If it’s critical, back it up! Have you ever lost an important computer file you needed immediately? Everyone has experienced this situation. Hopefully, we learn from our mistakes and start backing up our critical files. Spray professionals have the same issue with their spray equipment. Companies rely heavily on spray equipment, yet in many cases, there’s no backup. If a piece of equipment is critical to the business, then it’s vital to have a backup.
It doesn’t matter what the equipment is – truck, trailer, power sprayer, duster or compressed air sprayer – if the equipment is needed to do the job, keep a backup. Companies of all sizes, from owner or operator to huge national fleets, seem surprised when a key piece of equipment fails.
What happens when we don’t have the spray equipment we need to complete our jobs?
- Missed and cancelled appointments
- Unhappy customers
- Lost revenue
- Employee downtime waiting for equipment
- Employee downtime running around town trying to find a solution
- Overtime expenses
- Higher repair expenses.
Operating conditions that require backup equipment are:
- Equipment failure
- Equipment is down for maintenance
- Equipment is in the wrong location
- Equipment contains the wrong product (chemical)
- Equipment is on a vehicle that was in a traffic accident
- Equipment damage is caused by technician misuse.
It gets worse. Equipment fails during the busy season, when the company can least afford downtime. This is also the time when the customer’s pest or weed pressure is greatest, making them less willing to tolerate delays. The busy season is also when demand for repair services is greatest – there might be a delay in getting a replacement. Many vendors cut back on inventory during the recession, which could extend the lead time on replacement parts. So how do we solve this problem?
- Identify critical equipment - Review equipment by vehicle, service and technician to identify the most important tools.
- Develop a backup plan for each critical item - For some items, it might be easiest to buy a replacement. For more expensive items, get creative. Look through that pile of used equipment in the corner to see if you can create something valuable out of it. Keeping a trailer in reserve can be cheaper than keeping an extra vehicle in the fleet.
- Review the plan - Review the equipment backup plan annually to ensure it’s still applicable. Test the backup equipment periodically to ensure it’s functioning properly. Don’t assume equipment sitting in the corner for years is still going to work.
Time spent identifying critical equipment and developing backup plans will save time, money and stress during your busy season.