ABOUT LONG BEACH TRANSIT
Each year, more than 29 million people in southern California travel on buses operated by Long Beach Transit. The transit company provides fixed and flexible bus services in Long Beach, Lakewood and Signal Hill, as well as portions of Artesia, Bellflower, Carson, Cerritos, Compton, Hawaiian Gardens, Norwalk, Paramount and Seal Beach.
Long Beach Transit also operates the Passport shuttle, a free mini-bus service within the downtown area; the 49-passenger AquaBus water taxi; and the 75-passenger AquaLink water taxi.
Passengers: 29 million boarding passengers annually
Fleet: 248 coaches, along with 75 service vehicles
Distance covered: 40,000 - 50,000 miles per coach annually
KEY OPERATIONAL CHALLENGE
On the maintenance front, Long Beach Transit needed a solution that allowed it to:
• Analyze data to better predict and plan maintenance activities and costs
• Optimize operations by improving the way work orders were developed and segmented according to the type of work
For Long Beach Transit, keeping its vehicles in top condition is critical to providing a safe and reliable bus service for millions of passengers. When Long Beach Transit’s Executive Director and Vice President of Maintenance and Facilities, Rolando Cruz, joined the organization ten years ago, Long Beach Transit had little ability to analyze data about its fleet of 220 vehicles to support its maintenance operations.
“All we had were the old green-screen systems with no true data to analyze the service history of each vehicle,” explained Cruz. “We could generate work orders and that was it. We had no way of performing analysis besides running reports that were standard and fixed - it just didn’t give us the ability to see where we were doing well and where we weren’t.”
Long Beach needed the means to segment work orders according to the type of work, as well as see results from that work for analysis.
“Previously, we could only schedule work by the day,” said Cruz. “Instead, we wanted to be able to segment the scheduling of work according to the job. We also wanted some flexibility to change the way we could schedule work orders as we grew.”
To tackle the problem, Long Beach Transit implemented Mincom Ellipse, an Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) system from Mincom.
Since implementing the solution, Long Beach Transit has learned new ways to optimize the maintenance and operation of its assets in different areas.
One such area Long Beach Transit was looking to optimize was effectively predicting - and minimizing - the wear and tear of parts, such as brakes. With Long Beach Transit vehicles running an average of 300 miles each day, wear and tear is inevitable.
“In the transit world, the wear and tear of parts is an ongoing challenge,” said Cruz. “It was important for us to get better visibility of the condition of each vehicle so we could reduce downtime. In the event that one of our vehicles required service, we needed to know we could be instantly ready with parts and labor.”
With buses constantly stopping and starting in traffic, servicing brakes is a common maintenance activity. It is also a very time-consuming job. “It was an immediate area we knew we could improve.”
With the EAM solution, Long Beach Transit developed a historical record of brake jobs, enabling them to study patterns and predict when brakes would need replacing. “Previously, we’d found that some of our vehicles were doing 8,000 miles before requiring a brake job, while other vehicles could manage 30,000 miles,” said Cruz. “This was such a large range and we needed to work out why.”
Now the organization’s mechanics can analyze why brake jobs were performed, where the problems were, and iron out any inconsistencies. Its aim was for all vehicles to average approximately 27,000 miles before a brake change was needed. Within a couple of years, all vehicles in the fleet were meeting this standard.
“Using Mincom Ellipse, we’ve been able to decrease our maintenance activity by 35 to 40 percent,” said Cruz. “Previously we were performing around eight to 10 brake jobs a year. Now, we hardly do any.”
Enterprise asset management has saved Long Beach Transit money, too. “Not only are we doing less maintenance on areas like brakes, more of our fleet is staying on the road and out of the workshop,” said Cruz.
According to Cruz, the greatest benefit from implementing this system is the ability to customize work orders according to their needs, as well as being able to analyze data by any category for maintenance planning. “If there was one word I would choose to describe this new functionality, it would be flexibility,” he said.
“We are able to provide upfront instructions to our mechanics about what’s required, suggest parts and estimate labor time - it’s all there. And if we ever have a change to a job, new information and instructions can be generated and read by the mechanics immediately. Our mechanics are very spoiled now - when they get a job, they know what’s expected of them, what materials they should be using, and what parts of the job are related to them.”
Previously, the only way Long Beach Transit could schedule any preventative maintenance was by day. Now, the organization generates different work orders according to the situation. Some of their maintenance is scheduled by day, others by miles and others based on the condition of the vehicle being serviced.
Above all, Cruz says implementing an EAM system has allowed the team at Long Beach Transit to become much better planners. “Today, a lot of infrastructure-based organizations are talking about PAS 55 - a best-practice guide for the whole life cycle management of physical assets. Using the PAS 55 approach, we’re now able to manage the entire life cycle costing of our assets, from the moment they are purchased to the time they are replaced.”
“With the support of Mincom, Long Beach Transit has been optimizing the entire asset life cycle for years - while other transit organizations are still struggling to understand the concept.”
Long Beach Transit can now track different vehicle components, enabling them to compartmentalize problem areas that were considered to be too costly or safety issues.
“In doing so, we are able to predict - and minimize - our maintenance requirements,” said Cruz. “Thanks to Mincom, we’ve put in place an active replacement strategy for our engines, transmissions and other major components susceptible to wear and tear. The result: a fleet in optimum condition and a reliable, quality service for Long Beach Transit passengers.”
Long Beach Transit is planning to upgrade to the newest release of Mincom’s EAM solution to take advantage of its new capabilities, including integrated field-enablement applications. It also plans to implement Mincom’s electronic parts catalog solution for better parts management.
“By developing a more comprehensive picture of asset management, Long Beach Transit not only provides a great bus service, but also manages public funds in the most responsible, forward-thinking way.”
Concluded Cruz, “For others looking to implement an asset and work management solution with similar results, we believe our most important strategy was involving employees at all levels. We first created a team that included mechanics, storekeepers and supervisors to document current business practices, and then developed a set of best practices using our EAM system. We even learned how we could change a few of our practices and thus improved our way of doing business moving forward.”
Mincom is a global software and services provider that delivers solutions critical to businesses in asset- intensive industries such as mining, defense, oil and gas, energy, and public infrastructure. Leveraging more than 30 years of deep experience in these industries, Mincom helps customers successfully optimize the performance of their assets, their workforce and their business as a whole. For more information, please visit www.mincom.com.