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CALGARY, Alta. - Discussions about fleet maintenance programs usually focus on fine tuning schedules and investing in the right equipment.But a successful program requires more than just the right too...

CALGARY, Alta. – Discussions about fleet maintenance programs usually focus on fine tuning schedules and investing in the right equipment.

But a successful program requires more than just the right tools and technologies.

To identify these elusive yet critical intangibles Truck News picked the brains of three of North America’s leading authorities on fleet maintenance.

Kelly Walker is one of North America’s most respected maintenance gurus.

He says the key ingredient to running a successful maintenance program is “control, control, control.”

Walker says effective maintenance managers will maintain control over the workplace and make their expectations well-known among the entire staff.

“The major control tool is the work order,” says Walker.

“Time to complete expectations (should be) put on work orders to control technicians’ time, and maximum cost (should be) put on work orders to control the cost of the work.”

He also insists all shops should have an operations manual that includes guidelines for repairing and replacing equipment.

Walker also says it’s important to ensure your shop is getting the most out of its technicians.

“The next time you see your best technician washing tools or fetching parts, think about what that’s costing you,” he says.

Ray Gilroy, dean of the School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Technology for NAIT is responsible for training the next generation of maintenance personnel, and he emphasizes the profession is a two-sided coin.

On one hand it’s important to learn all the practical skills necessary to do the job, while at the same time maintaining the right attitude.

“Some of it is practical and related to the maintenance of equipment and I think part of it is psychological and related to the attitude of the people within the company,” says Gilroy.

He says having a good attitude within a fleet is contagious, and “as a result, they treat the equipment with respect and the maintenance costs are lowered because of a positive attitude within the company.”

Gilroy once worked in a shop where his supervisor insisted all equipment was kept gleaming clean at all times.

“His rationale was that if it looked good and was polished and well-kept, the people operating it would treat it with more respect and hence lower the cost of maintenance,” says Gilroy.

Another key to operating a successful maintenance program, according to Gilroy, is to be proactive when it comes to preventive maintenance.

He says it’s crucial to keep accurate records so that many problems can be headed-off before they occur.

It’s also important to hire a good maintenance staff that can interpret the data that’s collected and know what to do about it.

“It’s one thing to get a bunch of readings…you’ve got to have somebody reading those results who knows what they mean,” says Gilroy.

Over his 39-year career in the trucking industry, Bill Dinino has learned a thing or two about how to run a successful maintenance program.

He’s developed what he refers to as the KASH system (Knowledge, Attitude, Skills and Habits).

“Knowing your company’s goals, knowing your equipment, products and services, knowing about your suppliers, your mechanical staff and your driving staff and the industry itself,” are all important, says Dinino.

He has immersed himself in the trucking industry to the point he doesn’t consider fleet maintenance work – it’s his life.

Dinino has also surrounded himself with a staff that is as passionate about fleet maintenance as he is, and he says that’s the biggest key to his success.

“To me, successful fleet maintenance management is leadership, personal growth, commitment and you have to view it as a profession and a passion rather than just a job,” he says.

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