Back in late July your truck started leaking oil. Just a little at first, but over the course of 15 days, it increases. You’ve started a ritual of putting oil in the truck every few days when you stop to get gas and ice in the morning. One day, while working out of town, you get a late start and put off putting oil in the truck until later that afternoon on the way back to the hotel. At 3pm your truck’s engine seizes up, and there you are on a Wednesday, in the middle of nowhere, stuck. Not only does someone have to come pick you up, but the truck has to be towed to the shop and we’ve got to find another vehicle or place you with another crew. This is what equipment neglect looks like.
While many districts got off to a late start this year due to weather constraints, our equipment has been run relentlessly since day 1 of dry weather. Whenever you notice the warning signs of needed maintenance, you say, “we’ll fix it as soon as we slow down,” or “as soon as we finish this job” or “the next time it rains.” But we get distracted by the other tasks or the weekend, or it doesn’t rain for several weeks, and suddenly there you are with majorly damaged equipment and a much higher cost of repair.
Some of the commonly neglected items can be:
A slowly leaking tire
A windshield crack in the driver’s sight line
Oil changes, for trucks and pump motors
Hose or hose fitting leaks
Old or worn out gaskets
Similar to managing when employees take breaks, vacation time or overtime, we need to manage when we have downtime due to equipment repairs. When these things aren’t managed, we incur unexpected downtime or expenses and you’re scrambling to accommodate the repair and redistribute the employees. When you plan downtime, you’re able to manage the expense and place your employees into a productive situation. Since downtime is going to occur, it’s much better to decide when it happens than when it’s decided for you.