Additional policies and procedures to reduce downtime, missed appointments and equipment repair expense are:
- Assign equipment to specific employees and hold them responsible. Any piece of equipment assigned to an individual will have fewer problems and less downtime than equipment that multiple employees use. Equipment left in a common area will be pillaged for parts so all that remains is junk. Assign equipment to one employee, and hold that employee responsible for ensuring the equipment is in good condition. This doesn’t necessarily mean the employee should make repairs; it mean the employee is responsible for promptly calling equipment problems to management’s attention. Companies that make employees pay for damaged equipment have fewer problems that companies that don’t.
- Track problems. The old adage, “what gets measured, gets done” applies to spray equipment. Track equipment problems to identify issues and causes. Track problems by vehicle, technician and component. If every technician has trouble with component A, the problem is component A, and when equipment is repurchased, a solution other than component A should be pursued. If employee B is the only one having a problem with component C, perhaps employee B requires additional training. If component D works well on every vehicle except Truck E, perhaps Truck E has a wiring problem. Track problems and use the data to improve equipment selection and design, employee training, and company policies and procedures.
- Train and retrain. Ensure all new employees receive thorough training on all the equipment they’ll be using. Periodically retrain all employees on the proper use of equipment. Don’t let them tell you they know what they’re doing. If that were the case, you wouldn’t be spending as much money fixing equipment. Just because you showed employee X on day one how you wanted the equipment used, doesn’t mean employee X is still doing what you want. He has probably found a shortcut, which probably costs the company money.
- Develop good policies and procedures. Good policies and procedures for spray equipment will boost productivity and reduce downtime. Document your equipment policies in writing, and review them periodically with employees. Continuously update and improve company policies.
- Supervisor ride-alongs. Supervisors should ride along with employees periodically to see how they’re doing their job, how the equipment is working and how the equipment layout in the truck is working. Without actually pulling hose, supervisors don’t know how employees are doing or how the equipment is helping or hurting productivity.
- Continuously improve equipment. Never be satisfied with your spray equipment. Keep looking for improvements and new ideas to help the company perform better. Sources of new ideas are:
- Ask technicians for ideas and advice about improving equipment. Employees use this equipment every day. They’re a great source for improvements.
- Steal ideas. Industry meetings are a great place for new ideas. Talk to colleagues and competitors to find out what works for them. Walk the parking lot at these meetings, and take photos of competitor’s trucks to get new ideas.
- Discuss equipment and safety at staff meetings. Discuss spray equipment and safety ideas at staff meetings. If you don’t discuss it, employees might assume it doesn’t matter to the company, and you could miss out on good ideas.
- Equipment vendor. Your equipment vendor is a great source of ideas for improvements. He see many different equipment ideas. Because you’ve concentrated your equipment purchases with a trusted vendor, he’ll be more than happy to assist you.
- Track ideas and suggestions for improvement. Track all ideas and suggestions so when it’s time to purchase new equipment, you haven’t forgotten anything.
- Calibration. It’s not the goal of this book to do calibration training. It’s important to calibrate and recalibrate your spray equipment. There are many resources available on the Internet about this topic. The key point is calibration is for a specific piece of equipment under specific settings and conditions. If anything changes, recalibrate.
- Make use of slow periods. Use slow periods for preventive maintenance and retraining. See the year-end checklist Appendix A.
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