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Marinucci: Sensible housekeeping boosts safety, profitability
Tire dealers and service shop operators may boost their bays' profitability by reaching for the nearest box lid or cardboard tray. Here's why.Reducing waste — in time and material — is an effective way to boost the profitability of any automotive service department. Collecting and protecting smaller parts is an overlooked, undervalued technique for saving time as well as parts costs on many repair jobs. Common cardboard trays and box lids may be the most cost-effective tools for collecting and protecting smaller parts and fasteners removed during a repair.Coach techs to gather repair-related pieces into a tray or box lid. Stow it in an appropriate place during the job.Depending upon what the items are, a proper place may be somewhere within the engine compartment, over on the workbench or on a nearby service cart.In other situations, a safe spot may be inside the vehicle's trunk, under a seat or on the rear floor.Why tidiness mattersShop experience has shown that managing parts and fasteners during some tasks is essential – not to mention challenging. Predictably, some repairs involve many more individual pieces than other jobs do.It's a fact of life that the greater the number of pieces, the greater the risk is that a technician may lose something. A tech who is hustling to beat the estimated labor time for the task may increase the chances of these mistakes.Mind you, the topic may be old news to some owners and managers: Their techs have been performing intensive, extensive repair work for years now. They are accustomed to complexity and a plethora of parts.But the more-complicated tasks constitute a learning curve at some facilities. The reason is that the business always focused on quick-turnaround, relatively simplistic services and repairs.Limited work space may be an unforeseen challenge when a business expands into more-involved repair work. Let's face it — there is a finite amount of space in the vehicle itself. Plus, a tech only has a certain amount of room within a bay and/or on the nearest workbench. Consequently, it may not be a surprise that techs must get creative while finding safe, practical places to stow parts and fasteners temporarily during a repair. "Safe and practical" may sound simple and obvious to you, but over the years, I repeatedly have seen careless techs leave stuff on the shop floor. One potential consequence is that this hurried tech trips over material in his/her own bay. These techs —or a coworker — may fall over the pieces and injure themselves. Second, the tech or an uninvited coworker may overlook the items on the floor, walk into them and scatter them into oblivion. Suddenly a valuable tech is crawling around searching for lost hardware.Third, I have watched people blindly cut through a tech's bay, walking over fragile plastic parts and destroying them. (Yes, haste does make waste.)Beware owners and managers: Never assume that an email or telephone call will replace those crushed pieces promptly. Sometimes a careless tech ends up at the local salvage yard, searching for replacements during a torrential downpour.The big takeaway here is that failing to "collect and protect" during teardown may foment a fiasco in your service department.Recently I had to remove a glove box assembly in order to access an electrical connector behind it. Photo 1 shows some pieces, including plastic parts that I collected and protected during the job. Replacing these items would have been a real hassle — had I lost or damaged them.Some techs use a magnet of some kind to hold onto nuts, bolts, clips and the like during a repair. However, a magnet isn't workable for countless other parts.Think of the office supplies, automotive chemicals and other goods that arrive in a box with a usable lid. Set each lid aside for use as a parts tray.Perhaps you buy water and beverages for the break room or vending machines. These goods may be packed on useful cardboard trays. Save those!Plus, supermarkets and similar retail businesses often discard tray-shaped cardboard pieces. A store manager cheerfully may give you as many as you want.In conclusion, a cardboard tray or lid may not help your service department a great deal, but they are free and not likely to hurt it, either.
Bridgestone phases out century-old truck tire brand
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Bridgestone Americas Inc. has phased out the Dayton medium truck tire brand, eight years after reviving the brand as an entry-level product targeted at independent drivers and small fleets.Prior to relaunching the century-plus-old brand in 2013, Bridgestone had "retired" it in 2010. The company had sourced Dayton-brand tires offshore. In 2015, the company debuted a promotional campaign for the brand under the tagline, "Tires for Truckers," to promote the brand as "tires designed for truckers" such as small fleets and owner-operators focused on their work.The campaign featured a dedicated website, daytontrucktires.com, but that site is now offline. Bridgestone has controlled the Dayton brand since 1988 when it bought Firestone Tire & Rubber Co., which in turn had owned the brand since 1961 when it bought the tire business of Dayton, Ohio-based Dayton Rubber Co. The company and brand date back to 1910.Bridgestone instead said it is focusing on the Firestone brand and Bandag retreads as options that deliver a strong total-cost-of-ownership value proposition.Bridgestone phased out Dayton-brand passenger tires in 2011-12. During the 1990s Bridgestone supplied Dayton-brand race tires to and sponsored the the predecessor of today's IndyLights series, known as the Dayton Indy Lights Series from 1991-2001.
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