Fleet Maintenance and Best Management Practices
Benchmarking and establishing best management practices, allows fleet maintenance and management to develop a baseline from which improvement goals can be established.
In order to best determine what improvements may be needed for a fleet, an examination of the fleet’s management, maintenance programs, vehicle replacement schedules, accounting methods, parts inventory management, procurement and a whole host of other critical areas—all of which affect the cost of operating the fleet—is needed.
In addition, a comprehensive analysis of both the types of services the fleet is providing contrasted with exactly how the fleet is being operated to serve the exact needs is critical. All too often in conducting fleet maintenance and management evaluations, it is determined that the fleet specifications and the associated container type(s), are not optimal for the services the fleet is being required to provide.
Best Management Practices (BMPs)
The term “Best Management Practices” (BMPs) is used to describe the proven techniques, methods and process used by vehicle and equipment management operations to optimize competitiveness, performance and cost effectiveness. Many fleet managers implement best practices as a means to improve operational outputs and customer relations, while reducing the cost to deliver these services.
While industry standards vary somewhat depending on specific vehicle manufacturer; respective components—such as engine, axles, drivelines and transmissions—an important method and valuable tool for any organization, public or private is to benchmark its own fleet management and maintenance procedures against other like sized organizations with comparably climate, geography (terrain) and service area sizes (population) and service types (automated collection verse manual), solid waste, recycling, green waste, food waste, bulk or alley services. This refines and identifies exactly how an organization compares to other organizations in terms of industry comparable BMPs.
Industry Standards and Benchmarking Studies
Benchmarking can be defined as the systematic process of searching for best practices, innovative ideas and highly effective operating procedures that lead to superior performance—and then adapting them to improve the performance of one’s own organization. Benchmarking has been widely embraced by both the private and public sectors as an essential business practice for continuous performance improvement. Solid waste collection fleet managers rely on benchmarking data to:
- Objectively measure the quality and levels of the services they provide.
- Identify and implement best practices that will enable them to reduce costs and improve services.
Collection Services Review: Residential, Commercial, Industrial and Recycling
Before choosing the components of a collection operation, an organization needs to know what it wants and what services it needs to provide to its customers. Identifying specific needs and service types aids in determining what procedure or type of equipment will fill that need. Next, reviewing the range of optimal specification of the equipment, their tare weight, costs and options, and finding out who manufactures the optimal equipment, allow for an informed and educated decision. All of the products, procedures and systems for the solid waste industry will work, with varying degrees of success, under varying conditions. So how does a fleet manager choose?
The rationale for change can range from a desire to improve operations, satisfy a new demand for services, correct a deficiency or renew worn-out equipment. Whatever the problem, it is important to understand it completely. Trying to determine the financial or political costs of solving the problem are key.
The next step is to visualize what might solve the problem. Can it be solved in one stage, or would it take more? Sometimes one phase must be up and running before the next phase can be implemented. Are there future options that must be allowed for now? Can reordering your present resources solve the problem? It’s important to perform a cost-benefit analysis of all the options.
Fleet Management Audits: Maintenance Verses Operations
Many mechanics contend that drivers abuse trucks, while drivers complain that mechanics cannot keep trucks on the road. The truth likely lies in the middle, but how do managers know for sure? By improving fleet systems information, managers can use concrete data to pinpoint problems concerning procurement, employee attitudes, driver training and to evaluate mechanics’ productivity and performance.
A comprehensive fleet management audit can be valuable in evaluating drivers, mechanics, and operating and cost performance measures that are regularly used to effectively manage a fleet organization. Key performance measures include the unit cost to operate each piece of equipment, the ratio of preventive maintenance costs to total maintenance costs, vehicle availability, vehicle use, labor productivity and shop rate. Managers then can:
- Identify and allocate costs
- Evaluate trucks’ conditions
- Evaluate mechanic productivity and performance
- Examine management information systems—hardware and software
- Examine strategies for purchasing vehicles and parts
- Examine vehicle replacement programs
- Compare operations to similar-sized fleets
Fleet Size and Specifications Review
Presently, the collection of solid waste is much more expensive than its disposal. Most municipal collection fleets are made up of a variety of truck specifications that service areas with dissimilar topography, population density and waste generation rates.
When vehicles are selected for solid waste collection fleets there is usually very little consideration given to providing the required service at minimum cost. One possibility for minimizing collection costs is to select a fleet of collection trucks, while simultaneously satisfying the service constraints. To illustrate this approach, the waste collection system of a large metropolitan area should be analyzed for proper fleet size and type of collection vehicle. Selection of the optimal fleet size, type of truck and its specifications, are formulated and solved based on analysis of local needs, service parameters and a wide range of other regional and local considerations.
Fleet Use and Efficiency Evaluation
Experienced fleet managers can save 10 percent to 20 percent in maintenance costs—depending on their operation’s condition—if they devote just 20 percent of their time on analysis and long-term planning.
Although many fleet managers who advance to higher positions are strong on buying, repairing and selling equipment, they are weak in analysis and long-range planning—the functions that give their organizations the competitive edge. Analysis and long-term planning particularly are important when determining fleet size—a well-known factor in lowering transportation costs. One way to help optimize fleet size is to change shop hours.
For example, if all mechanics worked only day shifts, every truck serviced is one less truck out on the road. To complete routes, spares must be used, which often are the oldest and least reliable vehicles in a fleet. Spares also are the costliest to maintain, yet have to be kept in a satisfactory operating condition in order to keep them ready for use when newer trucks are being serviced.
Switching mechanics to evening/night shifts should allow maintenance to get rid of most of the reserve trucks, thus slashing maintenance costs and reducing the fleet size without affecting customer service. While this move likely will lower employee morale temporarily, in the long run, it could save jobs.
Fleet Preventative Maintenance Program
All vehicles and other pieces of motorized equipment require maintenance and repair during their life. Since a fleet management organization’s primary mission is to maximize the availability of vehicles so that its customers can productively do their jobs, the focus of maintenance management for such organizations needs to be in developing practices that minimize unscheduled incidents of repair and that return vehicles requiring repair to service in as little time as possible.
The objective of a preventative maintenance (PM) program is to minimize equipment failure by maintaining a constant awareness of the condition of equipment and correcting defects before they become serious problems. A PM program also minimizes unscheduled repairs by causing most maintenance and repair activities to occur through scheduled inspections. An effective PM program pays dividends not only in improved vehicle safety and reliability, but also financially by extending the life of vehicles, minimizing the high cost of breakdowns and reducing lost employee productivity resulting from fleet downtime.
Parts Inventory Management
A significant portion of a fleet operation’s annual expenditures can be accounted for in parts management. This cost can vary significantly from one fleet operation to the next depending on the composition, age and application of equipment in a fleet.
The primary goal of every parts operation is to maintain a sufficient inventory in order to fill a high percentage of part requests immediately while sustaining a high part turnover rate. This can be a difficult task, due to the logistics with seasonal parts, vehicle and equipment replacements, poor vendor performance, cumbersome procurement procedures, insufficient warehousing space, inadequate staffing levels, an antiquated information system and a wide array of other factors. Hence, efforts to reduce a parts operation’s costs and maintain an inventory to sustain an acceptable fill-rate can often time seem to be diametrically opposed.
Fleet Maintenance Training Programs and Policies
As refuse collection vehicles continue to grow in complexity and sophistication, the technicians who maintain them must upgrade their skills to keep the vehicles running properly. To reduce costs and prevent vehicle downtime while improving technicians’ capabilities and morale, organizations need to invest in new, ongoing technical training programs.
Making an investment in an organization’s people through training builds the morale of a team and helps keep the reliability of fleets at a higher standard.
Fleet Replacement Program
The replacement of vehicles and equipment in a timely manner is a problem for many fleet operations. The decision to replace equipment is often driven by the fiscal health of the organization, breakdown or failure of the asset, or some other unpredictable factor. However, a proper fleet replacement program can provide both fleet reliability and fiscal stability for a fleet operation and to the general organization.
Vehicles and equipment are replaced at various times depending on the type of vehicle and the nature and intensity of its use. Timely replacement is important for controlling vehicle availability, safety, reliability and efficiency. The economic theory of vehicle replacement holds that vehicles should be replaced when the sum of ownership and operating costs is at a minimum.
A fleet replacement plan projects future replacement dates and costs for each vehicle in a fleet. Its purpose is to identify long-term spending needs and associated budgetary requirements. In most fleet operations, vehicle replacement practices are dictated primarily by the availability of replacement funds rather than by objectives such as minimizing vehicle lifecycle costs. Consequently, the comparison of projected annual fleet replacement costs with historical replacement spending levels provides a good indication of the adequacy of fleet replacement practices—as opposed to guidelines or goals. Inadequate replacement spending not only increases the age and operating costs of a fleet, but also results in the accumulation of replacement needs that, if left unattended, can become so large that significant fleet downsizing is unavoidable.
Replacement guidelines are used to project and plan for future fleet replacement requirements and to trigger assessments of the need to replace individual vehicles whose age and/or life-to-date usage is approaching established guidelines. There are two primary methods of setting vehicle replacement criteria and retention cycles—the empirical (or lifecycle cost) method and the best practice method.
Fleet Financial and Accounting: Cost Allocation Management
There are basically two ways that operating funds can be provided to a fleet management organization to support the management, maintenance, and fueling of a fleet: through direct appropriations to the organization or through the use of an internal charge-back system which recovers the organization’s costs through charges to other organizations for the goods and services it provides them.
One reason for implementing a charge-back system is to promote equitable treatment of fleet users. Since users pay only for the resources they consume, there is no cross-subsidization of fleet costs under a properly designed and implemented charge-back system. One of the implications of this benefit is that fee supported departments and programs pay the full cost of the fleet resources they consume and do not receive any subsidies from the general fund, which often occurs when a fleet management organization is part of the general fund.
Fleet Maintenance and Management Performance Measurements
Implementation of a system of meaningful key performance indicators is another important initiative that a fleet management organization can pursue to improve communication with its customers and to demonstrate the value of the services that it provides. Performance measurement allows an organization to:
- Reduce reliance on subjective judgment and speculation
- Track performance against standards and benchmarks
- Hone in on areas of the organization that require improvement
- Track trends over time
Table 1 provides a description of common performance measures tracked by leading fleet management organizations. Procedures should be in place to distribute work to mechanics so as to promote high levels of mechanic productivity and efficiency and to minimize repair turn-around time and assign the work to a specific mechanic based on an assessment of mechanics’ availability and skills. Additionally, a prioritization system should be used to identify vehicles that are to be moved ahead in the repair queue based on their importance to the customer organization.
Vendor and Contract Performance Reviews and Programs
Vendors may be relied upon to perform fleet maintenance and repair services for a variety of reasons, including managing in-house work backlogs; avoiding costly investments in facility construction, tooling, training, and staffing to meet low volumes of service demand in remote areas or for specialty repairs; and to achieve a degree of flexibility (e.g., in terms of locations, hours of service, etc.) in the provision of services.
The cost-effective use of vendors requires, however, that procedures be followed for 1) determining the comparative cost effectiveness of performing a service in-house or using a vendor, 2) managing and controlling vendor performance relative to individual service orders and ongoing service levels (in the case of contract providers of services), and 3) capturing all relevant information on vendor-performed services so as to maintain a complete record of vehicle maintenance history and costs and provide for timely user billing via a charge-back system.
Repair quality assurance procedures are used to ensure that requested services are performed properly. When repairs are not completed correctly, the vehicles are often returned resulting in “comeback” repairs. One of the best strategies for avoiding comebacks is to use some form of post-repair quality assurance process. Quality checks can range from simple road-tests, to quality checklists, to the complete observation of the repair.
Fleet Vehicle Maintenance Management: In-House verses Outsourcing
Outsourcing is a process that most people view as an all or nothing process. In some cases this is true. However many fleet management and maintenance operations are very efficient at specific services, such as preventive maintenance. In such an instance an appropriate approach may be to outsource part of maintenance services such as larger repairs like transmission and engine rebuilds.
Nonetheless, the choice of outsourcing part or an entire maintenance operation is not an easy one. It oftentimes requires the review of an impartial party that understands when an operation should be outsourced, how it should be done, and the contractual pitfalls that can result in unforeseen charges and financial liability.
Fleet Warranty Replacement and Repairs
Another critical cost management area of fleet maintenance relates to warranties. Fleet maintenance managers should strengthen its practices in this area by using the functionality of their fleet maintenance software programs and or in the case of manual records keeping, a method for identifying vehicles, components, and parts that are covered by manufacturer warranty. Significant cost avoidance and recoveries can be achieved through proactive efforts in this area.
Some organizations have outsourced warranty recovery activities to private sector firms that specialize in this service. These firms often perform on a contingent fee basis and are paid by taking a percentage of the money that they recover for their clients.
Fleet Management Technology
One of the most significant changes in the fleet industry has been a veritable explosion of quantitative data. The sources of these data are multitude: fleet management information systems, fuel management systems, ERP and financial management systems, professional association databases, the Internet, GPS and AVL solutions, Web-based reporting engines, ad hoc report writers and document imaging systems.
The increased availability of data on the fleet and the fleet operations has placed significant pressure on fleet managers and staff to maintain and produce a wide array of management information for clients, financial and auditing departments, executives, elected officials, and the general public. A major challenge for fleet managers has been and will continue to be the struggle to keep these entities sufficiently informed in a timely manner.
Some of the best fleet managers in the industry have addressed this requirement by implementing proactive processes and solutions that “push” information to stakeholders on a regular schedule. “Push” technology can automatically deliver key management decision making information to e-mail accounts, printers, fax machines, pagers, PDAs and other communication devices. An increasing number of fleet management organizations are using their own Web sites as a means of distributing invoices, reservation confirmations, recall notices and the like to their customers.
Collection Vehicle Routing and Route Auditing Review
With organization collection vehicles each approaching an approximate annual operating cost of $120,000, organizations have good reason to make every daily routing as profitable and efficient as possible. It should be the goal and intention of fleet management to reduce the overall operating expenses. The key contributors to cost are fixed vehicle cost, variable vehicle cost and labor expense. To begin to understand the daily operations, one must understand each line of business. The typical collection business is divided into three major areas: commercial, residential and industrial. Each area includes municipal solid waste and recycling material, and each is very different from the others. The single largest differentiator between residential and commercial routes is the mandatory adherence to driving on one side of the street. Unlike commercial routes, residential routes are only permitted to service customers on the right side of the street.
Industrial routes introduce a different routing problem. The differentiator between industrial and commercial is the size of the container. A typical commercial container is eight loose yards, while an industrial container may range from 20 to 40 loose yards and only one container may be serviced at a time. While hauling these large containers, it is common for each container disposed of and returned to the original customer’s location. Software using GIS-based route management applications deliver reduced operational costs by 1) organizing routes to minimize overlap and thereby reduce the number of vehicles required to service customers, and 2) sequencing the stops along a route to make the best use of fuel, driver schedules, and disposal trips.
Whether routing software or manual routing is performed, the net effect of reduced routes continues to improve operational efficiency and increase cost savings for organizations but also delivers a positive impact on the environment and employees. Fewer trucks on the road result in a noticeable reduction of emissions and noise in communities. Reduced travel during busy times of the day, and less traffic for the communities in which an organization serves are also noticeable benefits. Collection routes must be planned to incorporate organizational rules such as prohibiting zigzagging and double-siding collection operations. Several routing software offer these solutions.
In addition to establishing safety procedures and guidelines for equipment, waste companies should design their routes with accident prevention in mind. Defensive routing helps reduce the potential for trucks and employees to be placed in hazardous situations. Defensive routing means that a route design minimizes backing, eliminates double siding and zigzagging, maintains a safe speed and eliminates unprotected left-hand turns through right-hand routing. Solid waste collections service providers companies also should perform route observations to ensure that employees are working safely, wearing seat belts and other PPE, and following procedures.
Fleet Maintenance Environmental Compliance
Most refuse truck maintenance shop managers comply with federal, state and local safety and environmental regulations—when they know about them. There are numerous acts, regulations and agencies that apply to truck maintenance facilities, and it’s not always easy to find out about them or to understand them. This can make compliance difficult.
In surveys, most maintenance managers indicate that staying abreast of vehicle technology is their top challenge and concern, followed by compliance with governmental regulations; however, compliance looms larger in the event of an “incident.” Shop managers need to be trained effectively on environmental compliance matters just as any other significant size facility that manages special wastes such as shop solvents, used motor oil, antifreeze and other lubricants.
Maintenance managers should implement an extensive employee training program covering areas such as hazardous materials, fire protection, personal protective equipment (PPE) and toxic sub-stances. In addition, periodic inspections of tools and machines, receiving and storage areas, building conditions, and electrical, lighting, heating and ventilation systems.
Safety Policies, Procedures and Training
A perception exists in some quarters that waste is a dangerous business, and accidents are inevitable. However, industry members cannot afford to have such a passive attitude. Every injury is preventable, and firms have access to highly effective methods and equipment to help them manage employee safety. There is nothing routine about the waste industry. Driving conditions change; employees handle different materials from one day to the next; and disposal sites vary according to content. The only constant is that there will always be waste. Practical safety solutions require diligence and creativity on the part of management, supervisors and employees. Companies should remember that, despite the fact waste companies have much in common; each deals with special factors that require tailored solutions.
Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) accidents occur far too often, and LOTO violations are the most often cited OSHA violations for the industry. (OSHA’s LOTO standard requires that a piece of equipment’s energy source be de-energized, including blocking and bleeding, before maintenance or service is performed). LOTO-related injuries are under complete human control and are preventable. Maintenance shop accidents often occur as a result of improper LOTO while repairing such equipment as front end loader top door and forks, working under suspended loads, performing brake adjustments, replacing and testing hydraulic cylinders, and repairing rear door seals.
For every vehicle it owns, a company should refer to manufacturer guidelines, establish a maintenance schedule and stick to it. Furthermore, when emergency repairs are performed, make sure they are properly completed and not rushed to get the vehicle back in operation.
Safety must be an industry-wide goal, and waste companies can achieve better success if they work together to identify effective safety solutions. One step that waste companies can take to improve their workers’ safety is to adhere to American National Standards Institute (ANSI) equipment and operational standards. In the 1970s, a group of industry representatives identified the need for a set of waste industry safety standards that would supplement the more general Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations. ANSI guidelines are designed to help reduce accidents and injuries, and companies will benefit from incorporating them into their safety programs. The ANSI Z245 standards are much more useful to our industry than OSHA. The standards are specific to what we actually do. ANSI has made things more applicable and easier to understand.
Training should be the cornerstone of any waste organization’s safety program. Organizations must establish a culture in which employees know about hazards that exist in their work environment and in which they are properly equipped to handle all situations, routine and non-routine. Because waste industry workers generally are not under direct supervision, management must take the lead by providing effective training, personal protective equipment (PPE) and incentives that encourage employees to take responsibility for their own safety. Supervisors and managers should train their employees to do the following when they’re on the job:
- Assess. When dealing with any situation, a worker should ask the following questions: What could go wrong? If something did happen, what would be the results? What can I do to avoid potential incidents?
- Analyze. An employee should determine whether he or she is adequately trained and properly equipped to deal with the results of an accident.
- Act. If the worker is properly prepared and equipped to perform the task, he or she should take actions necessary to ensure the job is done safely. If not, the worker should not undertake the task.
Safety starts with buy-in from your entire workforce. Employees must be able to make safety decisions and participate in the entire process.
Driver Safety, Development and Training Programs and Policies
Preventing fatalities, injuries and accidents in the solid waste industry is an ongoing struggle. Each day, tens of thousands of collection trucks run their routes, sometimes making more than 800 residential pickups. These trucks dump their loads at transfer stations, material recovery facilities, incinerators and landfills. Then waste is processed, transferred, or compacted via manual labor, sorting equipment and heavy equipment. This mix of trash, people, trucks and heavy equipment, often in close quarters, can result in safety hazards that can lead to accidents.
Despite these challenging conditions, the solid waste industry places a high emphasis on employee and community safety. Waste organizations recognize the relationship between safe operations and maintaining a productive and healthy workforce, providing a responsible presence to customers and their communities, and controlling the cost of waste services.
A waste management organization’s safety department is responsible for improving worker safety and, not coincidentally, reducing property damage, personal injury claims and workers compensation costs. However, it can be difficult for a safety director to single-handedly change an organization’s safety culture and persuade veteran workers to change their job performance.
Drivers, helpers and others are often more responsive to their direct reports or supervisors than to a high-level Safety Director whom they may rarely or never see.
Fleet Pride Programs
The solid waste collection industry has historically had problems with equipment abuse/misuse and pre-trip/post-trip inspections for years. These problems have affected organization’s operating budgets, safety, performance and job satisfaction. They have also built walls between the operations and maintenance staff and departments. One solution is a program that is waste designed to directly attack this problem and in the process reduce operating costs, improve safety and provide greater job satisfaction for drivers and technicians.
Consider this: If an organization has a $4.5 million investment in its fleet and fails to catch developing problems, it reduces the average vehicle life by only 1 percent, representing a $45,000 loss to the organization. There’s no price we can place on the value of being sure that equipment is safe when it hits the road. Most organizations have experiences that suggest that their drivers are not doing an effective job of inspecting their equipment. The program is driven by three major components:
- Manager training—Program success depends entirely on whether or not managers take this type of program to heart and effectively drive it. Other programs fall down if they were simply sent to the field with no further explanation or without a strong statement of support. So one of the program’s key strategy points is to be respectful of managers and provide full support—with the expectation that they will follow through.
- Incident awareness—This process helps each location to identify, log and analyze incidents where abuse/misuse or maintenance error were a factor. Managers are expected to demonstrate the same engagement in using this program as an ongoing tool to train staff and reduce incidents of abuse/misuse. The Incident Awareness Program creates accountability for front-line managers, technicians and drivers.
- Employee training—A series of training sessions begin with orientation and introduction to the new Incident Awareness process. The sessions also cover pre-trip/post-trip inspections and driving behaviors that contribute to equipment abuse/misuse.
Program objectives are:
- Eliminate equipment abuse/misuse and improve pre/post trip inspections
- Reduce operations and maintenance costs
- Improve driver and equipment safety
- Provide greater job satisfaction in operations and maintenance
- Identify drivers and technicians likely to have accidents and provide safety/administrative intervention
- Reduce conflict and increased collaboration between operations and maintenance regarding vehicle condition
- Reduce operator and technician turnover costs
Establishing Best Practices
In summary, it is important for any refuse or recycling collection fleet management to implement Best Management Practices (BMPs) relative to their collection fleets’ maintenance programs and general fleet management. Benchmarking and establishing best management practices, allows fleet maintenance and management to develop a baseline from which improvement goals can be established.
The following comprehensive list is a summary of the solid waste and recycling collection industry standard BMPs and general recommendations in best managing and maintaining solid waste and recycling collection fleets:
- Best Management Practices (BMPs)
- Industry Standards and Benchmarking Studies
- Fleet Management Audits – Maintenance Verses Operations
- Fleet Size and Specifications Review
- Fleet Utilization and Efficiency Evaluation
- Container Management
- Parts Inventory Management
- Collection Services Review – Residential, Commercial, Industrial and Recycling
- Fleet Preventative Maintenance Program
- Fleet Replacement Program
- Fleet Financial and Accounting – Cost Allocation Management
- Operational Safety Policies, Procedures and Records
- Fuel Management Program & Use of Alternative Fuels
- Fleet Management and Maintenance Training Programs & Policies
- Driver Safety, Development and Training Programs & Policies
- Fleet Maintenance and Management Performance Measurements
- Vendor and Contract Performance Reviews and Programs
- Fleet Vehicle Maintenance Management – In-House verses Outsourcing
- Fleet Warranty Replacement & Repairs
- Fleet Management Technology – Onboard computers, scales, GPS,
- Collection Vehicle Routing
- Fleet Maintenance Environmental Compliance
As is the key with implementing any new business and operating improvements, and establishing companywide goals, frontline staff, mid-level and senior management program buy-in and support is the key. Without these levels of support, critical fleet maintenance and management best management practices typically fail.
Bob Wallace, MBA, is a Principal and Vice President of Client Solutions for WIH Resource Group (Phoenix, AZ), providing diversified services and extensive experience to clients in both the private and public sectors. Bob has more than 25 years experience in solid waste and recycling management, transportation/logistics operations, fleet management, alternative vehicle fuel solutions (CNG, LNG, Biodiesels, etc.), WastebyRail program management, recycling/solid waste program planning and development. Bob has expertise in the areas of solid waste and recycling collection routing and route auditing, disposal and transportation rate and contract negotiations and strategic business planning. He has extensive experience in conducting both solid waste collections and transfer station operational performance assessments OPAs (a business improvement process). Bob previously served as a board member for the Arizona Chapter of SWANA and has served on the National Solid Waste Rate Committee for the American Public Works Association (APWA). He is also a former board member of the California Refuse and Recycling Association’s (CRRA) Global Recycling Council (GRC). Bob can be reached at (480) 241-9994, via e-mail at [email protected] or visit www.wihrg.com.
Fuel Management Program and Use of Alternative Fuels
Nearly 50 percent of the annual cost of operating and maintaining a typical fleet is directly attributed to fuel and fuel management. It is also an area of fleet management that has become extremely complicated, because of legislation and policies at local, state and federal government levels, global economics, vast changes in technology, increased availability of alternative fuel types, new multi-fuel enabled and hybrid vehicles and equipment, and ongoing pressures to reduce emissions. Thus, for many fleet managers, fuel management is a black box of complex issues, which require large sums of funding.
Minor improvements in a fuel management program, however, can yield significant savings in the short and long term. Some areas of consideration for review in fuel management include:
- Alternative Fuel Program Development
- Alternative Fuel Program Reviews
- Bulk Fuel Site Design and Engineering
- Commercial Fuel Program Development
- Emission Reduction Planning
- Fuel Management Program Development
- Fuel Management Program Review
- Fuel Tax Reimbursement Optimization
- Fuel Site Consolidation Reviews
- Fuel Site Mapping and Location Services
Containers and carts don’t have the same safety concerns as trash trucks, compactors and balers—that is probably why the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z245 standards deserve attention. Because containers and carts often seem like innocuous pieces of equipment that couldn’t possibly have potential safety hazards, they can be taken for granted.
The 2008 revision of the container safety standard, ANSI Z245.30, outlines new designs for warning labels and safety signs. The standard calls for new three-panel signs. One panel should have a large, bold and single-word headline reading “CAUTION” in black type over a yellow background or “WARNING” in black type over an orange background. Another panel should feature a drawing demonstrating the hazard and a phrase describing the hazard, such as a drawing of a stick-figured person tumbling off of a roll-off, with a caption that reads, “FALLING HAZARD.” A third panel should include a detailed warning. For example, the panel may have a warning reading “KEEP OFF! Do not climb in, on or occupy this container for any purpose. Injury from slipping or falling may occur.”
Solid waste service providers should periodically review the requirements in ANSI Z245 safety standards with maintenance crews and collection truck operators to help protect customers, employees and trucks. Knowing which containers can safely be used in certain applications and with which refuse vehicles is something that every collection crew should understand.
How dangerous can a container or cart be? Both have caused a few serious injuries over the years, making safety standards worth developing. Two standards developed by ANSI Accredited Standards Committee Z245 address safety, performance and design compatibility requirements for carts and containers. ANSI Z245.60 sets compatibility dimensions for manufacturers so that containers can be safely used with refuse vehicles, and ANSI Z245.30 covers operational safety requirements for carts and containers. What is new in this standard is that it provides dimensional requirements for the Type S container—that is, “the front-load container with side sleeves.”
The Waste Equipment Technology Association (WASTEC) also has released its “Recommended Practice, WRP-9-2004,” which details the recommended dimensional range of the front loader forks for compatibility with the Type S containers. If container manufacturers build the container according to the Z245.60 standard, and if truck manufacturers build trucks according to the recommended practice, the two will work together. Other new compatibility dimensions in the revised ANSI Z245.60 standard covers Type-L hook-lift containers, the standard aims to match up the lifts on trucks with the hooks on containers.
Collection organizations should look at these two standards to make sure that the forks on the trucks match the compatibility standard for the S container. If they don’t match, “damage can occur to both trucks and containers.”