The way the shop is laid out and equipped can contribute to technician efficiency, safety, and satisfaction.
Darry Stuart, president and CEO of DWS Fleet Management, says there should be a reasonable number of workbenches in the shop. “I normally put those on the walls at the end of the building and cantilever them off the wall so there are no legs. Anywhere there are legs, there is going to be junk.”
Every bench should have either a vise or a grinder, Stuart says, and under every bench there should be a rack to store at least two jack stands.
He also says there needs to be adequate space between the bays. In fact, if it were up to Stuart, “the more space the better.” He would like to see 25-foot-wide bays so there is plenty of room for technicians to work without bumping into each other.
Stuart also believes in having some “traffic control” in the shop. His suggestion is to paint the floors in work areas grey, areas for walking yellow with a red line to help control movement, and any place there is something safety-related like an eye wash should be painted green.
Technicians also need to be able to easily find the tools they’re looking for. Randy Obermeyer, terminal manager for the Batesville private fleet, notes that Lean waste-management principles call for everything having a place and having everything in its place. So, for instance, the location where the welder is supposed to be parked is indicated by a yellow mark painted on the floor that says “welder.”
“That’s where it’s expected to be when not in use,” Obermeyer explains. “That way the mechanic doesn’t have to walk all over the building to find it. Jack stands, torque wrenches — everyone knows where to find them, and there’s less likelihood of tripping over tools left out in the aisles.”