Having fully-equipped shops, strategically placed in all your critical locations, that are staffed with the proper mixture of trained mechanics and technicians to adequately handle the workload, with a sound preventative maintenance process in place is a pipe dream that many CEO’s and Directors of Maintenance have regularly. The reality of it is, no matter what the structure of your preventative maintenance process happens to be, at some point you’ll be at the mercy of a third-party vendor. As such, if you proactively do your due-diligence it will be rewarded ten-fold and eliminate a lot of stress and expense. A properly implemented in-house “Preventative Maintenance Process” will yield and enable you more control over quality, cost, and priority of repairs in order to meet the demand of your customers. However, if your in-house process is Not properly managed it can and will easily become as costly as an out-sourced maintenance process. As such, these and several other critical factors are what you must ascertain in regards to your perspective vendor in order to determine if they will be able to provide the type of maintenance required to keep your assets moving on a consistent basis enabling you to negotiate accordingly. Knowing your vendors skills, qualifications, and limitations is just as important as knowing the these same aspects on your in-house human capital. Moreover, just because a said vendor happens to be a dealership, by no means does that guarantee they are competent. Remember that bad Wendy’s hamburger you had a few sections back, how about an order of cold fries to go with it? Irregardless of your current maintenance combination you must proactively manage both aspects of the maintenance landscape.
The first-step is a “Vendor Qualification List.” This list should be developed based on a list of qualifications enabling cost-effective repairs. Requesting a vendor to perform maintenance they are unqualified to do will always come at a much higher cost and decreased utilization. It should then be elevated to an agreed upon “Vendor Scorecard” and set hourly rates on SRT (Standard Repair Times) not the amount of time it takes them to complete the repair and parts percentage mark-up. In order to negotiate fair labor rate and parts pricing and hold your vendor accountable its imperative you know how the respective vendor pays his mechanics/technicians. Remember, it must be a win-win for both parties. These vendors need to be set-up in critical areas where your shop configuration cannot support the workload, where you can capture warranty, and well as in the lanes or areas you service on a consistent basis. Yes, this could be right down the street from any one of your brick & mortar shops.
The following is a sample “Vendor Qualification List” but not limited to:
It is the objective of all ( Your Company Name (XXX) ) companies to maintain their vehicular fleets in the best, safest and most efficient operating condition at the lowest cost. Equipment must also be kept neat, clean and uniform in appearance.
As previously mentioned, that was only a “Sample” vendor qualification list, your needs could be somewhat different. The extent and criticality of your Vendor Qualification List is predicated on your dependence on outside vendors. The “Vendor Qualification List” must be signed by both parties and used as the basis for developing the “Vendor Scorecard” monitoring their performance to your need in the areas of cost, asset downtime, response time etc… in each one of their agreed upon service offerings you are utilizing. I would recommend monitoring any new vendor on a monthly basis until which time they have deemed themselves competent and gravitate to quarterly. However, I would recommend never advancing any vendor beyond a quarterly evaluation basis. If so, it becomes way too easy for them to become cozy, comfortable, and complacent. A period of greater than three (3) months, the critical specifics around certain incidents are easily forgotten or confused. Additionally, just as with an employee evaluation the Vendor Scorecard Review should be used to compliment and thank them for a job well done.