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Improving productivity: Sometimes it’s the little things

If we are honest with ourselves, we all can probably admit there is room for productivity improvements in our businesses.

All too often though I think we look for that one Big Thing that will suddenly make us 50 percent more productive. And while those leaps in productivity are great, the reality is they don’t happen all that often.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t make incremental changes in our business processes that will result in more modest productivity improvements.

Last fall we met with our maintenance managers and asked them to share some of the little things they have been doing to become more productive. As part of the lean analysis conducted for Kris-Way Truck Leasing Inc., a NationaLease member, Jim Ryan, vice president of operations, and Brian Roberts, director of maintenance, said they found lots of ways to improve productivity. I realize a lean analysis is a big undertaking but out of that analysis can come many small ways to be more productive.

One of them dealt with technician labor as it relates to PM/oil changes. In fact, Ryan and Roberts say they are seeing savings of 50 minutes per PM/oil change.

Here’s what they did: They made modifications to the oil evacuation process they had been using. In only 10 to 14 minutes, the new process allows technicians to purge the used oil filter, take an oil sample, evacuate the sump to a waste tank or quick cart and refill the engine with oil and install a new oil filter.

They’ve also added a fuel priming system that eliminates additional steps and reduces the need for clean up.

This is just one example of a simple way you can make your shop more productive. I will be sharing more of these productivity enhancers with you in future blogs, but would love to hear about some of the little things you are doing to make your shops more productive.

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