Lean Six Sigma Helps Fleets Keep Moving

Lean Six Sigma Helps Fleets Keep Moving

In the following article we’ll discuss a crucial topic that’s “Lean Six Sigma Helps Fleets Keep Moving” let’s discuss in details:

Several fleets employ an array of Lean Six Sigma (LSS) tools to actually reduce costs of operations. They use it to enhance and improve the predictability of currently available vehicles and formalize business processes. They also use it in order to create high standards for repairs. Many fleet operations are familiar with standardization.

They understand Lean Six Sigma isn’t a training program for manufacturing. Shortly after LSS concepts were identified to help manufacturing, service operations began to use these tools and techniques. Lean Six Sigma’s production-related principles apply to fleets. Fleet Maintenance and repair processes in reality involve production, not only value-add service. When you actually move vehicles from needing a repair to repair completion it’s “Work in Progress” to “Ready to ship”.

Fleet operation now uses LSS as a management strategy in order to improve process quality. They use a lean Six Sigma process to identify the main root causes of errors and variability in operations. In doing LSS projects, you’ll be able to improve the efficiency of your business operation. In such a case, you improve your fleet of vehicles. An LSS project follows a really defined sequence of steps. The kind of project determines the sequence of steps (DMAIC v. DMADV). DMAIC is to actually change an existing process.

Some of the ways a fleet may actually use LSS tools are given below. They use a tool like a Run Chart so as to check a small problem. You’ll be able to then verify if it’s getting worse over a period of time. Deploy a value Stream Map in order to determine if the current steps are necessary. You can easily determine which add value and which do not.

Often, these are small projects that don’t take long to execute. These small projects can have an enormous impact on your fleet operations. Projects also allow participation from personnel. Participation can often be critical to buy-in and long run success.

A crucial process for getting a workspace or work area organized is 5S. 5S is actually helpful in maintaining the organization and cleanliness of a workshop area. If we talk about the 5S they actually stand for Sort, Straighten, Shine, Standardize as well as Sustain. It comes from a Japanese concept for housekeeping. Some fleets we have worked with also incorporate a sixth “S” – for Safety; thus the +1.

Sort” refers to the moving of everyday tools as well as hardware to a preferred specific location. You remove irregular ones for storage elsewhere. 

Straighten” refers that you put these things in a bin for really easy identification. You can then easily locate these bins as well as storage in actual work areas. This may actually cut the steps by technicians on day-to-day tasks. 

If we talk about “Shine” it actually means you clean a region (and keep it clean). Place warning signs in visible areas – you may even incorporate this into safety.

Standardize” is actually when the team develops as well as documents any and all processes. The team can place a process that affects everyone on wall placards for visibility. To actually assist “standardize”, some fleet repair operations will create bins for the top 3 to five common repair jobs. In the bins, they show the hardware/tools needed for the job. This eliminates extra steps (refer here to waste) that an inexperienced tech may take. This might actually be because they forgot something needed for that repair. When an operator uses standards, it allows the garage to further maintain the 1st 3 “S” categories. 

Sustain” will actually rely on discipline, so as to stick to the rules. It can cultivate a sense of encouragement from the entire team. 

The team can actually incorporate the plus 1 which is “Safety” with extra steps such as visible safety tape on floors. Moreover, this actually shows the safest (as well as most efficient) path to tools and even hardware. You can also locate safety equipment throughout the facility for really easy access. Harmful materials are set in a designated area with lots of signage.

Making use of The Pareto Principle

Another way that in which fleets are actually adapting LSS techniques is by further using a Pareto analysis or chart. Use a Pareto Chart when a fleet has many repairs or a typical repair with several root causes. A fleet manager can actually simply observe past repair orders, for the previous year. Then chart the issues so as to determine their frequency of occurrence. The manager has the info to concentrate on work effort. The manager can give priority to tools and hardware a fleet will need in its inventory for succeeding quarter. Remember or think back to the 5S. This analysis shows the common repairs. A garage can create the bins and ensure it has the suitable number of tools/hardware needed. Pareto Analysis uses the classic 80/20 rule. 

A common technique that organizations use a Lean Six Sigma approach is solving an issue. With a fleet, it’s often a really common repair (use Pareto Analysis to actually determine these repairs for a fleet).

A Fishbone Diagram for the Fleets

One of the best and easiest problem-solving approaches is actually a Fishbone Diagram. It’s also called a Cause and Effect, or Ishikawa diagram. This is often a way to identify the root causes of repairs. We usually couple the Fishbone categories with a 5-Whys approach for the causes. A team brainstorms possible causes within a particular event. The team will analyze the given below categories: 

  • Measurement
  • Material
  • Man 
  • Method
  • Machine
  • Environment

One after the other, the team actually works through the list so as to prove or disprove each cause listed. Brainstorm ideas so as to name every possible cause. They categorize them into a broad/universal reason. The team will actually reduce each reason again and again until you isolate either an outcome. Furthermore, Fishbone diagrams actually get their name from the design of the frame resembling a skeleton for a fish.

A fishbone diagram allows your team to travel through the individual steps that led to a problem or a repair. Let’s use an example of a driver complaining an air-con unit isn’t functioning in a vehicle. There are several possibilities for the cause. In using a fishbone, you break the main problem down into the previous categories. One of the most creative things about a Fishbone is that it allows for brainstorming activities. To will foster a team-oriented project environment – push your divergent or out of the box thinking. 

We also work with fleets in order to make sure a Lean Six Sigma process is actually applied for protective coatings on their vehicles. Coatings actually provide protection from elements as well as helps to further prevent corrosion. The utilization of Six Sigma in a process will actually reduce variation drastically as well as eliminate errors. In a coating application, errors occur when there’s a variation in the process. Different designs from one vehicle to another or different technicians actually applying the coating. The protective coatings are on vehicles so as to prevent corrosion.

Thus, a region that’s “untreated” is a defect. Furthermore, we even create a process using the same chemicals as well as apply them to the same areas on different designs. Use a regular process that’s easy to follow and scalable for the various different vehicle designs. We make sure that the fleet will apply the coatings in a correct and efficient manner. This further allows the fleet to actually standardize its vehicle audits and thus preventive maintenance schedules. The standardization actually creates less tact time needed even during audits. 

An effective audit is actually valuable to analyze drivers, mechanics, and performance of a fleet. The measures include the particular unit cost to a piece of equipment. It can even be a comparison of maintenance costs versus total maintenance costs. This analysis provides information on vehicles. The info includes availability, use, and efficacy of labor and turnover rate.


With all of these techniques, a fleet maintenance operation can actually realize savings on inventory. This can actually provide less downtime for vehicles and an increase in operating efficiencies. Moreover, a fleet can even use Lean Six Sigma as a measuring tool for time spent on several things. Including shift changes, work orders as well as overlap of shift changes. Soon after the appearance of the concept of Lean Six Sigma, several realize that it’s not only for manufacturing. We find it does work best and is actually a excellent tool for a learning organization.

Think about fleet management operations for a moment. Managers quite often complain about the high percentage of time spent in rework. What does that constant rework cost an organization? This is usually a chronic problem and is common in fleets. Lean Six Sigma techniques can give you the correct tools so as to solve that problem. It can actually reduce the variances as well as eliminate waste (errors). Any mechanic knows you actually need the right tools to do any effective work!

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