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the exclusive maintenance resource for the transit and motorcoach industry

Software improves the MCI supply chain


Basic questions before transmission maintenance p 5 Repair or replace? p 6


Parking lot dings are the tip of an expensive iceberg Insignificant as they may seem, unreported parking lot dings and maintenance yard mishaps are like an iceberg. Only a fraction of the problem is showing above the waterline. Too often sloughed off as a minor inconvenience, they actually manifest into a major drain on the company. Without an investigation or follow-up report, the operator sees only the most direct costs of an accident. Meanwhile, all the indirect costs are lurking below the surface from investigations, downtime and loss of production. The costs above and below the waterline add up to the real cost of an accident, which operators can measure and control. While these small but significant accidents take place every day, operators quite often do not take action; or they wait to make repairs because the damage does not warrant taking the vehicle out of service. This is ignoring the threat. One large bus transportation company started capturing parking lot damages and quickly realized it had experienced no less than 164 incidents in the first six months at an estimated cost of $267,727, or $1,600 per unreported incident. In this particular company, everyone knew from training what their role and duties would be when a major collision occurred. With these smaller, slyly expensive minor accidents, no one knew what to do or if they needed to do anything. A company must manage all parking lot accidents with the same focus and resources it would in higher profile crashes, and not allow any incident to go unreported.

Vol. 03 • No. 09 Publisher / Editor in Chief Steve Kane Associate Publisher Sali T. Williams Editor David Hubbard Managing Editor Richard Tackett Art Director Stephen Gamble Production Director Valerie Valtierra Accountant Fred Valdez

Stephen Evans, vice president, Safety, Pacific Western Group, Calgary, AB, Canada SEPTEMBER 2013


BUS industry SAFETY council

Software improves the supply chain

MCI’s parts planning excels with Smart Software


Answer basic questions before pulling transmission maintenance By Barry Jeshurin


Repair or replace, that is the question By David Hubbard 6 2

A publication of:




Products and Services


POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to: BUSRide Magazine 4742 North 24th Street, Suite 340 Phoenix, Arizona 85016 Phone: (602) 265-7600 Fax: (602) 277-7588


IPA offers Digital Flow Meter/Nozzle The IPA Digital Flow Meter/Nozzle provides a safe and accurate method for transferring common fuels by integrating a high-quality digital flow meter into a low-profile fuel nozzle. The Digital Flow Meter/ Nozzle places the meter display in a direct line of sight with the point of fuel delivery. The flow meter display features gallons, liters, quarts or pints settings, including a lifetime tally, and may be calibrated in the field. IPA says the inline wire mesh filter protects the meter, and prevents unwanted contaminants from being transferred. The tool requires two AA batteries. Batteries last approximately 9,000 hours between replacements. The Digital Flow Meter/Nozzle works with common diesel, gasoline and kerosene, along with any barrel-type or standard fuel transfer pump. IPA says the product comes in red or black. Innovative Products of America Woodstock, NY

Q’Straint adds Q’POD Velocity Xpress release handle Q’Straint says this fully-mechanical remote option for its Q’POD eliminates the need for electrical integration and makes Q’POD installation retrofits faster and less costly. The release system enables drivers to unlock rear restraints for 15 seconds, enabling quicker wheelchair securement and better positioning. The remote release minimizes bending by driver/operators, reducing back injuries and improving securement. The original Q’POD Electric XPress Delay remains the default release mechanism with all new orders, but agencies now have an option. With the Velocity XPress remote release, operators can elect to reduce total acquisition costs on new buses they want to outfit with Q’PODs. The company says in a retrofit installation Velocity XPress lowers the cost of outfitting existing buses with Q’PODs. Q’Straint Fort Lauderdale, FL

WAGO releases ETHERNET 2.0 and SPEEDWAY ETHERNET Starter Kits WAGO Corporation says its ETHERNET 2.0 (IP20) and SPEEDWAY (IP67) ETHERNET Starter Kits offer a low-cost approach to training. Developed to provide WAGO-I/OSYSTEM fundamentals, the ETHERNET Starter Kits consist of comprehensive I/O nodes complete with software site licenses and hardware. Augmenting the kits are free, downloadable sample applications including: visualization, controlling process digital inputs and outputs, controlling rotating machinery and processing the fieldbus controller’s real-time clock. Based on WAGO’s IP20 and IP67 control platforms, the high-value ETHERNET Starter Kits feature supplementary I/O modules, power supplies and cabling. A Quick Start Guide and “tools & documents” DVD are also included to support training. WAGO Corporation Germantown, WI | BUSRIDE MAINTENANCE



improves the supply chain re MCI’s par ts planning excels with Smart Softwa


aving the right part available at the right time is getting easier thanks to Smart Software, a provider in enterprise demand forecasting, planning and inventory optimization. Several transportation organizations are finding that the company’s SmartForecasts help to lower the cost of excess inventory while improving service levels. Motor Coach Industries (MCI), Schaumburg, IL, builds intercity coaches in the U.S. and Canada, and also operates its aftermarket parts distribution network from its facility in Louisville, KY. Stan Dzierzega, a member of MCI’s Business Excellence group and former executive director of operations, says MCI is using the software for major improvements in its supply chain operations. Over a three-year period the MCI parts planning team has achieved a 10 percent net inventory reduction, with the team improving fill rates by more than two percentage points. With the company pushing fulfillment rates to all-time highs, Dzierzega says this has enabled MCI to complete more orders and improve customer satisfaction. “Fill rates are very important at MCI,” he says. “We fulfill customer expectations by having everything in stock and fill the complete order when the customer needs it.” MCI is using SmartForecasts to augment efforts to better serve its parts customers. MCI in 2010 introduced Coach Critical, a parts delivery guarantee for coach-down vehicles. With the help of its customers, MCI identified 1,500 parts truly critical to the operation of an MCI coach, including axles, windshields, body parts, HVAC elements and motors. When a customer has a coach down and needs a part from the Coach Critical list, MCI promises to ship it or a suitable alternative by the next business day or will issue the customer a credit for 50 percent of the part price (up to $150). MCI carries 120,000 unique parts in inventory, stored at four 4


warehouses and its seven service centers throughout North America. Most of those parts have hard-to-forecast intermittent demand, meaning they’re only needed sporadically. This could sometimes be as few as three or four times a year with spikes in usage occurring randomly. By using SmartForecasts, MCI is accurately managing stocking levels for all of its parts, including those difficult-to-forecast parts. “We chose SmartForecasts because it’s better than other forecasting solutions, especially for our situation,” Dzierzega says. “While other forecasting solutions try to predict when demand will happen, SmartForecasts advises how much stock to keep in inventory over a lead time. In addition, its intermittent demand forecasting methodology is better than everyone else’s. It also includes all the methodologies that other vendors have.” SmartForecasts includes patented technology that not only provides accurate forecasts of items with intermittent demand, but also accurately estimates safety stock and inventory requirements for any desired service level and specified lead time. As a standalone best-in-class system, SmartForecasts is more agile than other products MCI evaluated. It offered MCI a number of options for integration in their IT environment. The most important benefit came down to what SmartForecasts does best: accurately forecasting intermittent demand. What has become evident is that the technology is more than a tactical tool. SmartForecasts has been a catalyst for the planning function to run smoothly, allowing management to think more strategically about how it can keep coaches rolling. Above: Smart Software has enabled MCI to complete more orders and improve customer satisfaction.

Answer basic questions before pulling transmission maintenance By Barry Jeshurin

At Dartco Transmission, we begin our diagnosis by asking basic questions before our technicians move forward with the necessary repairs. We find it surprising that customers will tell us they performed a critical check, only to hear they thought they had, but in fact did not do a complete enough inspection on a particular component or system to keep the situation from worsening. Take action by answering these questions first:

Is there a problem with a fuse? Even competent technicians occasionally fall prey to this simple but often overlooked procedure. Addressing these basic transmission maintenance concerns can often prevent an expensive repair and downtime while the vehicle is in the shop. Barry Jeshurin serves as vice president, Operations, for Dartco Transmission, Anaheim, CA.

Is there too much or too little fluid in the transmission? The correct level of transmission fluid is critical in reducing friction and heat, allowing an automatic transmission to run smoothly and operate at maximum performance. Does the keypad light up when you start the vehicle? Warning lights are always posers, but consider this: The driver starts the engine, not the transmission. The transmission follows instructions from the engine based on the programmed parameters. Do any warning lights other than “Check Trans” come on? Technology is the answer. Dartco Transmission has installed engine diagnostic software on many of its computers to find the source of a problem. Were there any visible leaks at the transmission during the last pre-trip inspection? A visual inspection of the transmission can be a challenge considering how tight everything is packed into the engine compartment. On some buses, the sidedoors alongside the engine compartment will give some access to the transmission for a visual assessment. The road grime accumulated in the undercarriage can be challenging. Regardless, this step is imperative before starting out on a long trip.

WOULD YOUR TIRES COST LESS IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE TO BUY THEM? Get great tires without a great expense by paying only for the tires you use. Bridgestone Mileage Sales can offer a price per mile for your charter, intercity or city-suburban operations. You’ll get top-quality Bridgestone radial tires, backed by an extensive coast-to-coast support network. Call today, and let us handle your tire program, so you can focus on the rest of your business.

Mileage Sales Division • 1-800-342-MILE (6453) Precisely The Right Tire.

Bridgestone Corporation For more information visit our website ©2013 Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, LLC. All Rights Reserved. BAN130060_Tires Cost Less_fractional 1


Repair or replace, that is the question

By David Hubbard


n the mop-up after an accident, one major decision is often whether to repair or replace the damaged coach. With several mitigating scenarios in play with no one correct answer, simply do the math. Before the accident, the coach carried a cash value that becomes the base to measure the severity of damage. After the accident, the repair could cost $100,000 on a coach valued at $200,000. The insurance company considers both the pre-accident value and age of the vehicle, and then measures it against the repair estimate. Where the margin is close, it may decide to just write it off. The operator may even prefer to take the cash and apply it to operating expenses. In another scenario, the operator accepts the cash to send it to the collision repair company, but instead parks the damaged coach on the lot and runs another coach in its place. This, again, is using the money to keep afloat when business is down. The problem is that when business improves and the company needs all its coaches, the operator is faced with scraping together the $100,000 to make repairs. The owner also may receive a salvage bid for the vehicle in its heavily damaged state. A realistic salvage bid might be $20,000. Added to the repair bill, there is a gap of $80,000 between what the insurance company has to pay the owner and the estimate.

Financial considerations “The closer that gap becomes, the more likely of a write off,” says Brad Field, president of BRC Coach and Transit, Calgary, AB, Canada. “The financial considerations seem to always come first.” Downtime always costs money, even if the insurance company is paying a stipend. Time out of service figures prominently when a replacement coach is not an option. 6


“The objective is to create the smallest possible interruption in revenue stream,” Field says. “The decision to repair or replace may hinge on which option is the fastest.”

Push for the write-off “Much of the time and cost has to do with availability of parts and costs associated with waiting for the order to arrive,” Field says. “The owner who cannot afford to have the coach out of service may push for the write-off and start looking at a pre-owned replacement.” Choose the collision repair service carefully. Consider the fully equipped one-stop shops as opposed to collision companies that may have to farm out much of the work. Fields says there isn’t much the best collision repair shop cannot do, especially on coaches with pre-accident values of over $500,000. “It would take an absolute catastrophic event for us to call it a write-off,” he says. “When it comes to the actual physical damage, a topnotch collision repair shop can rebuild and refurbish just about any heavy collision.”

Save time and money The key, says Field, is to save time and money for both the owner and the insurance company, and still deliver a great final product in the shortest amount of time possible. “All too often, an estimate will come in at $60,000 with the promise of a three-month turnaround,” says Rob Peck, BRC vice president, business development. “By the time the job is complete, eight months may have passed and the shop may have submitted another $30,000 worth of supplements to the operator or insurance company.”


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BUSRide Maintenance September 2013  
BUSRide Maintenance September 2013  

The exclusive maintenance resource for the transit and motorcoach industry. In our September 2013 cover story: Software improves MCI's suppl...