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Maintenance Productivity Practices (2004)

Chapter: CHAPTER TWO - DISCUSSION OF BUS MAINTENANCE PRODUCTIVITY

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Suggested Citation:"CHAPTER TWO - DISCUSSION OF BUS MAINTENANCE PRODUCTIVITY." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2004. Maintenance Productivity Practices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23049.
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Suggested Citation:"CHAPTER TWO - DISCUSSION OF BUS MAINTENANCE PRODUCTIVITY." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2004. Maintenance Productivity Practices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23049.
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Suggested Citation:"CHAPTER TWO - DISCUSSION OF BUS MAINTENANCE PRODUCTIVITY." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2004. Maintenance Productivity Practices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23049.
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Suggested Citation:"CHAPTER TWO - DISCUSSION OF BUS MAINTENANCE PRODUCTIVITY." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2004. Maintenance Productivity Practices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23049.
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Suggested Citation:"CHAPTER TWO - DISCUSSION OF BUS MAINTENANCE PRODUCTIVITY." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2004. Maintenance Productivity Practices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23049.
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Suggested Citation:"CHAPTER TWO - DISCUSSION OF BUS MAINTENANCE PRODUCTIVITY." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2004. Maintenance Productivity Practices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23049.
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Suggested Citation:"CHAPTER TWO - DISCUSSION OF BUS MAINTENANCE PRODUCTIVITY." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2004. Maintenance Productivity Practices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23049.
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Suggested Citation:"CHAPTER TWO - DISCUSSION OF BUS MAINTENANCE PRODUCTIVITY." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2004. Maintenance Productivity Practices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23049.
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Suggested Citation:"CHAPTER TWO - DISCUSSION OF BUS MAINTENANCE PRODUCTIVITY." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2004. Maintenance Productivity Practices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23049.
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Suggested Citation:"CHAPTER TWO - DISCUSSION OF BUS MAINTENANCE PRODUCTIVITY." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2004. Maintenance Productivity Practices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23049.
×
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Suggested Citation:"CHAPTER TWO - DISCUSSION OF BUS MAINTENANCE PRODUCTIVITY." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2004. Maintenance Productivity Practices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23049.
×
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Suggested Citation:"CHAPTER TWO - DISCUSSION OF BUS MAINTENANCE PRODUCTIVITY." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2004. Maintenance Productivity Practices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23049.
×
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Suggested Citation:"CHAPTER TWO - DISCUSSION OF BUS MAINTENANCE PRODUCTIVITY." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2004. Maintenance Productivity Practices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23049.
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5 CHAPTER TWO DISCUSSION OF BUS MAINTENANCE PRODUCTIVITY INDUSTRY STANDARDS Background Modern IE standards are based on the following general headings by Morley H. Mathewson, as found in the second edition of the Industrial Engineering Handbook (1): 1. Methods Engineering—study of operations, analysis, motion, material handling, production planning, safety, and standardization. 2. Work Measurement—processes involving time study and predetermined elemental time standards. 3. Control Determination—control of production, in- ventory, quality, cost, and budgets. 4. Wage and Job Evaluation—wage incentives, profit sharing, job evaluation, merit rating, and wage and salary administration. 5. Plant Facilities and Design—plant layout, equipment procurement and replacement, product design, and tool and gauge design. Over the years, the military has adopted Mathewson’s general categories and improved on them. The automotive and trucking industries adopted the military’s approach, and the advent of the computer led to improved techniques and procedures. The transit industry, closely linked with the trucking industry, has also been interested in improve- ments in productivity in that area. A more recent book that details the IE approach to im- proving productivity is by Donald R. Herzog, Industrial Engineering Methods and Controls (2). This book provides updated methods and controls that can be used for IE and management studies. It also offers insight into developing programs for the optimum use of resources, providing management with information to make the proper deci- sions, and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization. It breaks down the program into five major functions: 1. Planning—basis for the operations of the organiza- tion and determining how much time and resources are necessary to reach a recognized goal; 2. Organizing—how to get things done efficiently by promoting efficiency, morale, and production of the group; 3. Directing—how to keep the company on its plotted course—motivation is an essential element; 4. Coordinating—how a company can meet goals through balanced and cohesive efforts from all re- sources available; and 5. Controlling—continuous attention to the previous four areas to ensure the execution of programs to meet the objective. General Methodology A general methodology for implementing a productivity improvement program begins with a formal standardized process and procedure to document the task to be com- pleted—the determination of a standard repair time (SRT). A good definition of SRT is one used by a major engine manufacturer, as follows (3). Standard Repair Times (SRT) are lists of work tasks (proce- dures) and the time required to perform those tasks. The pro- cedures list the work tasks required to be sure an engine is ready to return to service at the lowest possible cost to the cus- tomer. A Standard Repair Time is equitable when the repair described in the procedure can be performed in a period less than or equal to the standard by a journeyman mechanic after he/she has performed that repair on the same engine model, in the same application at least once. Those SRT that a particular mechanic performs more frequently will often require less time than the standard. Conversely, those SRT that a particular mechanic does not frequently perform may require more time than the standard. Several of the procedures may be required to actually depict all the work actually performed to return a particular engine to service because the repair of a particular engine is often unique in the light of the complaint, failure mode, progressive damage, condition of the parts, and cus- tomer desires. That engine manufacturer also went on to discuss the three different types of SRT: 1. Administrative—time required to move the vehicle to and from the work area, obtain the necessary infor- mation for proper documentation of the repair, and obtain tools and equipment required for the proper repair; 2. Troubleshooting—time used in determining the prob- lem; and 3. Repair—time used to accomplish the actual repair. A combination of administrative, troubleshooting, and repair activities would constitute the time it takes to com- plete the entire repair. Although this time was specifically for engines, the term “engine” can be replaced by a term for any component on the bus.

6 A time study of the task is then attempted to determine the average time needed to accomplish the task and estab- lish the standard. A properly trained and qualified worker proceeds with the task at a normal pace, experiencing nor- mal fatigue and delays. That worker must be supervised by an experienced supervisory person. The proper tools and equipment must be readily available at a proper work loca- tion, and all the parts needed to accomplish the task must be readily available. The average time standard is then es- tablished by using multiples of the tasks performed by dif- ferent workers. Information on the use of standard maintenance job times for transit bus maintenance was presented in a 1984 publication from the National Cooperative Transit Re- search Program (NCTRP: a predecessor of the TCRP): NCTRP Synthesis of Transit Practice 4: Allocation of Time for Transit Bus Maintenance Functions (4). That study, however, has limited appeal because it focuses on work time but does not take into consideration quality measure- ments. Without including work quality and quantified cost savings, time standards have limited applicability. To ensure that work quality is achieved, there must be a documented procedure validated to produce accurate and repeatable results. Documented procedures serve as the ba- sis for measuring work quality, work productivity, and cost, because the procedures ensure that the performance meas- ures are compared with work tasks performed in a like manner. Without established procedures, workers are free to undertake tasks in any manner. Measuring performance also requires employee training in the work procedures and a method of overseeing work quality. Additional informa- tion will be provided later in this chapter. The two transit agencies highlighted in Synthesis of Transit Practice 4 were Metro Transit in Seattle, Washing- ton, and the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). Metro Tran- sit used a sampling method whereby mechanics were ob- served doing certain tasks. The observed job times were averaged and included other activities such as hostling ve- hicles, paperwork, steam cleaning, and road testing. CTA used published IE time standards supported by manage- ment and the union (5). Most of the other transit-related studies that investigated maintenance productivity im- provement programs were done in the 1980s and early 1990s with funding provided by the Urban Mass Transpor- tation Administration, the predecessor of the FTA. Road-call information is used by most transit agencies to determine the effectiveness of the maintenance program, and it can also be used to monitor the quality of the PM program. The exact definition of a road call varies among agencies, which makes direct comparisons difficult. Most responding transit agencies use road-call mileage informa- tion to set goals to measure productivity and the quality of their PM programs, and they strive to improve road-call mileage every year. Transit agencies promote safety programs to improve employee availability and productivity. Time lost from work reduces the active workforce and has a negative im- pact on productivity. Extended time off may mean the reas- signment of personnel to cover any absence. Some of the larger agencies have a dedicated safety department that re- views injuries and makes recommendations on how to pre- vent them. Many employee injuries can be avoided with proper training and safety protective equipment. Many transit agencies have programs or incentives for perfect or close-to-perfect attendance. Some use “no lost time due to injuries on the job” as a goal and provide incentives and rewards for meeting that goal. Others have programs and incentives for job safety. TRANSIT AGENCY METHODOLOGIES Almost all agencies that responded to the questionnaire have some type of maintenance productivity improvement program. They vary from agency to agency, but the goal is still the same: improvement of maintenance productivity through various processes that result in a reliable and safe product at a low cost. Strong management support for im- proving productivity and a willingness to work with em- ployees and their unions are required. Computer software is an important element in any pro- ductivity improvement program to keep track of individual maintenance functions, including procedures, tools and parts; vehicle information and mileage; and actual time and costs expended for the work to be completed. Such soft- ware programs can provide the transit agencies with the in- formation needed to review and monitor maintenance pro- ductivity. They also offer the capability to easily sort information to provide detailed reports. Within computer- ized record keeping, employee time can be recorded along with the work task, thereby eliminating the need for time cards. These software programs also generate performance indicators that can be used to set goals and identify areas that need improvement. Although the software programs are cost-effective and readily available, many transit agen- cies have not yet taken advantage of electronic record keeping. Some properties still maintain at least a partial paper system. Maintenance Processes and Procedures Transit agencies begin productivity improvement programs with a process-and-procedure document that delineates the step-by-step process (troubleshooting, repair, and compo- nent replacement and rebuilding) to complete a given task.

7 FIGURE 1 Sample page from a bus manufacturer’s SRT manual (6). This information may be provided in the maintenance manuals, service bulletins, and other related documentation of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and their equipment suppliers. Figure 1 shows a sample page from a transit bus manufacturer’s maintenance manual, complete with time standards (6). OEMs do not automatically pro- vide this information, so it should be requested as a part of the transit agencies’ procurement specifications. The OEM also typically provides detailed information in regard to the recommended PM programs. In their ser- vice manuals, subsystem suppliers provide similar infor- mation on the subsystems. Sometimes these service rec- ommendations are included in the OEM manual; other times they are provided separately. Figure 2 shows a sam- ple page from a heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) supplier’s service manual (7). It should be noted

8 FIGURE 2 Sample page from an HVAC manufacturer’s manual (7). that times are not included in that manual. Many transit agencies supplement OEM manuals by producing their own internal documentation tailored to their operating conditions. At some agencies, these documents are readily available to maintenance personnel, and they are used as the basis of the operating/union agreements. Most of the responding transit agencies provide hard copies of the process-and-procedures documents. Some larger agencies provide them on computer terminals on the shop floor, thereby facilitating access to other pertinent manuals or bulletins for the maintenance employees. The computer- provided information is easier to keep updated, and the maintenance shop employees can then either view the ma- terial or print a copy for posting at their workstations. Some transit agencies have also investigated informa- tion from other sources, such as the federally required test- ing program at the Pennsylvania Transportation Institute’s

9 Bus Testing and Research Center in Altoona. This center may also be doing more extensive testing of transit buses in the future, which could lead to an additional source of in- formation. Also, some agencies have looked outside of the transit industry to the heavy-duty automotive and the truck industry, such as the Technology and Maintenance Council of the American Trucking Association, for information on flat rate manuals. Developing Standards There are a variety of methods that public transit agencies have used to implement productivity standards. A few tran- sit agencies have the capabilities to use formalized IE pro- cedures to establish their own SRT. One engine manufac- turer’s SRT are developed by determining repair times for each step of the procedure and totaling these times to complete a quality repair (3). Metro Transit of King County, Washington, modified the formalized IE process by using a sampling method whereby various mechanics were monitored following a detailed job description and various related activities. The standard time was calculated as the average of the sampling. Some agencies rely on manipulations of their own his- torical information to set standards. A few have used other agencies’ information and procedures and then adapted them to their own operating requirements. Figure 3 shows a sample page from a Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) Process Sheet, which is posted on the TRB AP035 (was A1E16) Transit Fleet Maintenance WebBoard and can be downloaded and then modified to meet individual tran- sit agency requirements. FIGURE 3 Sample of an MCTS process document with time standard.

10 Quality Assurance There is a large range in the organization, methods, and pa- rameters used by transit agencies to provide quality assur- ance. Some transit agencies have a formal quality assur- ance group, whereas others use supervision to measure quality. Some agencies use sophisticated data-gathering techniques, whereas others rely on supervisory inspections of the vehicles, as they leave the maintenance facility, as a way to gather data. Each agency monitors a customized list of parameters using its own methodology to assess quality. The following items are typically monitored to provide quality indices: road calls, bus changes, pull-ins, defects found during pre- ventive maintenance inspections (PMIs), driver-reported defects, repeat failures, frequency of repair or rebuild, and other miscellaneous maintenance work items where mile- age and costs can be measured. Incentive Plans Many agencies have an employee incentive plan that pro- vides rewards for attendance, innovative ideas, high-quality work, safe operation, and other goals that improve produc- tivity and quality of life, such as achieving safety program goals. The majority of the agencies have programs for at- tendance and safety, and some of the incentive plans are included in their union contracts. Incentive programs may improve employee morale and teamwork. Figure 4 provides an example of the inclusion of an incentive program within the Houston Metro union contract. Materials Issues Many agencies use pre-pulled kits or bills of material (BOMs) that allow the maintenance staff to perform as- signed work without having to individually obtain the parts. Kits or BOMs are designed to include every part that is needed to repair or rebuild a given component. Some agencies have developed kits or BOMs, or they have pro- vided all of the replacement items required for a PM pro- gram in the immediate work area. Kits or BOMs allow the maintenance employees to concentrate on a given mainte- nance task without losing time to retrieve parts. They help the maintenance employees to efficiently complete their work assignments, as well as eliminate the time and poten- tial distraction resulting from an employee leaving the as- sembly area. Kits or BOMs can be assembled by in-house staff, usually at a lower pay rate than for a journeyman me- chanic, or they can be purchased directly from a vendor. Figure 5 shows an example of the materials that can be found in a maintenance kit or BOM. In addition, a properly assembled kit or BOM eliminates a judgment call on whether or not a part is acceptable. However, some agen- cies would rather have an experienced mechanic decide on the reuse of certain parts. Documented Productivity Improvement Programs in Transit Agencies As mentioned earlier, NCTRP Synthesis of Transit Practice 4: Allocation of Time for Transit Bus Maintenance Func- tions was published in August 1984 (4). CTA and Metro Transit in Seattle were the two highlighted transit agencies, owing to the large amount of documentation available. CTA still tracks the information, but has made some minor updates to the system over the years. Both agencies moni- tor the maintenance work, but have not enforced the time standards. They now emphasize training and quality as in- dicators of productivity improvement. Metro Transit discontinued the use of repair time in its standards in the mid-1980s. That agency still uses the monitoring system but has dropped the time standards. Its efforts are now focused on training improvements and effi- ciency. Maintenance goals are focused on making the cor- rect repair the first time and eliminating “come backs.” Maintenance task completion time is recorded to track maintenance costs, but the information is not used for pro- ductivity improvement measurement. Instead, overall safety and effectiveness of the repair are emphasized rather than the speed of completing a given task. CTA has continued to use the times that were deter- mined during the IE review of various maintenance tasks. Processes and procedures incorporating time standards have been improved and are still used. However, in the late 1980s, the number of employees in the department respon- sible for that program was reduced. A limited staff was re- tained to prepare internal bulletins and work procedures, but there is no longer sufficient time for updating or adding new bulletins with time standards. There have also been re- cent objections by unions to some of the time standards. For these reasons, new maintenance procedures for re- cently purchased buses were not studied, and only ap- proximate times were loosely established. CTA is now be- ginning to review these processes and procedures as well as the time required to accomplish the maintenance work. Since the early 1990s, the MTA NYCT has been the in- dustry leader in setting standards and has worked with the unions to agree on the productivity procedures. The proc- ess for the development of standards at MTA NYCT is il- lustrated in Figure 6. (The abbreviations are explained in Abbreviations and Acronyms, following the Bibliography.) The procedures in these agreements include the approval of the SRT, establishment of a joint committee of union and management to develop SRT, selection of an indepen-

11 FIGURE 4 Sample of Houston Metro’s incentive program union contract. FIGURE 5 Sample of MTA NYCT material in a Kit/BOM.

12 F IG U R E 6 M TA N Y C T S R T d ev el op m en t p ro ce ss .

13 dent expert to resolve any disputed SRT, training provi- sions for staff who lack specific skill levels, reclassifica- tion of employees who cannot meet the SRT owing to a lack of mechanical aptitude, approval of flat pay rates for OEM-provided SRT, and adoption of a productivity incen- tive program (PIP) that pays employees a bonus for com- plying with the SRT. MTA NYCT is striving to have all maintenance actions covered by a formal procedure and es- tablished SRT. Because MTA NYCT is large and well staffed, it is likely to be successful. Many other agencies have shown an interest in improving productivity but do not have the resources to approach the success shown at MTA NYCT. Some smaller agencies have modified the in- formation provided by the larger transit agencies and other sources to produce standards to achieve productivity goals. Others have developed standards using their own historical maintenance information. NEW TECHNOLOGY Electronic Diagnostics Technology is progressing at a rapid rate, and the capabili- ties of electronic diagnostic systems are quickly respond- ing. Many agencies stated that these electronic diagnostic systems have improved their troubleshooting productivity and the ability to ensure that repairs are done correctly the first time. Microprocessor and microcontrollers have the ability to control several bus functions and store data in memory to perform self-diagnostic functions. Electronic applications include engines, transmissions, HVAC sys- tems, passenger doors, lighting, antilock breaking systems, multiplexing, destination signs, voice announcements, and other subsystems. In addition to extracting data to monitor the status of the various systems, the electronic controls are used to set parameters to automatically adjust the equip- ment. In an automatic transmission, for example, electron- ics are used to compensate for wearing clutch-pack discs and then trigger a fault code when the discs have worn down to a critical thickness. Electronic controls have also reduced the need for man- ual tune-ups required on the mechanical engines. However, the addition of more complex systems and sensors to ac- complish this task in turn makes the equipment more com- plex, which affects maintenance personnel. Although these systems have proven extremely reliable, they are not main- tenance free. The equipment does fail from time to time, and basic electrical connections between these devices can also fail. In addition, maintenance personnel must be trained to use a computer or hand-held electronic “reading” device to download diagnostic codes and to perform the indicated repairs. However, when mechanics are properly trained in using this equipment, overall diagnostic time as well as repair and replacement time may be reduced. The capabilities of the electronic controls and diagnostic tools pin- point the exact fault, which reduces the guesswork and time spent in replacing parts that are not part of the problem. Some bus systems have built-in self-diagnostic capabil- ity that can be monitored as part of the system itself and that do not require an external reading device (i.e., fault codes are read off a screen mounted directly on the elec- tronic control unit). Others use wireless technology to automatically upload diagnostic data to the transit agency while the bus operates in revenue service or as it enters the facility. TCRP Report 43: Understanding and Applying Ad- vanced On-Board Bus Electronics has additional informa- tion on electronic systems and diagnostics (8). Test Equipment Manufacturers of electronic systems typically provide the necessary software and hardware (e.g., personal computers, hand-held readers, or personal digital assistants) to allow maintenance personnel to access data and identify faults and defective parts. Most transit agencies purchase the equipment when buying new buses. Each new generation of electronically controlled equipment may need the proper software for the system purchased. Laptop computers are extensively used to extract operating information, as well as to reprogram systems to better match operating re- quirements. Some agencies buy larger computers mounted in rigid cabinets to roll to the bus for diagnostic testing to prevent the damage and loss experienced with laptops. Tools and Equipment The OEM can also supply transit agencies with special tools to improve the productivity of the maintenance de- partment. The bus manufacturers have worked with many transit agencies to develop such tools, along with appropri- ate procedures to help the maintenance department work more productively. Many agencies have, on their own, de- signed and built gauges, tools, and fixtures to reduce the time and maintenance staff required to remove and replace a given component. These in-house tools may also address the safety aspects of the maintenance action. UNION AND MANAGEMENT ISSUES Management Support All of the agencies that responded to the survey and those that were later contacted strongly believe that improving productivity is important. The importance of the productiv- ity program must be accompanied by a strong management commitment throughout the organization. All successful productivity programs occurred in organizations that com- pletely endorsed total productivity improvement programs.

14 The productivity improvement goals were clearly defined and promoted by the all of the supervisory staff at those transit agencies. This process is not easy, and it takes a long time to develop a program that is supported through- out the agency. Continuous review and updating is also re- quired for the program to remain successful. Programs that have not been successful most likely reflect a lack of total management commitment and a reluctance to address problems. In many cases, funding issues have hampered such programs. Resources could be dedicated to addressing these funding deficiencies, because spending for produc- tivity improvement can yield future savings. Union Involvement For the productivity program to work, the union that repre- sents the rank-and-file maintenance workers has to be in- volved. Obtaining union involvement and support is the most important part of implementing a successful pro- ductivity improvement program. Such a program should, from the start, be designed to effectively address and re- solve union concerns involving its members. No pro- gram can be effective if not all the players are on the same team; therefore, the union must be a part of the team from day one. In a 1994 report, the American Federation of La- bor–Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) pro- moted the partnership of labor and management. The last sentence of that document reflects the attitude that should be adopted: And the time has come for labor and management to surmount past enmities and to forge the kind of partnership, which can generate more productive, humane, and democratic systems in work organization (9). From the beginning, there are many opportunities for union management and its members to have a voice in the productivity program. Advantages for union members should be stressed to the union managers. There are many opportunities for negotiations and the union and transit agency management must resolve any differences. For ex- ample, some agencies that do not use a strict time standard using IE procedures have worked out compromises with the union representatives to develop average times for work tasks. Managers and unions, when collaborating, should strive to use employee input as a source of information for improving the work environment, thereby allowing produc- tivity improvements. Union managers can be convinced that agreements on repair times will provide productivity control, aid staffing forecasts for future budgets and spe- cial programs (rehabs and retrofits), and justify filling va- cant job positions. MTA NYCT believes that it is important for transit agencies to consider the following: • The current environment requires the public sector to be competitive with the private sector. • Industry standards that can be applied universally be- come the benchmark for performance in a mainte- nance organization that is independent of economics. • Therefore, if a task time (SRT) is the measure and it is done in appropriate equivalents, then one can char- acterize the constant with regard to local econo- mies—that is, adjust for local prevailing wage rate. Collective Bargaining Agreements Almost all of the agencies reported that there are no re- strictions on using time standards for maintenance work in their collective bargaining agreement. However, in follow- up discussions, many agencies stated that the union man- agement was hesitant to discuss this issue. A notable exception is seen at the MTA NYCT, where, since 1994, union and management have continually nego- tiated a productivity improvement partnership. Initial agreement terms included establishment of hourly SRT and a work procedure review team. Two team members were designated by the union and two members by management. A majority of the team was needed to make any recom- mendations. If there was no majority, the chief mainte- nance officer and a vice president from the union would propose a solution. The agreement also stated that any work savings could not lead to the reduction of existing employee levels or overtime work, but that the savings would be used to enhance the operating efficiency of the fleet. According to the MTA NYCT, the payback from this effort consists of the following: • Public sector becoming competitive with private sec- tor; • Added job security for employees; • Growth potential for the union; • Warranty and vendor campaign work is performed in-house; and • Increased “make or buy” decisions; for example, it would be cost-effective to rebuild more units in- house. Furthermore, failure to meet a norm would not be the basis for disciplinary action in and of itself. In 1996, addi- tional items were added to the labor agreement, including that the parties immediately implement 26 work items cur- rently agreed on and that they continue to implement any new standards. An independent expert was appointed to re- solve any disputed SRT. Implementation of SRT occurred weekly after agreement by the work procedure review team or at the direction of the independent expert. Existing stan- dards may be improved. Additional training would be pro- vided to any maintenance worker who lacks the specific skills and any such worker who is unable to meet the SRT with this additional training will be offered reassignment to

15 another position with no loss of pay. In 1999, the MTA NYCT agreement was supplemented with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that used the flat rate times sup- plied by the OEMs. These flat rate times, where applicable, became the repair times for all maintenance functions, in- cluding troubleshooting and diagnostics. An effort was made to develop flat rate times for any maintenance work that does not have prescribed times. The productivity improvement program was included in this MOU, and it pays a quarterly $600 bonus to any mainte- nance person who complies with the SRT by meeting the SRT on 90% of the tasks assigned during the first two quarters of the year. After the first two quarters, the maintenance person must achieve 95% compliance of the SRT to receive the bo- nus. In the fourth quarter of 2001, the hourly productivity im- provement program pilot was first implemented at the Sup- port Fleet Services division (nonrevenue vehicles—cars and trucks). In August 2002, the productivity improvement program was expanded to the two overhaul shops. In addition, productivity improvement agreements, in- cluding a bonus program, were implemented with the two supervisory unions. Because the supervisors are the first line of supervision for the maintenance employee, they are a key element in making productive staff assignments and monitoring the SRT compliance rate. Those supervisors are members of two different unions, as agreed on by the un- ions and management through the MOUs. A form was de- signed for management to use to evaluate the supervisors, through a two-part process. The first part is a daily moni- toring of the supervisors’ strategic planning of all resources under his or her control and the consequent productive as- signment of the hourly employees. The second part in- cludes a set of performance standards that supervisors need to meet to qualify for a monetary incentive. Supervisors will be responsible for helping to identify, counsel, and train employees who fail to meet normal productivity and quality standards. They have also been given the goal of en- suring that the employees meet the 95% compliance of the SRT on each shift and that time lost owing to lack of parts, unavailable tools and equipment, or the unavailability of buses should not exceed 5% of the productive time of any shift. Meeting the goal requires the supervisor to properly plan and manage his or her resources to ensure that exceptions to the SRT are eliminated. The supervisory bonus is the same as the hourly bonus and was implemented systemwide in October 2002 (10) (see Appendix C for additional details). Separate Agreements Most of these agreements would be supplemental to the ex- isting union contract and may be included in a new con- tract when negotiated. The MTA NYCT used separate agreements to initiate the productivity improvement pro- gram that set SRT for maintenance jobs and generated bo- nuses for the employees. No other agency reported the use of supplemental union agreements. Performance Indicators All responding transit agencies use some type of perform- ance indicators to provide performance feedback. Miles be- tween road calls, total cost per mile, and labor cost per mile are three of the many indicators that are used. Per- formance indicators vary from agency to agency. Other in- dicators that are used by transit agencies include road calls by fleet and system, cost per bus, repeat failures, making pullouts, fuel and oil mileage, and number of PM proce- dures completed on schedule. The definition of a road call usually conforms to the FTA guidelines, but each agency has modified the definitions to meet its unique operating environment, making it difficult to compare data among agencies. Some agencies have collaborated with the unions and employees to publish the performance indicators. Many agencies use the indicators to stimulate internal competition between operating locations and as employee incentives. Use of performance indicators, detailed by in- dividual transit agencies, is summarized in chapter three. TRAINING CONCERNS Electronic Diagnostics With the advent of microprocessor-controlled equipment and the use of electronic diagnostics, the process for trou- bleshooting is better controlled. Training requirements have changed, but not necessarily decreased. Today’s mainte- nance person must be properly trained in the use of the di- agnostic test equipment, failure codes, and fault analysis, to efficiently diagnose a failure and replace the required parts. The larger agencies have a separate training depart- ment with dedicated trainers who spend time in a class- room and on a bus to teach the details of the electronic testing equipment. Most agencies use the OEM training programs for either on-site or factory training. Some agen- cies use the OEM trainers to train the agency trainers, who then train the maintenance employees. Some agencies use supervisory staff to train maintenance employees in the proper use of the electronic equipment. Proper training can result in efficient diagnostics and expedite the return of the bus back to service. Almost all of the responding agencies noted that electronic diagnostic equipment has reduced the guesswork and time of a formerly painstaking process that relied heavily on the experience of the maintenance person. If an agency is not experiencing productivity improvement with the use of electronic diagnostic equipment, its training methods should be reviewed. TCRP Synthesis 44: Training for On-Board Bus Electronics details the maintenance

16 training needed to properly troubleshoot the electronic sys- tems (11). Training Programs Most agencies have a qualification process to ensure that maintenance employees have mastered the training pro- gram. Employees must pass the course, show that they can do the work efficiently, and meet quality standards before they are certified to do the work. A few properties have en- couraged their mechanics to become certified by the Na- tional Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). Current ASE certification is available for trucks, but TCRP is working with ASE to develop a bus certification testing program (TCRP Project E-6). New training programs are initiated or updated when new buses arrive on the agency’s property. At most agen- cies, the bus manufacturers and the suppliers of major components provide training for the maintenance staff. Some larger agencies use the OEM training to train the trainers. In their manuals, most of these manufacturers in- clude a flat rate time for warranty maintenance repair work, a rate that may be incorporated into the training process. In such instances agencies have found that it is helpful to request flat rate times in new bus procurement specifications. (Sample SRT are shown in Figure 1.) Many agencies include some type of repair times in their training programs, but those times are used only as a guideline. In- dividual agencies should carefully review their training programs to determine whether they wish to include main- tenance repair times. Retraining on tasks that have been modified with improved processes, procedures, parts, and new tools should also be considered. Performance Goals Almost all the agencies emphasize performance goals in training. It is imperative for management and union em- ployees to be aware of, and support, the goals. Road-call goals are considered a sign of the quality of work per- formed, especially in the PM inspections. Productivity is measured by completing the PM inspections within the standards. All of the responding transit agencies use a variation of similar measurements, such as mileage per service interruption (road call) and times to complete PMIs. Others use road calls broken down by fleet and sys- tem, cost per bus, repeat failures, making pullouts, fuel and oil mileage, number of PMIs completed within scheduled mileage, and labor cost per mile. For some agencies, the repair times to accomplish a given task are used as a per- formance goal, whereas other agencies use the same pa- rameter only as a guide. If an agency uses the standard as a goal and the employee consistently fails to meet the stan- dard, a manager will first discuss the problem with the em- ployee. Repeated failures will lead to retraining and finally progressive disciplinary measures. Agencies that use the standard only as a guide usually communicate that the standard is something to strive for and that there need not be any compromising of quality and safety. Ultimately, employees must be closely monitored and given feedback when problems occur. QUALITY ISSUES Most transit agencies aggressively monitor work quality. Many of the agencies that responded to the questionnaire emphasized that quality is the primary goal when address- ing employee productivity. Respondents reported that moni- toring quality is the most important task, and many agencies have a separate quality assurance department or use first-line supervision for this purpose. Setting time standards and moni- toring productivity is secondary to instilling a quality mind- set among management and all employees. The information scrutinized by transit agencies to moni- tor quality also provides insight into the efficiency of the maintenance practices and can be further developed into productivity measurements. For example, the review of road calls according to miles operated between service in- terruptions may give the transit agency a picture of the ef- fectiveness of their PM programs and repair maintenance programs. Many agencies also monitor the rebuild life of various components and compare mileage, duty cycle, and hours with those of new components, as well as with what other transit agencies are experiencing. Such information can be used for deciding whether to continue performance of the maintenance work in-house, purchase something new, or send the work to a vendor. Monitoring short-component-life data should be used to prompt a review of that component to find the cause of the failure. Remediation of the problem and determination of the correction must include a review with the employee in- volved, materials used, and maintenance procedure used. Doing so may mean updating and revising training, using new parts or materials, revising new bus specifications, updating the procedure, and designing new tools and test equipment for the task. Performance monitoring systems are essential for de- veloping productivity and quality improvements. The agency’s performance monitoring systems can be validated with the data provided by the transit industry by telephone, e-mail, and the APTA and TRB Webboards. Failure to maintain or update a productivity improve- ment program will cause it to become irrelevant, and even- tually it will be abandoned. Improvement must be continu- ously studied and implemented. A comment made at the

17 end of a report on transit agency productivity improve- ment, by using the shortest possible processing time rule, has particular relevance to this synthesis: “Another lesson to be read into all of this is that no solution is permanent, and must be either ‘maintained’ or updated if it is to yield long term results” (12). UPDATE ON RELATED SYNTHESES TCRP Synthesis 22: Monitoring Bus Maintenance Performance The purpose of this 1997 synthesis (13) was to summarize a sampling of approaches that transit agencies and one pri- vate truck fleet use to monitor maintenance performance. Traditional monitoring approaches are covered, along with more sophisticated approaches. This synthesis covered the key issues that must be considered when measuring bus mainte- nance performance. It noted that each agency had a different approach to monitoring maintenance performance. Further- more, it provided details on the transit agencies that are using sophisticated computer systems to monitor productivity, the production of formal documented work standards, and the use of SRT. The agencies chosen for review tended to have a large fleet and significant union involvement. Improvements in maintenance productivity were emphasized. NCTRP Synthesis of Transit Practice 4: Allocation of Time for Transit Maintenance Functions Mentioned previously, this 1984 synthesis (4) reviewed the use of standard maintenance job times (work standards) for transit bus maintenance at two transit agencies. The time– work studies were performed almost 20 years ago and are very dated. Some of the problems documented in this study surfaced because SRT were being used and documented for the first time within the agencies. Management changes and problems inherent in the systems prohibited the agen- cies’ abilities to update the standards and to use them for productivity improvements. Both agencies have since re- duced their use of SRT as a productivity tool and are cur- rently using those SRT as a guide.

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TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Synthesis 54: Maintenance Productivity Practices provides descriptions of successful maintenance productivity programs and creative modifications to existing programs.

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