Ryder’s Ft. Lauderdale service location showcases effective shop management practices

Senior Service Manager of Ryder's Ft. Lauderdale Jonathan Muriel approaches company needs from the ground up.
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Ryder’s Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., service location may be one of more than 800 facilities nationwide, but under the direction of Jonathan Muriel, senior service manager, it is a shining example of how well the company meets critical fleet needs from the ground up. “Ryder strives to be at the top of the class with industry-leading technology and people,” Muriel says. “With these tools and resources, we can limit downtime for customers whether their equipment is in the shop for routine service or a repair.”

The Ryder facility in Ft. Lauderdale has six workstations. Maintenance and repair services, and roadside assistance from the location, are provided for about 462 lease and rental trucks, tractors, dry and refrigerated trailers as well as specialized equipment.

“Our local customers operate a wide range of trucks, tractors and trailers for hauling freight and making deliveries, as well as vans for service operations,” Muriel relates. “They also have flatbeds, trucks with liftgates, and tankers with equipment such as PTOs and pumps. Ryder lease customers nationwide who need service support while they are in the area also come to our facility.

“The work we perform ranges from regularly scheduled preventive maintenance and minor and major repairs to engine overhauls,” Muriel continues. “We also service trailers, refrigeration units and auxiliary power units. Our rental and lease fleets include Freightliner, International, Peterbilt, Kenworth and Isuzu trucks as well as Sprinter and Ford Transit vans. Essentially if you name a manufacturer, we service all models of their equipment.”

At Ryder’s shop in Ft. Lauderdale the staff numbers ten technicians on two shifts; two shop supervisors and two customer service coordinators. “We try to handle all work in-house and take pride in being able to provide everything from PM to heavy repairs,” Muriel says. “That’s possible because our staff has a very high level of technical ability, and the right tools and shop equipment.

“The resources Ryder puts at our disposal help us achieve the goals of reducing downtime for service, properly performing inspections and maintenance so no breakdowns occur between service intervals, and making repairs correctly the first time,” Muriel adds. “It’s all about time savings.”

That process, according to Muriel, has been greatly enhanced by Ryder’s system-wide and comprehensive shop modernization program. In general, this initiative aims to streamline operations by improving communication, workflow and productivity.

“We’re using information management and planning systems,” Muriel explains. “On our Shop Management Online [SMO] system, shop supervisors create tasks and repair orders and charge out parts; and on desktops in the shop, technicians enter their PM inspections and research diagnostic and repair information. They can also look up specific units and find notes on work that was done previously. That’s a valuable tool when repairs were done at another Ryder location.”

The Ryder shop also uses a new PO system to look up parts by a specific manufacturer, and receive recommendations on vendors to use. The facility sources parts locally from vendors and dealerships depending on availability and the customer’s needs.

“Another very important platform we have is our Advanced Planning System,” Muriel says. “More than just a tool for planning and scheduling, it also serves as a shop communications system for supervisors, customer service coordinators, and technicians. For example, another advantage of APS is that technicians can use the system to open a case with our technical assistance coordinators, who can set up a link to an OEM partner to facilitate diagnostics.

“Using the shift daily planner in APS, the integration of information from the SMO system, and notes and parts orders entered by shop supervisors,” Muriel adds, “we can contact customers with updates, for additional repair authorizations, and when units are done and ready to be returned to service.

“All of those capabilities keep everyone in the loop and help boost technician productivity, as well as limit downtime for repairs,” Muriel continues. “Shop productivity is a measure of uptime, so we use the data in our management systems to report daily on how many units are in the shop, and to track Standard Repair Times [SRTs] as a gauge of technician proficiency. 

“With SRTs, we can see how much direct labor time was spent working on vehicles and how much indirect labor is accounted for by other activities,” Muriel relates. “For example, we learned that by employing porters to move trucks in the yard and in and out of bays, technicians can get started diagnosing or repairing a unit much sooner.”

In the Ryder Ft. Lauderdale shop, technicians use a Service Bay Tool that houses all of the same OEM diagnostic software that is available at dealerships. Bays are also equipped with a scroll-type lift system and the shop has several advanced tools. Included is a Battery Voltage Analyzer that is used to streamline the diagnosis of electrical system problems and test batteries, starters and alternators.

Technicians at the Ryder shop take part in regular classroom and hands on training, Muriel notes, and the support they need is always just a phone call away. “We’re fully staffed based on a unit count per technician and we’re very fortunate that we don’t have a shortage issue,” he says. “Our staff has a wide range of experience, including two newly hired technicians straight out of school and people who are diagnostic, rebuild and refrigeration unit specialists.”

While technician openings at the Ft. Lauderdale shop are approved and new hires are brought on board through a Ryder recruiting system, Muriel has the final say on who is added to his shop’s team. “Through one-on-one interviews we can make sure the person is a good fit,” he says. “The process is about keeping an open mind and asking the right questions, and using my own technician and training background.”

Muriel, who joined Ryder nine years ago after completing technical school, started pumping fuel and washing trucks. He then became a technician and eventually a trainer on technologies and vehicles before assuming his current role as a senior service manager.

“Ryder provides a path for technicians to grow in the service management side of the business,” Muriel says. “Management leadership training is also offered covering all aspects of shop operations. There’s a lot of support here, and a great organization with lots of opportunities.”  ≈