I have a new appreciation for nostalgic vehicles that are in impeccable shape. I tip my hat to the companies that maintain their vehicles to that level. It’s incredibly impressive and takes a long term investment of energy.
Being that I’m somewhat of a car nut, I’ve re-built a ‘67 GTO and a ‘63 GMC pick-up. And I’m not the only one. Most of us around here have, at one time or are in the process of restoring some type of vehicle. For me, this hobby carries over into my company. We’ve been restoring older company vehicles for years, but last year we invested in two newer sign installation trucks.
Unfortunately, they don’t build trucks like they used to! Both are in the shop while our older, restored vehicles are pulling the weight. Hind sight being 20/20, my thoughts are this; we should never have given up on the “old dogs”. Continuing with the “dog” analogy, training a new one is much more work and effort. Newer vehicles are unknown and it looks like we brought gremlins into our shop when we bought them. Encountering the “bugs” that come with these acquisitions is not something I’m incredibly fond of.
OUR NEW PHILOSOPHY
I can’t say it enough, “take care of what takes care of you!” and don’t forget it, take it for granted or become too comfortable. That’s our new philosophy around here, anyway. Don’t be hasty on decision-making. The machines enable you to do your job. Don’t get fooled into believing they have a limited life. It’s worth investing the time and effort developing a preventative maintenance program. Then sticking to it! A good PM program will give you a longer life out of the equipment that contributes directly to customer satisfaction, uptime and reliability.
GET YOUR PM PROGRAM ROLLING
It takes patience. It can get frustrating dealing with old equipment. But the newer stuff isn’t always the solution. It’s not sexy but be sure to keep records of all maintenance so you can do a proper evaluation of how many issues there are on your equipment.
PM programs don’t fix all the problems. Even an in depth program can’t get rid of huge equipment issues. But they will improve the reliability and uptime of your gear. They also give you the data you need to prevent more costly breakdowns.
Your program will be unique to your organization; here are the highlights of ours:
- Maintenance logs
- Oil change schedule
- Daily vehicle inspections
- We run our vehicles through their daily operation as well as their infrequent operations. For example: the auxiliary wench doesn’t get used routinely but we check it often – helps avoid it breaking down on the job site. Hopefully it breaks down during an inspection in the shop instead so we can avoid down time and other associated costs.
Look at this way…it’s like going to your doctor. It takes him years to get used to your body and its signals, how your muscle mass works, how your immunity system fights battles, etc. In other words, starting with a new doctor takes time to evaluate you and do proper diagnosis and treatment. Look at equipment as the patient and what would you need to do to keep it healthy.