The Oil Cop fluid management system enables Cobb County, Georgia's fleet staff to account for all oil dispensed in the shop and accurately bill customers. - Photos: Cobb County

The Oil Cop fluid management system enables Cobb County, Georgia's fleet staff to account for all oil dispensed in the shop and accurately bill customers.

Photos: Cobb County

In May, the Cobb County, Georgia, fleet team moved into a new facility, replacing a building that was about 50 years old.

The $5.5+ million building encompasses 35,000 square feet and includes 18 service bays, a parts department, a service write-up area, and fleet administrative spaces. It was designed to be an energy-efficient repair facility for both traditional and alternative fuel vehicles, and on-road vehicles and off-road equipment.

Months after moving into their new facility, Business Manager Jeff Leonard and Fleet Maintenance Supervisor Scott Misico tell Government Fleet the top five features staff members appreciate the most. Those building new fleet maintenance centers or building a wish-list for an upgrade should take note. 

1. An automated fluid delivery system

The fluid delivery system allows the parts department to input how much fluid is dispensed into each work order, and technicians can see on their laptops how much oil is dispensed. This system is 100% accurate and allows for accurate billing.

The system also notifies fleet staff if fluid tanks are at low levels, or if used oil reaches certain thresholds. This means the fleet operation never runs out of fluids, and used oil is picked up at the right time.

LED lighting and skylights make the new shop much brighter. - Photo: Cobb County

LED lighting and skylights make the new shop much brighter.

Photo: Cobb County

2. LED and natural lighting

A brighter shop is safer, easier to keep clean, and enables technicians to perform work more accurately. It means technicians no longer need drop lights when working underneath vehicle hoods. Fleet management also expects lower energy costs from the more energy-efficient LED lights. 

“The old shop looked like a dungeon compared to the new shop,” Leonard said, adding that the new shop is about five times brighter. 

Top photos: New tire machines lift tires so technicians don’t have to, and an enclosed brake lathe machine keeps dust away from technicians.Bottom photo: Parts personnel oversee all tires in stock, which are now stored in a single location — the tire carousel. - Photos: Cobb County

Top photos: New tire machines lift tires so technicians don’t have to, and an enclosed brake lathe machine keeps dust away from technicians.

Bottom photo: Parts personnel oversee all tires in stock, which are now stored in a single location — the tire carousel.

Photos: Cobb County

3. A safe and ergonomic tire and brake service area 

New equipment includes tire machines and balancers that lift tires up and brake lathes with enclosures to keep dust from being inhaled and keeps the area cleaner. Previously, technicians had to bend down and manually lift tires; today’s larger tires are heavier, so the new machines are expected to reduce injuries and fatigue.

A new tire carousel holds about 270 tires, allowing the operation to store all its tires there and consolidate tire storage into one location. This allows for better tracking and helps reduce inventory as it eliminates the need to have duplicate tires at multiple locations.

The new shop has 17 bays shared among 12 technicians. The shop also has new technician toolboxes. - Photos: Cobb County

The new shop has 17 bays shared among 12 technicians. The shop also has new technician toolboxes.

Photos: Cobb County

4. 40% larger service area

The service area is 30,000 square feet and has room for 17 vehicle lifts and an alignment rack — an upgrade from the previous shop’s 10 lifts for 12 technicians. Master technicians now have access to two lifts each, so they can work on one car while another is awaiting parts. 

This allowed for improved efficiency — instead of 20 awaiting work orders, there are normally four to five, Misico said.

The service writer area, where customers drop off vehicles, has ample room for social distancing. - Photo: Cobb County

The service writer area, where customers drop off vehicles, has ample room for social distancing.

Photo: Cobb County

5. Administrative area improvements

It’s not just the shop floor that comes with improvements. A new conference room with teleconferencing and audio-visual equipment provides a space for meetings and training. The service writer office, which is also the customer waiting area, is more comfortable and is large enough to allow customers to socially distance.

Leonard added that a big plus is that everything is on one floor, and just a door separates the administrative and shop staff. Previously, administrative offices were upstairs. The proximity allows for easier communication and facilitates interaction.

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