Tag Archives: omnitrans procurement

Frank Flores does whatever it takes for customers


Warranty Coordinator and Employee of the Quarter Frank Flores “dumpster dives” in a scrap metal bin while Materials Supervisor Rick Barone looks on.

Omnitrans Warranty Coordinator Frank Flores loves a challenge. From dumpster diving in scrap metal bins to researching manufacturer warranties, he’s willing to do whatever it takes to turn old metal parts into dollar signs. Thanks to his diligence and dedication, Omnitrans has recovered more than $307,000 in warranty claims in the last fiscal year!

When Frank was promoted from Parts Clerk to Warranty Coordinator three years ago, he was up against some heavy competition for the position. His strong analytic skills and systematic approach to claims and recovery made him stand out as a contender.

“Frank is a problem-solver,” explains Materials Manager Rick Barone. “He’s very proactive in finding new and better ways of doing things that benefits everyone. He’s also not afraid to get his hands dirty. I’ve even caught him dumpster diving for parts in the scrap metal bins.”

Omnitrans Employee of the Quarter Frank Flores

From left to right: Omnitrans Board Chair Sam Spagnolo, Frank Flores, Procurement Director Jennifer Sims, CEO & GM P. Scott Graham

“Thanks,” Frank laughs and adds “I only dumpster dive at work. It’s actually not a hobby. I basically search through the bins to see if I can find anything that might still be covered under a manufacturer’s warranty. The mechanics know when the warranty on a vehicle has expired, but they may not know that a specific component is still warrantied by the manufacturer.”

“He also incredibly organized and keeps impeccable records,” Rick points out. “A lot of guys in his position have extensive knowledge in their heads, but they’re not great at documenting information and communicating it to others. Frank does it all.”

Procurement Director Jennifer Sims agrees. “Frank has brought a level of analytics to the process that Omnitrans has never had before. He provides a very different systematic approach to how we handle claims and recovery.

forklift group

“For example, Frank developed a special tagging system. Now instead of parts just being tossed into a warranty bin, each item is tagged by the mechanic with as much information as they know. This makes it much easier to research where we ordered it from, how long we’ve had it, and if there is any warranty left. Frank’s been very instrumental not only in improving communication between the mechanics and the procurement team, but also in developing tools within SAP that allow us to track that warranty information. This helps automate the process and makes it easier for the mechanics.”

Frank credits his coworkers for making the process work. “It really is a team effort, and I appreciate everything they do. And the mechanics—they’re a great bunch of guys. I wouldn’t be able to do my job without them. They’ll even double-check a part for me to see if it’s still viable and something we can clean up and reuse.”

“When you look at the volume of claims that Frank is recovering,” Sims points out. “It’s more than double what we were able to do in the past. When budgets are tight, he’s actually saving job positions by maximizing our resources.”

frank and rick

“It feels good to know that what you do has that kind of impact,” says Frank. “It makes you want to do all you can. That’s why I don’t have a problem reaching into a dumpster.”

An eight-year veteran with Omnitrans, he tells us he plans to stay with the agency until he retires.

“Prior to working here, I was a manager at Auto Zone. I love helping people, and they appreciate it. You can see it in people’s faces. But I didn’t feel I could run a business the way I wanted to. Here I feel I have more ownership in it.  I am so thankful that I came to Omnitrans. I enjoy what I do, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I work with great departments and a great staff down here. I never dread coming to work.

“I like the consistency,” he explains. “I’d like to think that if someone came in and worked along beside me that the process would be very clear. For example, one of the things I’ve always said is that if your boss wants something turned in by Tuesday, you turn it in on Monday.  If they want to know what has the highest rate of recovery, I can be that quick in turning in numbers.

Omnitrans Employee of the Quarter Frank Flores

Employee of the Quarter Frank Flores and his proud family

“I also like the fact that I’m often working with the manufacturers now instead of just going through the vendor. By going direct, I’m able to skip the middle-man and build up direct relationships with the manufacturers. Not only does it help our recovery process, it’s been beneficial to them as well. If a part is consistently having problems, we’re able to demonstrate that to them. That helps them identify the issue and make improvements.”

But what means the most to Frank is the impact his work has on Omnitrans riders.

“I recognize most of the coach numbers when I see them on the street,” he says. “And it feels good to realize that that I have played a part in keeping that vehicle on the road. All of us are working together as a team to make sure those passengers aren’t stranded. That’s the most important thing. That’s why we do what we do.”

 – Juno Kughler Carlson


Parts Clerks help keep fleet running smoothly

Omnitrans Parts Clerk Ray Gonzales and Mechanic Antonio Orozco

Thirty-three thousand four hundred twenty-eight (33,428) parts have been purchased, received, and issued through the East and West Valley warehouses to keep Omnitrans’ buses rolling this fiscal year. That translates to nearly 200 contracts, independent cost estimates, technical specifications, and scopes of work! Providing service to our community takes a coordinated effort that encompasses the entire agency.

Traditionally, warehouses and distribution centers shut down for one to two weeks each year to conduct physical inventories to protect the asset. Omnitrans utilizes technology for a more savvy approach that minimizes the impact to the Maintenance department.

Inventory is closely accounted for and monitored through a robust Cycle Count Program eliminating the need for a full warehouse closure. Parts are classified based on usage or “cycles” and counted accordingly. The faster the inventory turns, the more frequently they are counted. Instead of counting parts once a year, parts are counted quarterly, semi-annually, and annually based on the potential risk to the agency.

Mechanics and supervisors have done an incredible job this year to identify potential warranty claims thereby reducing the cost to maintain Omnitrans’ fleet.

FYTD Warranty:
Claims: $559,374
Recovery: $390,165

Interim Warranty Coordinator, Art Colunga researches warranty statuses and files claims with each manufacturer or supplier to recoup as much money as possible. That’s no small task considering number of vehicles in our fleet, each with numerous warranty periods based on different bills of material. Efforts this fiscal year to date have already resulted in claims of $559,374 and $390,165 in recovery!

As warranties expire, Omnitrans Parts Clerks work hard to identify engine parts by sight in order to assist mechanics in returning buses to service in a timely manner. Manufacturers often make improvements from one bus series to the next based on industry feedback and failures.

According to Frank Flores, Interim Materials Supervisor, “The challenge Parts Clerks face is knowing what parts have been superseded and what parts have to be maintained for the older coaches. Often times the superceded parts look much different than the original parts but, when installed, the improvements have resulted in less failures on our coaches.”

– Jennifer Sims, Director of Procurement

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Omnitrans Hosts Successful SBE/DBE Workshop

90% of participants ranked event as very good or excellent. 

On March 18th, Omnitrans hosted a “How to Do Business with Local Transit Agencies & DBE/Small Business Workshop.”

Eighty-nine small business enterprise (SBE) and disadvantaged business enterprise  (DBE) vendors attended the event to learn tips on how to better position their companies to earn government awards. It also gave them the opportunity to network directly with representatives from several local transit agencies including Sunline Transit Agency, Metrolink, Mountain Transit, Foothill Transit, Riverside Transit Agency, Riverside County Transportation Commission, Victor Valley Transit Agency and SANBAG.

“We were thrilled to be able to connect with so many local businesses,” said Omnitrans Director of Procurement Jennifer Sims. “Omnitrans is committed to breaking down the barriers that prevent DBEs from participating on federally assisted and locally supported contracts and procurements. ”

On October 3, 2012 the Omnitrans Board unanimously approved expanding Omnitrans’ DBE program to include a Small Business Enterprise  provision to foster SBE participation.  The agency is committed to doing business with the companies who provide the best value, regardless of ethnicity, gender or business size. Increased competition and right sizing projects result in lower overall costs to the agency and promote the local economy.

Companies interested in doing business with Omnitrans can find out more by visiting our website at www.omnitrans.org and clicking “Bid opportunities” in the top right corner.