Joe Boyd is the fleet technician for Model Coverall Service.

Joe Boyd is the fleet technician for Model Coverall Service.

When servicing a fleet, it can be expensive to maintain various types of vehicles. Joe Boyd of Model Coverall Service faced this issue.

After taking over the company’s fleet in 2011, Boyd soon discovered piles of unused parts in the garage area. “I probably have $5,000 worth of parts for trucks that we don’t have anymore.”

In operation for more than 91 years, this uniform rental service is divided among three locations in Grand Rapids, Mich., Lansing, Mich., and South Bend, Ind. The current delivery fleet consists of 20 step vans and four Sprinter vans.

Under Boyd’s direction, Model Coverall started purchasing the same van model to cut acquisition costs as well as costs for maintenance and parts.

“The company realized that it was more cost-effective to have similar vehicles than having 10 different vehicles,” says Boyd. “By standardizing the fleet, you can have a basic parts inventory that works for every truck.”

A Standardized Fleet

When Boyd started at Model in 2011, the company’s step vans were built on chasses made by Freightliner, Workhorse Custom Chassis and Morgan Olson. Referring to the fleet as “a mix pot of everything,” Boyd found various unused parts for all the old vans — a majority for the company’s old Workhorse vans on General Motors chassis.

When Boyd started to retire half a dozen of the step vans, the company made a switch to Freightliner MT45 step vans with Utilimaster bodies. The vans are leased through a dealer in Indiana, who sends the vans to Utilimaster for upfitting.

With most of the fleet now standardized, Boyd can limit his inventory of vehicle parts. For the parts that need regular replacing, such as oil filters and fuel filters, he keeps one of each on his shelf. He orders the bigger parts — including brake pads, shocks and rotors — as needed. This allows him to keep only about $1,000 worth of parts on hand.

Boyd isn’t afraid to shop around for the best prices on parts, sometimes using a third-party supplier such as Mill Supply.