Servicing of your access equipment is a necessary part in prolonging the life of your machine. There are many factors that should be considered when you think of the when and where’s, in addition to the standard considerations including the age of your equipment and how long you can afford for the machine to be out action. Here we explore some critical factors that should be considered before you schedule your next service.
Before you call to arrange a service or repair, please check the machine and have the serial number and if possible the operation hours ready for the Service Coordinator. This information is critical to open and log the job and helps to determine what will likely be needed. These are the first questions that you will be asked when you call, so having this information ready to go will save everyone’s time and makes for a much speedier service enquiry.
As per the EWPA Code of Practice for Power-Operated Elevating Work Platforms 6.4.5 of AS 2550.10, for Elevating Work Platforms (EWP) all 10 year old machines must complete an overhaul service to make them fit for operation. If the machine you are using is over 10 years old and hasn’t had an overhaul service then technicians are unable to touch that machine. If you are having trouble with a machine that is nearing the 10 year mark, it might be time to schedule the overhaul so you can get several more years out of your asset. The machine will then be certified for another five years of life.
Is the machine positioned somewhere that the technician can easily access? Are there any site restrictions, or inductions required? Should they bring specific PPE Equipment? All these questions will help to prepare the technician for the site, making for a faster and smoother service.
While every job is important, it’s critical to understand that technicians can cover large geographical areas with multiple customers. A technician’s day is planned the day before, based on many different factors. Therefore it will be very difficult to arrange a technician to visit you that day, if you are calling in the late afternoon. However service staff are trained in the highest level of customer service and will do everything possible to assist your request and get a technician to your site as quickly as possible.
In addition, if you know of other issues or you want the technician to check anything else on the machine, let the coordinator know beforehand. It can be tempting to make use of a technical expert while they are there, but the schedule for the day has been carefully planned based on the information provided about the machine. A couple of additional issues throughout the day that were unplanned could lead to someone at the end of the day, not getting their service.
When considering who to send your machine to, think in terms of which service provider can, not only offer the best service on the day, but also over the life of the equipment. Consider that the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) has the best knowledge of your equipment, including a database from around the world of lessons learnt and easy access to spare parts. In addition their technicians are trained on the equipment and see them every day. With intimate knowledge of the equipment, they can often repair any faults quicker, as they have seen them before and know the solution. They are resourced to provide initial technical support, right through to scheduled maintenance and breakdown service.
Having access to a facility or technicians located where you are is a key consideration especially if your machine is due for a 10 year service upgrade. Your machine will be out of action for some time so the shorter travel distance means your equipment will be back in action quicker. Having a large centralised facility in Brisbane is great for QLDers, but won’t help you in WA.
The importance of an effective maintenance program cannot be overlooked because it plays such an important role in the continued operation of your equipment. Effectively scheduling your maintenance requirements around other machine availability, job requirements or even the right time of year can save time and money in the long run.
The cost of regular maintenance is very small when it is compared to the cost of a major breakdown that may have been prevented. Using a modern approach to maintenance, companies can now monitor machine performance thanks to sensors located on critical elements of the machines, which can provide indications of potential failures. Diagnostics tools, like Haulotte’s Activ’Screen are now on board the machine and also provide downloadable data to effectively manage the service requirements of your fleet. This way we are focussing on the ‘healthcare’ of equipment rather than the ‘sick care’. Greg Rupp, Service Manager for United Forklift and Access Solution, explains the value of preventive maintenance.
“At United, we have a targeted preventative maintenance program aimed at minimising the amount of breakdowns on our own rental fleet as well as our customers’ machines. The costs associated with breakdowns far outweigh planned maintenance, whether it be through downtime, temporary replacement machinery, transport costs or administration,” said Mr Rupp.
“Through the use of our internal database and software, we are able to be proactive in scheduling preventative maintenance and working with our customers to conduct inspections and/or work required at a time which has the lowest impact on their business. Through the use of technology incorporated in Haulotte’s machines, we are able to attend site more often armed with the right information to minimise downtime and achieve a greater first-fix percentage” adds Mr Rupp.
Have you and your team had adequate training on the equipment in use? The right training can reduce anxiety relating to operation and a greater take-up of technology. Think back to a recent job, was there something you could have done differently had you been more aware of the machine? Companies like Haulotte offer training programs that are entirely tailored and feature customised content to each individual need. Theoretical and practical training sessions can be prepared by authorised trainers at a location convenient to you. Training programs include machine familiarisation, EWP basics and in depth technical operational training for service and repair.
Sometimes, all you need, is a point in the right direction, but where to start? Technical information about your machine and its operations should be readily accessible, either by hard copy manuals or digital access that is quick and easy to find. Often it can be difficult to share recent versions of manuals and safety information; however some companies are looking to the digital age to help provide information direct to customers. Companies like Haulotte have turned to app providers to develop custom tools to meet the needs for customer service. Andrew Lomas from Creative Folks describes how digital solutions can improve customer service.
“Since 2014; the number of mobile users has overtaken desktop users with the majority of user time spent on tablets, phones and mobile devices. Our motto is to make the complex simple, so we look to new technologies that make life easier for our clients and get the right content into the hands of their own customers intuitively. The end user benefits by having access to tools and information that is directly created for them based on their feedback and delivered on-demand to their device of choice,” said Mr Lomas.