Service is Standard… Isn’t It?

8 Things to Know Before Choosing an Equipment Maintenance Plan

In today’s world, especially on the commercial side, you hear about service all the time. Every service company likes to promise the best service plans at the cheapest price. In most cases, you get what you pay for. However, that expensive equipment maintenance plan may not be the best either. So, how do you ensure that you get the best service possible to keep your operation running smoothly at the best price?

First, get several bids and compare them closely. During your search you will hear about preventative maintenance, technician response time and machine uptime (to name a few), along with some relatively new services offerings like remote monitoring. All are critical and sound great, but are you really getting the quality and response you expect for the money? For example, what’s the point of fast arrival at your facility if the technician lacks experience to repair the device or machine quickly? In some cases, “quick” or “fast” may mean the next day or longer. You paid for “preventative maintenance”, but have you ever validated what is being done during that inspection? How long did the inspection take and what exactly did the technician do?

Service Plan Checklist

When shopping for an equipment maintenance plan, here are 8 critical things to ask yourself…

  1. How close is my local technician? Is there more than one who can support my product?
  2. Do they have a response time guarantee? If so, what is it?
  3. Does this company offer 24/7 response services? Be careful here. Many say yes, but unless you pre-arrange and pay a stand-by fee you do not necessarily have access to that service. The best service companies offer 24/7 access and only charge you when that service is used.
  4. Who are the other customers? Is there anyone locally I can speak with? Get contacts and numbers to call for a reference. Most companies will happily share details on their experience.
  5. Can I get a pre-work check-off sheet? Get a copy of the Preventative Maintenance plan and review it in detail with your technician prior to doing the work. A good inspection is far more than making the machine look good, there are many calibrations to be checked and parts to be replaced.
  6. How does the service company manage parts inventory? Do they know the normal operating life of a part so they can proactively replace them before they fail? This one item can have the largest impact on machine availability and optimum performance.
  7. Does the service company offer remote monitoring? If yes, great. But can they repair a machine remotely as well?
  8. Am I buying too much service? The service company may offer “the works”, with unlimited calls, multiple inspections and covers everything in your production facility…but do you need all that? You know your production volumes and if you have a back-up machine or maybe more time to get the work completed, a more “Limited” agreement may be a better fit and can save you thousands of dollars.

Service is standard, right? Not even close. Do your homework, spend wisely and you can end up with the plan that fits your unique needs and doesn’t break the bank.

At Bell and Howell, we work with companies to create customized service plans with tenured technicians to fix unique business needs. Let us know how we can help you maximize uptime for your operation.