When Mahanth Joishy started as the fleet superintendent for the City of Madison, Wisconsin, in 2017, the fleet operation didn’t effectively use data to track its maintenance operation. Without data, it couldn’t tell how well it was doing or set measurable goals. In the past four years, the fleet operation has stepped up its data use and improved its operation as a result.
One of its most impressive improvements is reducing vehicle out-of-service levels by a factor of four. Joishy receives daily report on out-of-service vehicles at 3:30 p.m. every weekday — like at New York City, his former employer. When he first set this up, he was seeing about 140 vehicles out of service every day; this number has decreased to 30-40.
He first started with learning how to use the Faster fleet management system and setting up the right reports, with free help from Rahul Kamath, a cousin in the private sector. Coming from a much larger fleet where on-site consultants handled this work and which used a different fleet software, he had a lot to learn, and it took a couple of months.
The second step was to train technicians and supervisors how to use the system correctly and reiterate the importance of correct data entry. Statuses — such as active, waiting parts, waiting mechanic, etc. — had to be input correctly. Supervisors had to close out work orders correctly.
“It was the Wild West,” Joishy said in describing how data entry was handled previously. “We had standard operating procedures in place; we trained every technician on how to enter everything properly in the system. That's where a lot of fleets have trouble. The data entry might not be what mechanics are the best at, or the parts technicians are best at.”
Other things that helped include hiring David Coy. a full-time data analyst; making sure shop supervisors assigned the right jobs to the right people; and improving parts availability.
Finally, Joishy said he tries to gamify the process of making improvements to motivate technicians. They try to reach quarterly goals.
“The out of service number, the PM [preventive maintenance] overdue number, technician direct time, it's like a game for us to try to win to achieve it. And that makes us all feel like we're part of a team,” he said.