According to Matt Anderson, shop manager at the Salt Lake City facility operated by C.R. England Inc., it’s all about commitments.
“On a weekly basis we monitor a number of metrics to keep downtime to a minimum by getting trucks in and out of the shop as quickly as possible,” he says. “We also use technology that helps us manage the shop’s workflow.”
C.R. England, headquartered in Salt Lake City, was founded in 1920 and remains a fourth generation family-owned corporation. One of the country’s best known trucking companies and one of North America’s largest refrigerated service providers, the carrier provides national and regional refrigerated transportation in the continental U.S., dedicated fleet and intermodal services, as well as transportation into and out of Mexico. The company fields 4,100 tractors, mainly Freightliner Cascadia, New Cascadia and Evolution models, and more than 6,500 trailers from Utility, Wabash, Great Dane and Hyundai.
At the shop managed by Anderson, the metrics monitored include Standard Repair Time (SRT), Turns Per Technician (TPT) to assess the number of pieces of equipment every technician is expected to complete daily, and Estimated Completed Time (ECT) for service and repairs. The data is also used across the fleet’s maintenance organization of nine shops in weekly conference calls with shop managers and supervisors.
The C.R. England shop at the company’s Salt Lake City headquarters has 45 bays and 42 employees, including technicians, service writers, parts personnel and supervisors. The facility runs daily from 6 a.m. until 2:30 a.m. on 10-hour shifts.
Included on the site are a four-bay fuel island staffed with service writers who write up issues with tractors and trailers and help drivers with assignments, keys, miscellaneous parts and permits. Three bays are for express issues—any repairs that will take 30 minutes—and there are 10 truck bays where preventive maintenance, repairs and diagnosing check engine and emission codes services are performed.
“On a weekly basis we monitor a number of metrics to keep downtime to a minimum.”
—Matt Anderson, C.R. England Inc.
Anderson also oversees the 20 dedicated vendor technicians who staff the remaining bays and handle tire inspections and services, warranty work and accident damage.
In the shop, C.R. England provides specialty tools and diagnostic and safety equipment. For electronic diagnostics, the company uses Detroit Connect Virtual Technician, the remote diagnostic system for Freightliner trucks equipped with Detroit engines, and Cummins and Noregon JPRO technologies. The facility also has DPF cleaning equipment to reduce aftertreatment and exhaust systems costs, as well as downdraft paint booths and a computerized mixing room.
Focus on turning equipment
“Our overall goal is to not have equipment down for any longer than necessary,” Anderson states. “That’s one reason we use outside providers based on the service required, the time required to do the work, proximity to our shop, and the driver’s Hours-of-Service status. We prioritize breakdowns so our technicians can focus on preventive maintenance and non-warranty work.
“We also outsource accident damage repair work,” Anderson continues. “The supervisor makes this decision based on the repair so we do not hold up a bay when there are a lot of quicker repairs we can get done to support operations. At the same time, we use whichever provider can perform the job in the most timely manner.
“That’s one way working relationships with suppliers benefit our shop operation,” Anderson adds. “What’s most important, though, is to have effective communication. Our vendors all know how we operate, and that way when we have a truck or trailer down they can coordinate with us easily.”
Managing activity at the C.R. England shop is TMT Fleet Maintenance software from TMW Systems. In use company wide, the system manages work orders from in-house, road service and outsourced vendors. Feeding the system are Omnitracs solutions on tractors, StarTrak’s configurable solution for tracking, monitoring, and controlling refrigerated trailers and ORBCOMM tracking systems on dry vans.
Identifying trends and cutting costs
“With maintenance software and telematics solutions, we can identify trends and focus on high cost events or parts usage,” Anderson says. “For instance, after we identified one issue in particular we changed our service interval and developed technician training.
“The TMT software also red flags parts that are at a low quantity,” Anderson explains further. “Having the right parts on the shelf helps reduce downtime so every day we order parts accordingly and evaluate usage so we have what we need in inventory and don’t stock items we do not use regularly. As a result, our parts accuracy is at 98.5% on average.”
Anderson is also focused on helping C.R. England identify and attract the best possible technicians. Open positions are posted on the corporate website and on several third-party employment sites. “We also proactively make contact with experienced technicians in our area and offer robust referral and hiring bonuses to anyone at C.R. England who refers an experienced technician who is subsequently hired,” Anderson relates.
“With maintenance software and telematics solutions, we can identify trends and focus on high cost events or parts usage.”
—Matt Anderson, C.R. England Inc.
“Our management and corporate recruiting teams also partner with local and national technical schools to maintain a pipeline of new graduates as well as the military to find experienced personnel who are transitioning into civilian life,” Anderson adds. “The sum of these efforts gives us a high degree of visibility with experienced technician candidates, and allows us the opportunity to select the best possible people to work for us.”
A 14-year industry veteran, Anderson started working for C.R. England in 2005 and subsequently worked his way up to a heavy-duty technician position. In 2013, he was offered a role managing another company’s new heavy-duty shop, which he did successfully until he rejoined C.R. England at the beginning of 2018 as a shop supervisor. Five months later he was promoted to his current role.
“When I took the opportunity to manage a new shop, I had to design and stock the parts room, oversee service for a fleet of tractors and trailers at four locations across the U.S., work with vendors and handle all hiring,” Anderson states. “That experience gave me a lot of knowledge about many aspects of the trucking industry and how things can be accomplished. I use that experience to help benefit the C.R. England shop and the operation as a whole.
“Today, with C.R. England’s support, including monthly leadership classes, and the guidance of my immediate supervisor, Brian Shaw, director of maintenance operations, and Vice President of Maintenance Douglas Kading, I can continue to develop my management skills and make the Salt Lake City shop a top service location for the C.R. England fleet.”