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4 collection of agency practices cataloged under major head- You also have a choice when it comes to physically writ- ings, the Web Board makes it easier to locate needed refer- ing the practice. If you prefer the "manual" approach and are ence materials. Additional information on the Web Board is uncomfortable with computers, you can use the format con- provided below and in Chapter 2. tained in Chapter 4 to write practices using more traditional The Guidebook concludes with Chapter 6, a series of seven means (e.g., typewriter and pen and paper). For those with a sample practices developed from applying the guidance computer and Internet access, the Guidebook is available in offered here to popular maintenance tasks. The sample prac- electronic format. It includes an MS Word template so you tices illustrate what a completed practice could look like in can compose your practices directly on a personal computer. terms of structure and content. Like existing agency practices You could also use your own word processing program to found on the Web Board, the sample Guidebook practices write practices without the template. could serve as a useful starting point for developing your own The template not only standardizes the document style practices on similar topics. (e.g., font, margins, and page layout), but also provides links to specific instructions and reference sections contained in the Guidebook (e.g., instructions for inserting photos and tips USING THIS GUIDEBOOK on writing well). Without the template, you would use the table of contents to reference the appropriate pages of the Use of this Guidebook is completely voluntary and can be hard-copy version. An electronic version of the Guidebook applied in whole or in part. There is no one approach that is and the Word template are available as a download on the "right" for all agencies to use. Unlike standards and RPs Web Board described in Chapter 2, Part 2. developed through a consensus-driven process requiring uni- The various approaches to writing practices are intended versal approval, material in this Guidebook can be used to to accommodate the various skills and resources available to develop practices tailored specifically to your own mainte- agencies. It is hoped that the added flexibility will encourage nance operation. Agencies that already have practices can more agencies to develop practices and enjoy the many use the guidance to improve them, while those without prac- benefits offered by them. tices now have a framework to get the process going. The Guidebook and its Web Board component, which may BENEFITS appear overwhelming at first, are actually designed to give agencies a variety of choices as they set off to develop or Other Transportation Industries improve their practices. The Guidebook also accommodates those with or without computer skills and Internet access. The benefits of having--and using--documented mainte- The hard-copy version includes all of the essential material nance practices cannot be overemphasized. In the airline needed to develop practices without using a computer. Those industry, where steps to ensure passenger safety are un- with computer skills, however, can access additional Guide- matched, airlines, aircraft makers, and the federal government book features and the Internet-based Web Board to make the all cooperate to make certain that documented practices guide job easier. every essential maintenance task. The trucking industry You have several choices in applying the Guidebook. The publishes hundreds of RPs for their members. United Parcel recommended approach is to read all of the background Service (UPS), for example, develops practices that are so material contained in Chapters 13 in preparation for writing detailed that another mechanic can take over a major job at any the practice as described in Chapter 4. A second approach is time knowing exactly where the previous mechanic left off. to go directly to Chapter 4 and begin writing the practice, Private and public railroads also produce standards and RPs. referring back to the previous three chapters as needed for As one example, APTA is leading a standards-development specific information. effort that includes the development of maintenance practices A third and "fast-track" approach, although not necessar- for both rail and bus transit. All of these organizations under- ily the best, is to use one of the sample practices included in stand the benefits derived from using practices to guide and Chapter 6 or one of the existing agency practices cataloged standardize routine maintenance tasks. under major bus maintenance headings on the Web Board as a starting point to develop your own practices. You can also APTA's Bus Standards Activities upload your agency's practices to this collection at any time. If you decide to skip around and use only select parts of On the bus side, APTA is involved with two standards activ- the Guidebook, it is strongly recommended that you first ities. One is a program for developing voluntary RPs. Unlike become familiar with the table of contents because it pro- the agency-specific practices developed from this Guidebook, vides a useful roadmap of all the material covered. In addi- APTA's RPs are being developed by consensus for use by the tion, it is strongly recommended that you read the section on transit industry as a whole. As a result, material contained in legal considerations found at the beginning of Chapter 2 and them tends to be generic because of their universal appeal. in Appendix A before you write any maintenance practice. However, agencies can use material contained in the APTA