Launch Slideshow

Error: less than 300px wide output not yet supported

A ship-shape shop

A ship-shape shop

  • Image

    http://www.pwmag.com/Images/tmp52%2Etmp_tcm111-1331355.jpg?width=150

    true

    Image

    150

    In addition to public works vehicles, Sam Lamerato, superintendent of fleet maintenance in Troy, Mich., maintains police fleets from his own city as well as from other Detroit suburbs. Photo: City of Troy

  • Image

    http://www.pwmag.com/Images/tmp53%2Etmp_tcm111-1331358.jpg?width=150

    true

    Image

    150

    Where do in-sourcing customers come from?Of the nearly 900 people who responded to an exclusive survey, most answered that maintaining other city departments' fleets was on the top of the list These fleets might include fire, police, or other maintenance vehicles. Source; PUBLIC WORKS

  • Image

    http://www.pwmag.com/Images/tmp54%2Etmp_tcm111-1331360.jpg?width=150

    true

    Image

    150

    Why don't you do in-sourcing?Many fleet maintenance departments are stretched too thin to be able to do any kind of in-sourcing. Most respondents (70%) who do in-sourcing charge time and materials costs for their work. Source: PUBLIC WORKS

  • Image

    http://www.pwmag.com/Images/tmp25E%2Etmp_tcm111-1331414.jpg?width=150

    true

    Image

    150

    Charlie Caudill (right), fleet manager, and Oliel Gonzalez, fleet maintenance supervisor in Yuma, Ariz., in-source some fleet maintenance work to help balance the budget. Photo: City of Yuma

  • Image

    http://www.pwmag.com/Images/tmp25F%2Etmp_tcm111-1331417.jpg?width=150

    true

    Image

    150

    David Higgins, director of fleet maintenance Boston's Central Fleet Maintenance division, does all equipment tracking electronically. Photo: City of Boston

Well-Trained People

Training technicians is especially important to Lamerato. He seeks to schedule 40 hours of training each year for every technician. “I bring in trainers to our facility, and we invite surrounding communities to join us,” said Lamerato. “We have training on brakes, on suspensions, on wheel chair lifts, and more—and I can send more people if it's onsite here.”

As co-chair of education for the Michigan Chapter of the American Public Works Association, Lamerato heads statewide technician training efforts. Recently he held a wide-ranging training session at Shanty Creek Resort in Bellaire, Mich., where 122 people gathered to learn about engine emissions, brake linings, and drivelines. Speakers included officials from Caterpillar, Dana Corp., and CCG Systems.

Boston's CFM provides technician training on an as-needed basis. “When we hire them we have a record of who's been trained on what,” said Higgins. “So we know who needs a certain kind of training, whether it's hydraulics or engine ignition or whatever. We try to get everybody trained.”

And they are. Boston's CFM shop has been appointed to do in-house warranty work for General Motors. CFM has established a commercial driver's license (CDL) school for city employees and requires all technicians to have a CDL.

A public fleet needs to be managed much like one in the private sector—like a business. And as more cities are learning, nothing helps the bottom line like a little additional revenue from outside sources.

Brown is a freelance writer in Des Plaines, III.