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How productive is your outside service provider?

March 27, 2023
Service providers have a direct impact on your asset availability and operating efficiency. Know how to use data, such as from VMRS codes, to evaluate their productivity.

If you are using outside service providers for your maintenance and repair needs, make sure you have a good handle on just how productive they are. Your service provider’s productivity has a direct impact on your asset availability and your operating efficiency.

When working with an outside service provider, you’ll want to make sure to discuss with them issues such as the time it takes to diagnose a problem, actual repair time, and the number of rework/comebacks, etc. But discussing your expectations is not enough. You need to make sure that you are analyzing hard data that will allow you to evaluate just how productive the service provider is.

See also: The importance of KPIs for performance gains

A good starting place for obtaining reliable data is with Vehicle Maintenance Reporting Standards (VMRS). This universal language of repair was developed in 1970 and, according to the Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) of American Trucking Associations, is “a single, concise coding convention to manage fleets’ assets and analyze maintenance operation costs.” TMC further describes VMRS as “the shorthand of maintenance reporting, eliminating the need for extensive written communications with all the inherent problems of miscommunication normally associated with the written word.”

The use of VMRS codes makes it easy for fleets to see exactly the types of failures they are experiencing and how a shop is repairing a problem. Understanding Standard Repair Times (SRTs), which represent baseline repair times, is also important. They can help you understand how productive a shop is on a variety of common repairs based on how they measure up to the industry established SRTs.

To get a true assessment of a service provider’s performance, it’s important to collect data from every service event, whether it is a simple preventive maintenance service or an unscheduled service event or major overhaul. Once you have all this data, you can evaluate how long it’s taking the service provider to complete a diagnostic assessment. You also can track how long it takes after a diagnosis is made for the truck to be brought into the bay and the repair work started. Be sure to analyze if repairs are delayed because the shop is waiting for parts, which repairs are exceeding SRTs, and how often trucks go back to the shop for the same repair.

See also: Good customer service is a team effort

Having this information allows you to assess the productivity of your outside service providers and to discuss with them areas of improvement based on data. For example, if repairs are typically taking longer than the SRT indicates they should, you can talk to the service provider about the need for additional training for their technicians. If your trucks are sitting waiting for parts, you can discuss parts procurement strategies with your service provider.

This information can also be used to help you compare one service provider to another and allow you to shift work based on the shop’s expertise.

The productivity of your outside service provider impacts your fleet’s efficiency, so make sure you are taking steps to measure their performance and productivity.

Jane Clark is vice president of member services for NationaLease. In this position, she is focused on managing the member services operation as well as working to strengthen member relationships, reduce member costs, and improve collaboration within the NationaLease supporting groups. Prior to joining NationaLease, Clark served as area vice president for Randstad, one of the nation’s largest recruitment agencies, and before that, she served in management posts with QPS Cos., Pro Staff, and Manpower Inc.

About the Author

Jane Clark | Senior VP of Operations

Jane Clark is Senior Vice President, Operations for NationaLease. Prior to joining NationaLease, Jane served as Area Vice President for Randstad, one of the nation’s largest recruitment agencies, and before that, she served in management posts with QPS Companies, Pro Staff, and Manpower, Inc.

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