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January/February 2019

IANA Guide Debut Supports Utilization and Training Goals

“The IANA Guide to Chassis Inspection and Repair: Intermodal Recommended Practices,” developed through the Maintenance and Repair Committee, is now available, completing a multi-year effort to foster more consistent equipment condition that enhances service quality.

As a first of its kind resource, the guide delivers detailed, step-by-step instructions for 53 intermodal recommended practices that cover every aspect of inspection, repair and maintenance for the North American chassis fleet, both international and domestic.

Since the committee began working on the guide more than three years ago, the goal has been to encourage and support recruiting, training and retention of highly skilled, quality mechanics.

“The impact of these recommended practices will have far-reaching effects on improving the utilization of chassis long into the future,” said IANA Senior Vice President Steve Keppler. “Since the manual became available, it has been very encouraging to see significant interest from throughout the intermodal industry in the form of favorable commentary about its contents and people’s plans for putting the IRPs into practice. These are important indicators towards reaching our goal of having the manual deliver the benefits intended by those who worked so long and hard to develop and produce it."

The guide was also developed with the purpose of enhancing the standardization of industry practices in order to deliver a variety of benefits that extend to the entire intermodal freight delivery process.

Greater standardization in maintenance and repair will directly result in improved service for customers, more dependable deliveries by motor carriers and a reduction in costly roadside breakdowns.

There are nine sections in the 300-page guide, devoted to these specific activities: general procedures and auxiliary equipment, electrical and lamps, tires and wheels, axles, couplers and hitches, frames, suspensions, brakes, and welding and fabrication.

The first 30 pages of the guide cover general topics such as safety and inspection procedures, as well as specific information about telematics, automatic tire inflation systems, flood water damage, and credentials and markings. Also included as appendixes are a list of mechanic’s tools, supplies and equipment as well as a glossary of terms and numerous additional resources. There are 38 items listed in the basic mechanic’s tool kit, ranging from cold chisels to hacksaws, as well as 13 pieces of recommended personal protective equipment.

Each of the sections contain close-up photos, detailed charts and other graphics to accompany the concisely worded descriptions of the recommended practices. As an example, for the task of joining a wire, there are 15 illustrations to complement the 21 instructions.

Three industry executives who spearheaded the creation of the guide commented on how the guide can benefit the industry.

Dave Esposito, director of corporate maintenance and repair at Direct ChassisLink, believes “the guide will serve as a better form of communication between IEPs, repair vendors, facilities and even drivers as to the expectations around chassis M&R.”

DCLI is making the manual accessible to all field staff for M&R guidance, and reviewing the guide “to identify ways we can improve our procedures,” he said.

Brett Hugo, strategic account manager at Stemco, offered this perspective: “This will aid in providing a consistent training message for all. Getting everyone aligned with the terminology and specific tools referenced is essential.”

Hugo also noted the magnitude of the task ahead. “Change is always difficult. We will need support from all levels involved to promote this as the new standard.” Webb Wheel Products is using the manual in all training classes and as a reference for future training videos, said Senior Manager of National Accounts Ed Smith.

“We are hoping the guide brings the industry into a culture where repairs are uniformly done and follow manufacturers’ recommendations,” he said. “It will help to remove the thoughts of ‘we have always done it this way’ and hopefully move it towards ‘this is the right way to do it.’”

Keppler particularly recognized the importance of creating the guide through IANA’s committee and task force structure.

“We commend the extraordinary amount of time, dedication and commitment that industry experts put into the development of this valuable resource,” Keppler said.

For more details on the guide, visit /iana-guide-chassis-inspection-and-repair

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