Since the City of Tampa, Fla., began outsourcing its parts room in 2015, the fleet has been able to improve technician productivity, improve parts availability, and streamline its procurement processes, according to MANCON LLC.
Before contracting with an on-site parts inventory management service provider, the Tampa fleet was faced with a challenge familiar to that of many public fleets — not having the right parts and supplies to support maintenance. The lack of timely parts receipt adversely affected Tampa technicians’ ability to turn vehicles around, which was a source of frustration for its customers.
“City purchasing did their best to maintain parts contract coverage for our fleet, but because of our wide variety of equipment and the unpredictability of parts needed ‘on demand’ for certain vehicle types, this was a nearly impossible task,” recalled Connie White-Arnold, Tampa’s fleet manager.
Tampa fleet’s parts room was managed by an external division and fleet staff relied on city purchasing to procure parts. When the procurement process couldn’t be responsive enough to provide parts required for repairs which were on a tight timeline, Tampa technicians would use purchase cards to buy parts that they needed.
“Inventory management just wasn’t a core competency for us, and my technicians spent too much time sourcing, buying, and in some instances, picking up parts from local vendors, plus we were burdened with time-consuming purchase card reconciliation,” White-Arnold said.
This decreased technician productivity, increased overtime requirements, and service to the fleet’s internal customers suffered.
Tampa’s director of purchasing, Greg Spearman, championed the effort to contract out the parts room. He saw the potential benefits of a contractor-operated parts store, including a reduction in the number of bids, purchase orders, and invoices; an increase in on-demand inventory; elimination of over/understocked parts; and improvement in parts availability and timeliness of fleet repairs.
The city awarded MANCON with a competitively solicited contract on Dec. 18, 2014. The five-year contract is approved for a cumulative expenditure of $19.5 million, and the city has five one-year renewal options. The company purchased the city’s remaining inventory at the last receipt price and issues the same inventory to technicians at the same price. Six parts room employees were assigned to other duties within the city.
By Jan. 5, 2015, MANCON was open for business operating Tampa fleet’s parts storerooms.
“The storeroom inventories are tailored to the items that our technicians are using and many more parts are stocked. Plus we receive non-stocked items very quickly from local suppliers,” noted White-Arnold.
With Tampa technicians fully dedicated to vehicle and equipment repair instead of chasing parts, White-Arnold saw immediate improvement.
“My technicians are able to spend more time doing what they enjoy — repairing down vehicles and equipment. Because productivity increased, we were able to implement a more robust preventive maintenance program, which is paying dividends in reduced cost of ownership,” said White-Arnold.