Transdev Melbourne's Head of Fleet and Maintenance, Keith McArtney’s firm belief that everyone comes to work to do a good day’s work and his passion for setting high standards has driven a remarkable transformation of Transdev Melbourne’s fleet.
Keith’s interest in mechanics began as a teenager in a backyard in Wellington, New Zealand after he crashed his mother’s car. His neighbour ran a panel beating business and offered to fix the car for free if Keith helped.
After training as a heavy vehicle mechanic in the New Zealand Army, Keith entered the transport industry. Over the years he has done everything from driving tourists around Europe for Top Deck Tours to managing workshops and fleets for bus companies in Sydney, the Gold Coast and Darwin.
Today he oversees Transdev Melbourne’s six depots, a team of around 100 people and a fleet of more than 530 vehicles. When Keith arrived at Transdev Melbourne in late 2018 to take up his role as Head of Fleet and Maintenance he faced a significant challenge.
“I could see immediately that we needed to do better. There were opportunities to improve vehicle presentation, reliability of our fleet and change the culture among the workshop teams who were under enormous pressure.
“First and foremost, we needed to provide a clean, safe reliable bus for both our passengers and drivers.” says Keith.
Keith drew on his extensive experience in the bus industry and his experience leading teams as he began work on a two year plan to transform Transdev’s workshops.
“The most immediate priority was ensuring the vehicles were safe. I also knew that if we were to transform the fleet we had to take people along with us on the journey.
“It was important to talk to our people about what a clean, safe and reliable fleet looked like so they understood what standards were expected. We had to make sure that each team member knew exactly what they had to do to help achieve the goal.”
These conversations were just the beginning of the transformation plan, new processes were also introduced which focused on sharing knowledge and improving outcomes, as well as a significant investment in staff training.
Keith is also committed to building a pool of young talent in Transdev’s workshops who are trained to a high standard. Currently there are 10 apprentice mechanics being trained at the North Fitzroy depot. All major repairs are undertaken at North Fitzroy to ensure apprentices can build knowledge and skills on a wider range of mechanical issues before they move to another Transdev workshop.
Keith says the approach is delivering positive results, “Our teams now clearly understand how they are contributing to delivering a safe, clean and reliable service for our customers. They can see the company is committed to investing in their development."
The hard work has delivered results with Transdev Melbourne achieving;
- 100% bus safety inspection pass rate during 2020
- 100% reduction in overdue work orders in 2020 as compared to 2018
- More than 50% reduction in average breakdowns as compared to 2019
- Our reliability target despite record network disruption
But Keith says these transformational results are not just the result of the efforts of the maintenance teams but the result of collaboration across the business with input from safety, operations, training and customer experience.
He says the challenge now is for the workshop teams continue to maintain high standards and focus on continuous improvement. Reflecting on the transformation he says; “When I see one of our buses on the road, the pride our workshop teams take in the work they do is evident in each vehicle. And at the end of the day that means a safer, cleaner and more reliable experience for our customers.”