Maintenance Archive

Image courtesy of Pac Lease

The State of Fleet Maintenance in 2023

| David Cullen |
The outlook for fleet maintenance costs and shop operations in 2023 is again influenced by the state of the economy and the supply chain, as well as by the ongoing nationwide tech shortage. To help pinpoint the leading challenges the year ahead poses to utility fleet managers, UFP spoke with Chris Foster, manager of fleet […]

Top Trends in Utility Fleet Maintenance

| Grace Suizo |
Inflation is impacting all areas of the utility fleet industry, with a profound impact on maintenance and operating expenses, according to Amanda Kazemba, senior consulting analyst, business intelligence and analytics, for Holman (www.holman.com). “Overall, the cost to repair a vehicle is up approximately 20% as compared to 2020, and fleet operators should expect to see […]

Best Practices for Preventive Maintenance

| David Cullen |
No matter how you slice it, preventive maintenance is about paying now or paying more later. The real driver of vehicle cost efficiency, as well as safety impacts and even fuel economy, is leveraging PM inspections to deliver the biggest bang for your buck down the road. Getting there requires applying best practices to track, […]

Optimizing Your Shop Schedule

Like many managers, utility fleet professionals face conflicting priorities in managing people and fleet services. Budgets are under fire, so keeping a close eye on labor costs is a top priority. But trucks and other vehicles must be adequately maintained and ready to go to work. It’s up to fleet managers to strike the right […]

Damage Control

| David Cullen |
Tracking collision damage limits vehicle downtime and repair costs. The larger the fleet, the more complex the repair process and the higher the cost to fix body and frame damage. No one aims to bang up a bucket truck or other fleet equipment, but it does happen. Once damage occurs and is properly reported, the […]

Smoothing the Technician Transition to EVs

| David Cullen |
Once a utility opts to add electric vehicles to its fleet, the fleet manager must determine not only which vehicles are best suited to the operation, but also how best to smooth the transition in terms of shop equipment and – most importantly – EV training for technicians. Even before EVs rolled onto the scene, […]

Stocking Critical Parts in a Supply Chain Crisis

| Sean M. Lyden |
A semiconductor shortage has crippled production in the automotive sector, forcing many utility fleets to extend the service life of their existing vehicles until new units arrive, whenever that may be. And that could be a problem. That’s because as the global economy emerges from the pandemic, the combination of increased consumer demand and constrained […]

How a Major Utility Fleet Moved to Predictive Maintenance

| Karen Scallly |
At first, Entergy’s plan was fairly simple. Chris Morrow, fleet assets superintendent for the New Orleans-based electric utility, said the company knew they wanted to move away from time-based preventive maintenance for their 6,000-unit fleet to a service program that was more usage-based. What they have since discovered is that the power of telematics and […]

PG&E: Data-Driven Shop Operations

| David Cullen |
In his role as senior director of shared services: transportation for Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E), Michael Glover is responsible for everything from field operations and strategic planning to purchasing, telematics and information technology systems for the largest and most diverse utility fleet in the U.S. The San Francisco-based utility provides natural gas and […]

Repair Solutions for Common Fiberglass Damage

| Jason Julius |
Maintenance of insulated booms on aerial devices and digger derricks is critical to preserving the integrity of the insulating qualities of the machines. While insulated equipment is required to be dielectrically tested each year, daily and periodic inspections of fiberglass components should be performed as directed by the manufacturer. There are two common types of […]

SoCal Edison: Taking a Hands-On Approach to Running Battery-Electric Trucks

| David Cullen |
Even for an electric utility, converting to battery-electric trucks is no flip of a switch. At Southern California Edison, changing over from diesel to electric is a step-by-step process to determine how best to reduce harmful exhaust emissions from its commercial vehicles. Rosemead, California-based SCE is steadily working toward the goals set by its parent, […]

Freightliner: How Electric Trucks Will Change Your Garage Operations

| Sean M. Lyden |
Numerous signs point toward an all-electric future in transportation. But as more plug-in electric trucks become commercially available for fleets, how will the new technology impact your garage operations? What will change with technician training, equipment and other aspects of your shop? Daimler Trucks North America plans to start production of its plug-in electric Freightliner […]

Shop Talk: Reimagining the PM as Predictive Maintenance

| Sean M. Lyden |
A thorough and consistent preventive maintenance (PM) program is a core best practice of any high-performing fleet. But the challenge is that too many fleets still base their PM schedules on OEM recommendations and not on field-specific data that takes into account higher-idle scenarios, hilly terrain, extreme climate conditions and operator behaviors – all of […]

Shop Talk: Verizon Communications

| Sean M. Lyden |
In February, as the novel coronavirus spread overseas and cases began to trickle into the U.S., Verizon Communications, as a company, started grappling with how the pandemic might impact its operations. “Before the media and most people were talking about what you should do, we’re thinking, ‘How would we operate? How do we keep our […]

Shop Talk: Developing Your Continuity of Operations Plan in a COVID-19 World

| Sean M. Lyden |
If you were to lose one-third of your workforce in the fleet department at any given time due to COVID-19, what would your continuity of operations plan look like? What adjustments would you make? Dale Collins, fleet services supervisor at Fairfax Water, which serves nearly 2 million customers in Northern Virginia, began posing these “wargaming” […]

Shop Talk: Creating Consistency for Dielectric Inspections Across a Global Enterprise

| Sean M. Lyden |
As a utility fleet professional, you’re well-versed in ANSI’s requirement for annual dielectric inspections on aerial equipment to verify the nonconductivity of electricity through the boom. These inspections help you and your team identify and fix potential issues before they can cause injury or downtime. But if you have bucket trucks, digger derricks and other […]

3 Pitfalls to Avoid When Purchasing Automotive Lifts for Your Garage

| Sean M. Lyden |
When operating heavy lifting equipment, like forklifts and cranes, there should be no one underneath the lifted load. But there is one exception to that rule: automotive lifts. “The automotive lift industry is the only one where operators are encouraged to go underneath a lifted load,” said R.W. “Bob” O’Gorman, president of the Automotive Lift […]

Winterizing the Shop

| Jim Galligan |
Winters in the northern latitudes can be brutal. A utility fleet’s winter preparedness plan for the maintenance shop can improve safety for its technicians and helps to ensure that fleet equipment is ready to go when needed. UFP spoke with Les Faul, operations manager with Commonwealth Edison Co., to find out how the Chicago-based utility […]

Invest in the Right Training for Your Fleet Technicians

| Sandy Smith |
Matt Gilliland, director of operations support for Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD), understands the value of investing in training for fleet mechanics. “There is an old cliché that says, ‘The only thing more expensive than training is not training,’” he said. “Training is one of the most important tools in the technician’s toolbox.” And it’s […]

Operating a More Efficient Parts Management Program

| Grace Suizo |
Making sure your shop is well-stocked to handle any issues that come your fleet’s way is a smart plan, but it also can be costly and inefficient if you overdo it and end up with bloated inventory. UFP recently spoke with two fleet professionals who shared some best practices about how to operate a more […]

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