The Merits of workshop maintenance (Part 2)
Here at The Celtic Manor Resort we keep a fairly large stock of parts to minimise down time but it can soon get out of hand if not carefully monitored, nonetheless it is essential to keep a certain amount of stock rather than working on a "just in time " basis, which would work well if only we were clairvoyant.
The result of so much servicing is large amounts of "controlled waste", oil filters, fuel filters, oil, grease cartridges, oily cloths, soak up pads and aerosols. Expand this still further with batteries, oil containers and drums, waste antifreeze, brake fluid and contaminated fuels the "controlled waste" becomes easier said than dealt with. We have an excellent company who removes all of the above items and generates the relevant paperwork to enable the correct audit trail to be maintained as legislation demands. This company also removes our waste chemical containers, gloves, spray suits and all other spraying related items, all this at a modest fixed annual cost for as many items as you need removed and as often as they need removing, I would recommend them to anyone.
Tyre disposal is one thing they don't touch and with a fleet as big as ours they are a problem. There are around 760 potential punctures/tyre changes to deal with and the spent tyres soon mount up. It is essential to sort out their disposal sooner rather than later, your local tyre distributor may well dispose of two dozen tyres without too much hassle but one hundred may be another matter.
There are obviously many other machines from various manufacturers supplying chain saws, hover mowers, spikers, slitters, rollers, groundbreakers, blowers, road sweeper, trencher and many others that make the job work. We also have 9 Massey Ferguson tractors, three of which have front bucket loaders and two of these have rear loaders. You can now see the need for a formalised commissioning process and an organised filing/recording system as I outlined previously.
There are a few distinct advantages of buying all the same make of machines: ~
1. Economy of spares i.e. five workman, eight fairway mowers and seven greens triples all have the same engine within a few horsepower. They all use the same water pump and belt, alternator and belt, hydraulic pump coupling, injectors, oil, air and fuel filters etc, etc.
2. "Borrowing" parts is very flexible.
3. Bigger discounts on machine purchases.
4. Bigger discounts on spare parts.
5. Better service from suppliers.
6. Very good technical advice from manufacturers.
7. Flexibility of cannibalising.
There are probably others that you can think of that I haven't.
Do we cannibalise machines? Yes, all the time, sometimes its expedient to "borrow" from machines that are out of service for whatever reason to keep another in service, common enough practice. Also when a machine finally dies (old age or exhaustion, it doesn't matter) it still has many useful parts that are recycled until there is nothing left but a skeleton, fit only for the skip. That is also something to keep in mind when purchasing machines, if you buy for instance, an Allen hover mower this year buy the same one next time out then you can gobble up the old one for spares when its time comes.
With in-house maintenance the life of machines can be considerably extended, for instance a Club Car utility vehicle is forecast as being at the end of its life at about five years give or take a year, we have six well into their eleventh year. But like all things "you pays your money and takes your choice", the downside of extended life is that machines are next to worthless when it comes to disposal.
Another danger (if that's the right word) is that when it comes to replacing machines and the price offered on the old one(s) is less than expected there can be a tendency to keep it/them because they would be suitable for this or that job, Then you end up with too much machinery that is little used, takes up space in an already overcrowded building and generally sits there deteriorating. The tyres go flat, its covered in dust and surrounded with stuff in for seasonal storage, the blades are rusty and anyone foolish enough to try and use it is in for a major starting problem because the battery has been fitted to another machine, the petrol is rotten and it has become worth less than the original offer. Beware.
In the next article I propose to look at Workshop Equipment and Commissioning New Machines.