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The Infamous White Board and Its Cousins

Dec. 15, 2014
Many fleet shop leaders like to use the “white board” as the board that manages the shop! It controls all the activities, the to-do list, PMI scheduling, special order parts, special notes, the list of trucks in service, the list of truck that are out of service, comments for employees, notes from employees to employees, maintenance data, last oil changes, last air filter … you name it, it’s on the infamous “White Board”. 

Many fleet shop leaders like to use the “white board” as the board that manages the shop! It controls all the activities, the to-do list, PMI scheduling, special order parts, special notes, the list of trucks in service, the list of truck that are out of service, comments for employees, notes from employees to employees, maintenance data, last oil changes, last air filter … you name it, it’s on the infamous “White Board”. 

I have seen them in the shop, in the office, in the hall way, in the bathroom, in front of the urinal, the hopper door, or the wall next to the hopper (that’s the best one yet). I have seen them where you can stand on the ground to update the data, stand on a step ladder, use a regular ladder and the craziest, a pallet on a forklift. (OSHA certainly would like that). That takes two men to update the information, by the way, which was months old, if you read it or anyone else did other than the owner or boss.

In most cases other that the simple notes, the PM information is always out of date, the notes make no sense, the graphics are just graphic, and the lists are not current. The white board also has many cousins like the clip boards, all hanging nice and neat in a row (more than two is a sign that there are too many cousins, too many lists of outdated information or a sign of inefficiencies and uncompleted projects).

My point is these boards are a waste of effort for PM scheduling and other maintenance tracking data. As for the notes, there may be some value if updated daily. I would suggest if you use a white board, consider the real value and updated it daily, maybe make it a policy to erase it daily and rewrite the information, see what that brings. If one of your employees uses it for managing, see if it is up to date. The owner or boss may figure out before you that it is not up to date and may not like what he sees and reads. Instead use a spread sheet or software, or a spiral wire note book. And if there are that many notes on a white board, fix the issues and audit all the clip boards. If you let them just fill up, remember that perception is reality, and you will be perceived as possibly not in control.

About the Author

Darry Stuart | President

Darry Stuart has more than 45 years of experience in the transportation industry. As President/ CEO of DWS Fleet Management Services, he has been providing “Limited Time Executive" services in transportation and fleet equipment management to a variety of companies.

An ASE-certified master technician, Stuart began his career on the shop floor before moving on to fleet management executive positions at Perdue Chicken, BFI (Browning-Ferris Industries), United Truck Leasing, the  Keen  Companies, and Cumberland Farms/Gulf Oil.

For 35 years, Stuart has been an active member of the Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) of the American Trucking Assns., serving as the group’s general chairman from 2007-2008. He is the recipient of numerous industry awards, including TMC's Silver Spark Plug, which is given in recognition of an individual's outstanding contributions to the cause of excellence in heavy-duty vehicle maintenance management. He has been cited as an industry expert or authored over  250 articles on equipment and fleet management topics.

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