TRAIN OPERATIONS: Rightsizing Workforce and Using It More Flexibly Could Reduce Costs at Preventative Maintenance Facilities

September 03, 2019 |  Audit Reports

This report assesses the extent to which the Mechanical department efficiently staffs its 12 preventative maintenance facilities. This report is our third in a series that examined how the company can reduce costs by addressing inefficiencies in maintenance operations staffing practices.

Although the company has taken some positive steps to better manage the Mechanical department’s workforce, we found that it did not have a process to systematically analyze the workload at its preventative maintenance facilities and align its workforce to that requirement. At two facilities we analyzed, we found that better alignment of the workforce to the workload could save as much as $2.1 million in annual labor costs. Additionally, current labor agreements reduce the company’s staffing flexibility which creates inefficiencies and additional costs. For example, employees in particular crafts are prevented from doing anything more than incidental work in another craft, regardless of whether they are trained and qualified to do so. Finally, we found a potential safety issue in which some preventative maintenance employees were working 16 hours or more in a day, increasing the risk of fatigue-induced incidents.

We recommended that the company implement a process to analyze the workforce at each preventative maintenance facility, identify opportunities to increase staffing flexibility among agreement employees, and analyze injury and work schedule data and assess whether to take additional risk-mitigation steps.

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