By Jeff Eriks
Cambridge share key insights for building a well-designed truck maintenance facility for your business.
Truck maintenance shops are a vital link in terms of logistics infrastructure. Trucks, both large and small, add critical last mile connectivity for delivering important goods. They also empower businesses to run smoothly, moving raw materials to their facilities and finished goods to customers.
Fleet maintenance plays a very important role in ensuring that trucks stay on the road and that downtime is minimized for commercial vehicles. This is important to manage costs and ensure the timely movement of goods and raw materials. In businesses where delays can cost thousands of dollars, proactive maintenance is the way to go.
The need for truck maintenance shops is increasing due to heavy reliance on road logistics and the pressures facing the trucking industry. This makes it a great idea to get started on your own truck maintenance business. But what should you be considering when you are designing and building a truck maintenance facility for your business? We’re here to help.
We at Cambridge Companies are leaders in building truck sales and maintenance facilities across the country. Here in this blog, we will share some of the key insights we rely on when we help our clients build a well-designed truck maintenance facility. Let’s go.
What are the Different Services You Ore Offering?
This is a good place to start when you are beginning to plan out your the truck maintenance shop. Understanding what services you will be offering will help you understand what are the areas that you need to include in your facility. Preventive maintenance, engine repairs, retrofitting CNG, EV repairs, bodywork, cab work, and trailer/container repairs are all possible choices to make when you are planning for your facility.
Depending on the kind of work you would want to take up, you will have to design specialized areas or bays for these works, and you would also need specialized equipment to get this done. If you are planning to offer repainting services, you would need a separate body shop with a painting bay. If you are taking up engine replacement/repair work, you would need areas with overhead cranes for lifting heavy machinery.
How much time it takes to complete these jobs on average will also give you a sense of how much parking area you would need inside the facility. You do not want a crowded maintenance facility because of all the trucks in there for long-term projects.
Finding a good balance between short turnaround work such as regular maintenance, engine oil change, braking system checks and such with heavy-duty work that would involve more time will give you a better chance of success.
What are the Different Types of Trucks You Are Servicing?
This is another aspect that holds a lot of sway in how your facility is designed. You have to consider the various types of trucks that are likely to roll into your facility. This will help in understanding how much space is required, what length of bays are required, and how much clearance is needed at each part of the facility.
There are quite a variety of trucks that are plying the roads today. Depending on your area of operation and the client base you are planning on targeting, you can choose what trucks you want to focus on. There are front loaders, rear loaders, side loaders, semi-tractors, and many more types to plan for.
If you are looking at servicing pickup trucks only, your facility may not need as much space, and the equipment you use and the spares you keep can comply with this. But if you are planning to work on a variety of trucks, you should have hydraulic equipment to lift all sorts of trucks, tools to work on all of these trucks, and of course the spares for each.
The type of trucks you are accepting will also determine which workers to hire and how to train them. Working on a Chevy Silverado or a Ford F-150 isn’t the same as working on a Volvo. You need people trained to do both if you are planning to service both.
Additionally, it is a great idea to look at what are some of the trends in the industry. Natural gas/CNG is becoming quite common today and so are EV-based vehicles. If you are planning for a new truck repair/maintenance shop, a natural gas/EV retrofitting service could be a great idea to include.
What Are the Other Areas and Facilities You Would need?
Getting a sense of what areas you would need within your facility is important. You need employee areas such as work desks, store rooms, rest areas, break rooms, washrooms, offices, and such. You also need to account for security areas and parking areas too.
Planning for these can only happen if you know how many employees you are roughly going to have and how many trucks you may have in your facility at once. It can be a bit of a tricky business trying to estimate this but the better you plan, the smoother it is going to be later, and it would be more cost-effective too.
One of the important things to note is what the industry trends are too. The recent supply chain disruptions are making businesses more cautious and that means that most shops are carrying more spares than needed to hedge the risks. This would mean that you have to allocate more area for spares or you get creative and find interesting ways to store more in a given space.
What is the layout you want to go with?
Now the next thing we like to consider is a general idea of the layout you want to go with. This will depend on most of the above aspects and how you want to design your process. You can go with separate areas for separate services. Say a routine maintenance area where trucks that are a part of preventive maintenance programs come in as per the maintenance schedule. The technicians can then do a thorough vehicle inspection to check transmission fluid levels, coolants, tire pressure, etc, and do the necessary repairs like an oil filter, air filter, or fuel filter change and other preventive maintenance work on electrical systems or cooling systems. This area can be separate from other repairs and service areas where more heavy-duty work is undertaken. So you can plan for this area to only have tools and technicians who are trained at this and follow a specific maintenance checklist for the various truck fleets you are servicing.
Whatever you decide on, the focus should be on enhancing technician efficiency by placing hoses, tools, simple spares, and other items to reduce the time taken to repair each truck and move the overall process along much faster. We find Spaghetti charts to be extremely helpful in planning the most efficient layout for your maintenance facility. It helps you prepare for various cases that may arise and how you can plan the facility for efficiency.
Bringing It All Together
Finally, it is about planning and building the facility as per the plan. Here, we always focus on using the right techniques for construction so that the facility can handle heavy-duty trucks with ease and can also withstand the pressures of having multiple heavy loads running on the floors.
It is also important to use high-quality equipment and components in construction so that you can maximize the lifespan of the facility and give you maximum uptime. Getting your facility up and running with maximum efficiency can also mean having to invest in good maintenance software that will help you manage the operations of the facility.
For logistics businesses, fleet management is a critical priority given how most businesses are working on tight deadlines and the fact that cost overruns can be catastrophic, especially in a stressed economy. Preventive maintenance plans and facilities are in high demand, and getting your facility up and running that can efficiently service and repair trucks will give you great returns.
Having a proper plan as to what facilities you want to incorporate in your facility and what services you are offering is a great starting point. Designing and building a high-capacity truck maintenance facility is not something you can trust just anyone with. It is a job for experts.
Cambridge companies have years of experience building turn-key projects in truck sales and maintenance as well as waste management and other commercial buildings. Talk to us today to get started on your next best project!