Darry Stuart

DWS Fleet Management
21 31

Darry Stuart has more than 45 years of experience in the transportation industry. As President/ CEO of DWS Fleet Management Services, he has been providing “Limited Time Executive" services in transportation and fleet equipment management to a variety of companies.

An ASE-certified master technician, Stuart began his career on the shop floor before moving on to fleet management executive positions at Perdue Chicken, BFI (Browning-Ferris Industries), United Truck Leasing, the  Keen  Companies, and Cumberland Farms/Gulf Oil.

For 35 years, Stuart has been an active member of the Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) of the American Trucking Assns., serving as the group’s general chairman from 2007-2008. He is the recipient of numerous industry awards, including TMC's Silver Spark Plug, which is given in recognition of an individual's outstanding contributions to the cause of excellence in heavy-duty vehicle maintenance management. He has been cited as an industry expert or authored over  250 articles on equipment and fleet management topics.

Gizmos, more gizmos: What is a gizmo?
  1. An unspecified or unspecifiable object; something one does not know the name of or does not wish to name; dingus, gadget : ''Why weren't you using the gismo?'' ''I was. It didn't work''/ ''What's this gizmo?'' I asked.
  2. gimmick (Gambling)

The term gizmo has be around and used for many years as an expression for something that is defined as an object as read above.

From managing iron to managing charts

Maintenance managers are always trying to be controlled by the bean counters. And in some cases they need to be, for there is no question about the value of measuring cash in versus cash out; of drilling down into the business plan of income and expenses to find savings.

For the last 35 years, managers of iron have found ways to reduce cost because they had to in order to keep their jobs; they had to be creative and make cuts to stay alive. Many needed to be forced, though, as some old iron men needed to truly understand where their costs where hiding.

Extended warranties: A tradeoff is downtime

Now, what you get when you purchase extended warranties is what you may not expect. You do get somewhat of controlled expenses prepaid and conforms to some level budget pressures. What might not be considered is that you have to work though the dealer on most, if not all, the repairs.

KPI's for maintenance: 15 suggestions for numbers that matter

In a recent conversation with a very close friend and peer, we were told by a company president that he wanted to have key performance indicators (KPIs) as the main focus point with his new director of maintenance.

Having previously developed some KPI’s around customer requirements, we asked the president what he wanted to see. He said: “I don’t know. I’m just a numbers guy. My father built the company (800 trucks) from one truck, but I don’t know what we need. I just want some KPI's.”

Reducing costs: Where do I start? 2

When the costs hit the reports, it is too late. Data is good, but maybe too late! You have to cure the root cause.

There are some simple ways to figure out where you might start to reduce costs.  Here are a couple of quick methods that I have been practicing and never will give up.

Shop productivity and OSHA travel the same road

There are many things you can do to keep OSHA happy. But the first thing you need to do is to keep yourself, your employees, boss or owner happy.

The first thing you many want to do is take a camera around the shop with you and take a couple hundred pictures. That’s not hard today with a digital camera. Then, once you take those pictures, create a slideshow, and you will see that you have plenty to do.

Here are some basic things to consider:

Do I need a computer system to lower my costs?

A lot of shop managers, shop foremen or garage managers want to rely on a computer system to lower their costs. A computer system alone does not lower your costs. For some reason there is a magical belief that once you install the software, if the project gets competed it just fixes everything, lowers costs and you now become the master of your domain.

You know it’s easy, right? Long before the costs hit the reports, it is right in front of your face if you are looking. A computer system tracks the makeup of costs, labor applied and parts or consumables used.

Chapter 11, Threshold Management …

Chapter 11 bankruptcy is a legal way of tuning up companies for a restart. If you have not gone through one, it is an experience that one should live with the positive outcome and not an excuse to slide away from what once was committed by purchase.

Chapter 11 is a structure as explained to me as a restart and to give the company a chance to start over. I am not so sure I agree because most lose, but there are some personal values in the process. The company that files Chapter 11 sheds the debt and the creditors have to take it on the chin. Does not sound fair to me.

Communication, ROI …

In the past decade, we have seen a change in the levels of communications. For most people, it now consumes a full 24-hour day. First it was the phone, then email, and when that became a little too much work, we moved quickly to texting.

Not a bad way for a brief interaction, but then we moved onto something called Facebook, and Twitter, and Instagram, and LinkedIn. Plus, I know there are tons of other social media communications going on.

The Chinese Manufactured Tires Are Here, Maybe It’s Not So Bad 1

My opinion is tires are round, black and made of rubber. They are usually supported by a strong servicing dealer with a solid, if not always visible, brand name, and measure their costs by the 32nd.


Numbers, Number, Numbers: Nero Continues to Fiddle While Rome Burns

The bean counters are always trying to control maintenance managers, and in some cases they need to.
There is no question on the value of measuring cash in and cash out, the tracking of income and expenses, drilling down.

The VP of Mystery, or Mr. They 1
In checking the organizational chart there is a position in all companies that falls somewhere under the CEO and COO. It is VP of Mystery, a position that has unbelievable power, authority and perceived experience. It is a position never questioned about direction, practices or substance. So what does this position do?
Forget bonuses for technicians. Pay them instead.
The only way to incentivize the tech is to turn your operation into a flat rate shop. No fleet has ever done it successfully with lower ongoing costs or could afford the complexity and labor to manage it.
AMTs deliver operational rewards and higher costs. 1

There are a few engineering wonders during my career that have been something to talk about beyond electronic engine controls and ABS. I was an early believer and purchaser of automated manual transmissions (AMTs) and automatics because of their ability to widen the range of available drivers that no longer could shift a single stick or two stick quad box, to give us some additional fuel economy and to reduce shock loads on the drive trains. 

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