Service manager 101: Are you prioritizing preventive maintenance?

Machines are getting more complex and service organizations are feeling the pressure to monitor and keep their customers’ equipment up and running. Establishing a preventive maintenance program is now becoming a necessity.
By Emily Poklar March 15, 2016

Machines are getting more complex and service organizations are feeling the pressure to monitor and keep their customers’ equipment up and running. Establishing a preventive maintenance program is now becoming a necessity. Courtesy: MSI DataMachines are getting more complex and service organizations are feeling the pressure to monitor and keep their customers’ equipment up and running. Establishing a preventive maintenance program is now becoming a necessity.

Customers continue to expect more from their service organizations and equipment purchases, demanding service expertise and a partner that will help maintain their equipment’s peak performance. For service organizations, this means expanding beyond a break-fix schedule and creating a recurring Preventive Maintenance program that secures revenue streams and improves customer relationships.

What is preventive maintenance?

Preventive Maintenance is defined as regularly performed maintenance on a piece of equipment to lessen the likelihood of it breaking or failing. These visits are scheduled in advance while the equipment is still working with the hopes of preventing any future breaks from happening.

A PM program helps maximize machine longevity and reliability, rather than making repairs when a machine breaks down, by helping to predict problems before they occur.

The benefits

As a service organization, selling preventive maintenance contracts gives you a leg up beyond break/fix and makes your business more secure. Here are some of the specific benefits that illustrate how much your service business could be saving.

1. Increase in cost savings

After you’ve created your preventive maintenance contracts, the next step is scheduling annual inspections. By placing these visits in the scheduling queue in advance, your service organization will save 5 minutes per scheduled occurrence. Depending on how many visits you make in a year, this quickly adds up.

2. Builds stronger customer relationships

Service organizations are building stronger relationships with customers when they have regular contact through maintenance visits. Largely, this is because they are the most educated about their customer’s equipment and because your organization will be able to predict problems before they occur. Your customers will no longer worry about their equipment breaking because they’ll trust their new and improved service experience.

3. Increase in overall revenue

The more long-term service contracts you sell, the more secure your revenue streams become. And since service contracts build stronger customer relationships, customers are more likely to upgrade or re-sign a contract.They’re also more likely to come to you with equipment concerns that fall outside of their contract.

While there are upfront costs for implementing a preventive maintenance program, it will reduce maintenance costs over the lifecycle of your equipment. Clearly, this guarantees a healthy, continual return on investment (ROI). All together, these benefits add up to an increase in revenue for your organization.

The beginning steps in establishing a PM program

Here are some of the first steps to get you started on the path to a systematic PM business model.

1. Designate technicians as sales people

To establish a consistent PM program, you need to sell contracts. And, who better to sell your services than the service team itself? When they’re in the field to install equipment or respond to a break-fix call, equip your technicians with the information they’ll need to sell a service contract on site.

2. Schedule yearly service checks

After PM contracts have been signed, the next crucial step is scheduling yearly service checks in advance. An all-in-one field service suite gives your back-office workers the tools they need to schedule maintenance visits in advance and the mobile tools your technicians need to see service history and equipment details, what’s covered under warranty or contract, and scheduling alerts.

3. Use data from IoT sensors to automate PMs

Traditionally, PM schedules have been established based on set time intervals. For example, you might change the filter in the industrial heater every 3 months. With IoT sensors and new access to machine data, service businesses can set up parameters that trigger alerts and organize PM visits around when the equipment needs it.

Conclusion—provide better service by adopting a PM strategy today

As customers continue to expect additional benefits and lasting relationships with their dealers, more service businesses are supplementing existing break-fix schedules with ongoing PM programs. Now, customers are building stronger relationships with their service organizations who serve as trusted advisors rather than just someone they call in an emergency.

– Emily Poklar is a content marketing intern at MSI Data. This article originally appeared on www.msidata.com. MSI Data is a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Erin Dunne, production coordinator, CFE Media, edunne@cfemedia.com