How to choose a service technician
When you purchase a piece of equipment, it’s a major investment, and you want to ensure it lasts. As proper care greatly extends a machine’s life, selecting the right technician is an essential part of protecting your investment. The technician that services your machine can also have a much greater effect on your business than you may first think, so it’s essential you find the right support.
Here are seven factors to consider when deciding on the right technician support for your business.
1. Availability: When you are in a breakdown situation, availability is important so your machine can be back up and running sooner, reducing downtime and saving money. Smaller operations may have some issues with this, especially if there is only a single technician available. Ask what backup is available and if they are already out on a job or aren’t working for some reason. If they have a big job already, will you be waiting days before your equipment is up and running again? Consider a larger operation with multiple service technicians for maximum availability.
2. Expertise and support: An experienced technician is exposed to numerous problems with machines over their career so they’ll have seen the problem before. A good technician can make a fast and accurate diagnosis even in a complex situation. Look for a company that invests in their technicians so they can quickly make a correct diagnosis, with the backing of other experienced technicians and other support staff to help them if they need it. Extra support and experience may come at a higher hourly cost, but it means a faster job at a higher quality.
3. Facilities and tools: Where and how the machine gets serviced will help extend its life. A technician with access to a dedicated workshop can complete a service to a higher quality and has access to more tools in a better environment. Your machine is not subject to the weather or potential dangers from other onsite activities during its service. Also, consider the condition of the workshop. A Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)-backed operation has access to higher quality tools and equipment and the capability to acquire more as needed. Is the workshop a purpose-designed space, as opposed to a shed or barn? Are procedures in place to support quality work? Is the gear well maintained and clean?
4. Protection from contamination: At its heart, contamination control ensures a minimal amount of foreign contaminants enter a machine through scheduled maintenance or repair. Dust and other particles that often collect within a machine’s moving parts or hydraulic systems cause excess wear and decrease the life of the machine. This wear results in higher long term maintenance costs and more down-time and increases the potential for a serious parts failure. Ask how regularly workshops are cleaned, and if all machines are washed before entering. How do they store fluids and parts? Good practices ensure almost no external contaminants can enter your machine during its service.
5. Access to parts: During a regular service or repair, parts may need replacing to ensure the longevity of your machine. While cheaper parts are available, they, like technicians, have some drawbacks. Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts are built to a higher standard. These parts have less room for error in the manufacturing process and will be of a higher quality material backed by warranty. This quality comes at a higher upfront cost, but they will fit better, reducing wear and last longer, reducing long-term costs. OEM service providers exclusively use original parts, and there’s a higher chance of them being in stock, reducing your down time. Larger operators also have access to little-used purpose-built tools and equipment, allowing them to handle those less than common jobs faster.
6. Safety first: A good technician is aware of the safety concerns of both your machine and your site. Larger operations with dedicated workshops can service offsite, reducing the danger to the technician and removing health and safety risk from you. Employee safety is becoming more and more important today and should not be overlooked. A small operator may be cost conscious and not invest in health and safety as heavily as a larger operation, with the potential for catastrophic results if something goes wrong. Legal and insurance costs can skyrocket after an accident, and the financial risk and potential loss of reputation may not be worth the costs saved by a cheaper service.
7. What’s the best value long term? The costs versus benefit ratio is something many of us are aware of, but short-term thinking is still common. A small operation with just one technician may not be interested in long term machine care, as onsite breakdowns are their bread and butter. Inversely, a larger operator, especially one closely associated with the manufacturer, can establish a regular preventive maintenance schedule for when your machine is not in use. This reduces the chance of an onsite breakdown. These services may cost more upfront but, in a long-term scenario, your machine will have more up time, last longer, and will be less likely to fail at a critical point in a project.
At the end of the day, a good technician means different things to different people. It is up to you to choose the technician you feel is best. Just remember to ask questions about what’s important to you, as it’s your machine, and both it and your business deserve the best service you can get.