Tracking and Calculating Conversation


Tracking and Calculating Conversation

I am posting a recent conversation that took place between three FleetAnswers members:

Original Request:

What is your actual mechanic productivity percentage 55% and how do you track and calculate it?

Responder 1:

What do you mean when you say “productivity”?  The 55% number seems to indicate that you are looking at the percent of billable hours, but I can't tell for sure.  We don't currently track productivity at the job level.   We will be able to do it later next year, then we will have some real stuff to talk about. We measure the percent of available (billable) hours that are actually billed out.  Not a really good measurement, but its the best we can do right now.   

Responder 2: 

You are exactly right, billable hours don't necessarily mean ‘high' productivity. 

Having said that, please keep in mind Staffing levels are determined by using correct Labor hours per year/vehicle, and turning them into Vehicle Equivalents; total vehicle equivalents for fleet are then divided by how many Vehicle Equivalents each mechanic is expected to handle.

So, at least you are close on having correct number of Technicians in shop area. By standardizing what a Vehicle Equivalent equals (12 hours year, 14 hours year or 16 hours year on a base unit), then, Fleet Managers and Buyers Group can move forward and determine a standard Vehicle Equivalent for each piece of equipment.

The more we standardize, the easier it will to zero in on productivity and were improvements can be made. It is all inter-related…

Responder 3 (Member with Original Request):

You are correct in that I was not looking at productivity. This was about right sizing the    technician pool and looking at how we are staffed compared to industry standards.

We are taking a hard look at staffing levels and I have concerns when we compare ourselves to industry standards, best in class, POE's per Tech, etc.  My first concern is surrounding Tech expectations as in; do all Fleets we compare to, outsource the same work or have the same maintenance processes which would have an impact on Tech's per POE.  Next I am not comfortable with comparisons if everyone on the survey has a different formula to calculate the required tech's per type of equipment so I wanted to know how similar Fleets made their calculations.

I strive to keep things simple so I use a formula which is to call one hour of required maintenance 1 VMU (vehicle maintenance unit) which in theory means I potentially have 2080 VMU's per Tech per year.  I then took each type of equipment and project 5 years of maintenance work by hours (that way nothing should be missed such as brakes, tires, shocks etc on the low hour side and also things like ANSI required 5 year Aerial Overhauls which can take significant hours) I then take the total hours, divide by 5 and that is my targeted in-house maintenance requirement by hours for each POE per year.  I then calculate out actual Tech productive time by starting with 2080 hours and subtracting all non-productive time such as vacation, holidays, breaks, training, clerical, shop clean up, etc. and I come up with an average of 1322 hours of Tech VMU's  (actual wrench turning or billable hours) At that point I use simple math to determine the correct amount of Tech's and I don't add any weighting to any of my numbers as again they are simply based on 1 VMU equals 1 hour. I did not count any of our outsourced work toward the VMU requirements which in our program is fairly minimal. About the only work that is outsourced is Glass, Body Repair, and Engine/Trans rebuilds. We do the engine or trans R&R in house with an OEM remanufactured component.

I would like to see an industry standard measurement in this area versus the simple Tech's to POE ratio's, but until then I was interested in the full formula's and theories others use to determine the correct amount of Tech's for their maintenance program.

Responder 2:

Nice to hear others are involved in this process. Everyone has a ‘method' for determining correct technician staffing levels for their shop. Yours is the first one I have seen that is ‘realistic' with amount of time each technician really has to ‘turn' wrenches and bill out labor.

At Fleet Service Division (FSD), each technician has the potential of 1,456 hours of billable labor (subtracting Vacation, holidays, Workers Comp., training, funeral leave, Military Leave, etc. from 2,080 hours/year base)

At FSD, 30% of 2080 hours/year is gone, due to listed items, before technician even turns a wrench.

Then, from the 1,456 hours you have to subtract; breaks, shop clean-up, shop tool repair, meetings, and other indirect times related to shop activities. I get about 1200 hours of tech wrench turning time or 57% billable hours. Looks like I have some work to do, to get to your 1322 hours or 63.5% billable hours.

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture

At OG&E we currently use 1720 hrs per mechanic per year for budgeting and resource planning. Which is the total hours available minus S/L and Vacation. However each month I caluclate actual time charged to orders versus available time. Available time is calculated by taking 8hrs/day times the number of days in a given month minus the actual time used for vacation, s/l, trianing, etc.. Normally we average between 92% and 98%. Each mechanic has a goal of 94%, however Overtime can help improve their average, but we really try to keep our overtime down and only allow it for after hour service calls and no more than 1hr if they can complete a repair and get a unit back in service.

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture


That is interesting information. We took a lot of our tools from Dolce's book, Fleet Management and Analytical Fleet Maintenance Management.  We use the standard of 65% of all "productive time" should be spent on Preventive Maintenance and the other 35% spent on unscheduled repairs (after the reduction for vac, sick leave, breaks, etc.).

We outsource all ANSI inspections and ANSI rebuilds. We outsource inframe engine rebuilds, but we do R&R transmissions in house.  Our software allows us to report all work that is done from work orders and gives me average times.  We then use that "Shop Average" data against our existing fleet list and are able to determine the # of hours a year that is required to meet our scheduled work load (I.e. preventive maintenance). I compare that to the # of available tech hours.

Not to complex but has worked very well for us.

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture

NAFA has a published guide for determining shop staffing requirements.  It includes brenchmarking data from a number of responding fleets to help determine service equilivents for various vehicle classes.  We have used this guide to determine the proper shop staffing at our location.  We also consider how our vehicles are used and the the impact of downtime from the vehicle user perspective as most of our PM work is performed by mechanics on our evening shift when vehicles are gnerally idle.

NAFA also has a comprehensive vehicle classification system that is part of the guide and  if used would aide a fleet in making comparisons to the fleet benchmarking data collected or  submitting benchmarking data.  We have not reclassified our fleet to this level of detail but use the system at a higher level.

We found the guide useful and a tool to use with higher level management to justify staffing at our garage location.