Make the most of your people and you’ll make the most from your machines
Supposing you were told that you could add significant value to your business using no more than some simple psychology? Would you say (and I have been told by some people) that the idea was nuts, if it was suggested that any business for which mechanical equipment use is a critical part of their operations could:
- Extend machine lifetime from 5 to 7 years with no increase in unplanned repairs or repair costs.
- Reduce actual repair and service costs by up to 20%.
- Improve uptime by up to 5% by reducing downtime through unplanned maintenance.
- Have the same residual value after 7 years as current 5 year-old machinery.
When it comes to prolonging the useful lifetime of mechanical equipment, what would you say makes the most difference? Attention to servicing? Regular inspection? Ensuring essential fluids are kept topped up to recommended levels? Prompt repairs? All of the above?
In my experience the difference is more about operations than maintenance. Specifically, and data tends to back this up, that a skilled operator can not only extend the lifecycle of machinery, but also help to increase its residual value when it comes to resale.
An interesting insight, revealed by our analytics team and based on data collected by our telematics technology, tells us that machines operated at overload will break. OK, you don’t really need a data scientist to tell you that. However, the earlier in the lifecycle that overload situations occur, the faster that abnormal wear is accumulated. Greatly increasing the risk of downtime and lost production.
One of the great advantages that telematics can deliver is a real-time digital record of the way any piece of equipment is operated and maintained. What’s more, that record of service can be at your fingertips throughout the working day. If you wanted, at any time you could take that evidence and use it as a stick to beat operators into treating machinery with a bit more care.
But here are three things to consider: Firstly, as highlighted in Using equipment data to change operator behaviors , operators aren’t that concerned about company profits. In other words, it doesn’t really matter to them if the powers that be don’t maximize the value of the equipment under their control – during its working life or when it gets sold on.
Secondly, nobody likes the stick. It’s not a civilized or modern way of treating staff – it’s bad for morale, it doesn’t breed good relations and it’s not sustainable. It’s not likely to produce the improved outcomes desired in the long term – and we must never forget that people leave bad bosses, not bad companies.
Thirdly, our interviews with operators consistently highlight the professional pride these guys have in their skills with the machinery at their fingertips. And it’s this unique aspect of user psychology which we’re going to tap into in order to promote positive behavioral change and reduce equipment abuse.
Of course, that’s great for the machine owner or rental company, but we want it to be equally beneficial for the operator. I’m going to talk through the rewards and how we achieve them in my next blog, but I hope you’ll already agree there are potentially some great returns for all parties when we substitute bragging rights for the naughty step.