5 Ways to Keep Repair Costs Down
No matter what brand of machine tool you own, eventually you’re going to have to deal with repairs and the costs associated with them. Machine repairs are required for a variety of reasons; wear and tear, fatigue, component failure, software glitches, or damage caused by “crashes” being the most common. Whatever the reason, there are ways for owners to reduce the cost of these repairs. Reducing the number of hours spent onsite by the service engineer and in turn limiting downtime can save significant amounts of money.
1. Provide All the Details
The customer should start out by clearly communicating to the distributor service department what the problem is. Provide as much detail to the service coordinator as possible. Machine model, serial number, alarms, detailed description of problem, pictures of damage, etc. will help the service team properly prepare for the service call. This saves money in a couple of ways; the distributor can select a service tech more familiar with that particular problem and the tech may even be able to bring the required parts with him. This helps reduce down time and limits the number of service calls necessary to complete the repair.
2. Clear the Way
The customer can also reduce costs by properly preparing for the service engineer. Start by providing a clean work area for the technician (the photo above shows typical clutter that should be removed), preferably with a workbench large enough for a tool box, laptop and some extra room for parts. Next, clean around the machine so the service engineer has complete access to all panels. Clean the inside of the machine by removing all chips, fixtures and tooling.
3. Keep Needed Items On-Hand
Have the keys to the machines electrical cabinet and control available at the machine. Have all the books available at the machine including electrical diagrams, parts manuals, operator’s books etc. All these things help the service engineer spend less time on site and reduce the cost of the service call.
4. Have People in Place
It’s also a good idea to have someone available to assist the technician with the removal of large panels. Make sure someone is available who’s familiar with the problem the machine is having, and have someone available who can properly test the machine for proper function after the repair is complete. There should also be someone nearby who can quickly make decisions on repair costs i.e. parts, time required, and sign off on service reports.
5. And Yes, This One’s Important!
Lastly, have a parking location for the technician as close as possible to the machine. This will minimize time spent carrying supplies in and out of the facility.
All of these things will improve the service technician’s efficiency which in turn will help reduce the number of hours the technician needs to spend onsite, minimize machine downtime, and most importantly, limit the overall repair cost.
Thanks to Gus Gustafson (Vice President of Service for Thomas Skinner & Son Ltd.) for providing this article.