a 22-year period of outsourced vehicle maintenance. Here's how fleet management brought it all in house.

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