El Paso County’s truck fleet is looking good heading into winter thanks to a slight change to its maintenance scheduling.

The County Public Works Department recently revamped its preventative maintenance routine to make sure that equipment operators have top-notch vehicles when they’re needed most.

Public Works Executive Director Jim Reid and members of his team addressed the Board of County Commissioners on Thursday, Oct. 19, and outlined the success the new program has had since its inception June 18, 2017.

The new approach has five mechanics working 10-hour shifts each week from Thursday to Sunday, allowing work on vehicles to be done on off days for equipment operators. County Fleet Manager Nole Hopkins said the change helps keep mechanics focused on putting vehicles back on the road by Monday morning. “It’s uninterrupted. Our productivity has increased significantly,” Hopkins said.

“What we’re working for is total efficiency,” Reid said. “We’ve thrown everything out. There’s no box. What we’ve done for 25 years, may not be what we need to do today to move forward.”

Since June, the new preventative maintenance shift has completed 191 vehicle services with 162 of those vehicles back on the road on Monday. Reid and his team estimate they gained about 2,000 to 2,500 equipment hours allowing the skilled operators to focus on their principle duties.

“We can’t control when equipment breaks when we’re out using it on the roadway,” said Public Works Deputy Director Scot Cuthbertson. “But what we can control is the timing of scheduled services. Previously we would find critical pieces of equipment not available and we would have to have operators working on secondary and tertiary functions.”

Watch this video, https://youtu.be/9JRyyhjEZgM, to learn more about the preventative maintenance program.

Moving forward, Reid and his team aim to refine the process even more. They told the Commissioners that they expect to gain up to 10,000 active equipment hours over a 12-month period with the new program.