Self-Maintenance as Compared with Service-Station Maintenance 300046
THE AUTHOR says that the conditions under which motor-vehicles operate are so varied that it is extremely difficult to arrive at any fixed or definite rule governing the method of maintaining motor-vehicle fleets, and to determine what the minimum number of vehicles should be to justify the establishment of a self-maintenance organization.
Considering that a large-scale operator is one who operates 40 vehicles or more and that a small-scale operator is one who operates less than 40 vehicles, it is obvious that the problem of the large-scale operator with equipment separated into small fleets in remote localities is in the same class as that of a small-scale operator. With such a condition existing, it seems reasonable to assume that “service-station maintenance” would be more economical considering miles traveled, time out of service and the like, which really should be considered. The successful and economical operation of a fleet of motor-vehicles depends very largely upon the extent of its actual use in the capacity for which it is intended. Let a motor-vehicle cease to function for any cause whatever, and at once it becomes an item of expense. Therefore, any legitimate means which can be employed to eliminate time out of service is a further step toward its successful economical operation.
In summing up the situation, the author says that the vital factor affecting the successful and economical operation of an automobile repair-station is the careful selection of the personnel. If an operator has a sufficient number of vehicles so centralized as to justify the establishment of a self-maintained repair-shop and if he employs a supervisory force equal to that of the manufacturer's service-station, there can be very little doubt that self-maintenance is more desirable than service-station maintenance. If, on the other hand, an operator has not a sufficient number of vehicles so centralized or, if a greater portion of his fleet is operating from several separate and remote districts which would necessitate many miles of travel to and from a central repair-station and an unreasonable period of time out of service, it seems reasonable to consider service-station maintenance the more desirable.
In the prepared discussion* following the paper, Martin Schreiber, of the Public Service Coordinated Transport of New Jersey, states the pros and cons of centralization or decentralization of fleet maintenance and F. B. Whittemore, of Mack Trucks, Inc., outlines a satisfactory maintenance plan. F. K. Glynn, of the American Telephone & Telegraph Co., discusses fleet organization and methods, and O. M. Brede, of the General Motors Truck Co., raises various questions in line with whether or not self-service and service-station service should be combined. It is said by H. C. Marble, of the White Motor Co., that low maintenance-costs furnish the incentive for research into the relative economics of both small-scale and large-scale operation.
In the opinion of A. H. Gossard, of the Middle West Utilities Co., who makes comparisons between the two systems of maintenance, it is much easier to provide service and to control it by self-maintenance; for this reason, he believes it will prove the most satisfactory, all things being equal. Criticism is made by Capt. Walter C. Thee, U.S.A., to the effect that there has been lack of progress in maintenance methods. He states that, with the exception of modern shop-equipment installed in present-day service-stations, very little has been done to apply to maintenance of motor-vehicles the fundamental principles or laws of management that have been developed in industry during the last decade; in other words, that the maintenance of motor-vehicles has been stagnating and has progressed not nearly so fast as regards economy and efficiency as has the production of motor-vehicles.
The oral discussion of the paper, as distinguished from the prepared discussion, was printed in full in the S.A.E. JOURNAL for September, 1930, pp. 333-337.