The City of Louisville’s Fleet Maintenance Yard had the reputation that it “took too long to get vehicles serviced.” In fact, before Toyota began working with the shop — which services all light truck to heavy equipment for the City — vehicles could sit for as long as a month before being serviced, said Claude Jeffries, fleet supervisor.
Five City shop locations, involving 3,800 pieces of equipment and 1,500 repairs a month, had been consolidated into one. Without proper planning for the consolidation, the operation was in disarray: vehicles were being dropped off with no accountability; paperwork would be set in different places, as were the keys. Staff did not know how many vehicles were standing on the lot. The entire shop was being “managed” in people’s heads. In essence, there was no standardized process. Also, all the mechanics shared space, with work being done on trucks, tractors, trailers, mowers and road-repair equipment at the same time.
• Toyota advisors developed visual management boards that allowed for logging what was in the shop, as well as tracking work done. This resulted in making everything flow better.
• KPIs (key performance indicators) and tracking methods were instituted to gauge success, which impacted maintenance lead time. Today, when a vehicle arrives, a work order is created and placed in a pouch with the key. At the same time, a magnet (designated by type of equipment) is moved along the board as the job progresses.
By introducing visual management boards, everyone in the shop was able to see the step-by-step status of every vehicle that was in for repair or maintenance. A quick look at the board would tell you how long it’s been there and what needs to happen next. These changes allowed for better flow through the shop and increased productivity. Within two months, vehicle backlog was reduced 37 percent and repair time was cut by 75 percent. That means more vehicles are in service, out on the roads, meeting the needs of the community.
“It is limitless what we can do. We need to be the first municipality that actually adopts this process. It needs to go through every department,” said Cathy Duncan, director of facilities and fleet management.
Added Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer: “We couldn’t have done it without Toyota. They integrated just like they were part of the family, which ended up yielding great results here.”