If there are two things in this world that complement each other perfectly, it’s a system and a regular service agreement to ensure optimal operation, writes GARETH WILLIAMS.
It’s a well-known fact that anything with moving parts will wear out. Eventually. It’s the nature of the beast. Whether it be your car, your vacuum cleaner or even your poor old skeleton – the bits that do the moving and operating will one day seize up, begin to malfunction or simply give up the ghost and stop working altogether.
And the more often something is used, the sooner it’s going to need replacing or at the very least rejuvenating. Equipment or fixtures and fittings installed in a bustling workplace can be in use hundreds or even thousands of times a day. And how inconvenient would it be if that piece of equipment picked the busiest moment of the working day to break down?
Imagine the line of weary workers lining up to grab some hot water from the office boiling and chilled water filtration system to make themselves a reviving four o’clock cuppa when, pffft, the H2O totally dries up. Or the system just gets so clogged that the water is dribbling out slower than an elderly three-toed sloth reluctantly heading off to his local dentist for a root canal.
Yes, it doesn’t bear thinking about. Workers of both the blue- and white-collar variety are notoriously unforgiving when they don’t get what they’ve been promised.
They’ll have been assured that the installation of a filtration system would save them precious minutes in the kitchenette, with instant boiling water on demand and no need to hang around hopping from one foot to the other waiting for a kettle to boil. And then the system doesn’t deliver? Hmm, hell hath no fury like a data analyst deprived of their daily Darjeeling.
Keeping you regular
This is all a long-winded introduction to the idea that regular servicing of your appliances and systems is not only sensible, but pretty much de rigueur.
The best products will come with the option of a service agreement attached and, as national technician team leader, on a daily basis I see firsthand the benefits of signing up to one.
Such benefits include:
- fast attendance to reduce downtime of equipment
- a guarantee of priority service
- reduced costs
- preventative maintenance to ensure trouble-free operation
- the reassurance that only accredited service technicians will service the systems
- discounted rates for filter changes
- easy annual payments
- maintenance of optimal water quality and unit performance, and
- an Australia-wide network of trained technicians and service agents.
Conversely, I also see the issues that may arise for those who don’t have their equipment serviced regularly. And those possible pitfalls include:
- increased downtime waiting for attendance
- increased ad hoc costs, and
- increased risk of major breakdown through lack of maintenance.
The most common problems our technicians encounter in their call-outs are filter changes (in order to avoid those sloth-like snafus referred
to above) and also replacing the parts that have moving components and have become subject to wear and tear.
Another issue we come across regularly stems from customer interference with units. It can be problematic when a well-meaning, but uninformed person attempts to ‘fix’ an issue themselves, which can lead to exacerbating the problem rather than solving it. It should be noted, however, that such issues are usually easily overcome and can be prevented in the future with a little bit of basic training on-site.
Why you should pick and stick
The manufacturer of the unit will always be the expert. Alongside their technical expertise, they will carry the most complete van stock possible to ensure first time fix rates exceed client expectations. This means that customers can have total confidence once a service agreement is in place.
Of course, it is possible to operate on an ad hoc basis, waiting until problems arise and then shopping around for a technician available on the day, but a regular agreement between the customer and its original supplier means peace of mind. It ensures:
- simplification of call bookings
- knowledge of unit locations and access requirements along with any health and safety requirements for the site
- familiarity with any potential issues based on previous maintenance experience
- quicker diagnosis and troubleshooting of issues, and
- preventative maintenance for known issues.
Dependent on the time of year and our workload, our technicians can attend anything from six to 10 service calls per day. The tasks range from installing and servicing equipment to diagnosing issues and repairing the units. We see numerous different people and spend time interacting with clients as the face of the company. We also see some less than satisfactory repair or maintenance work that has been carried out by less qualified technicians. We know that reputation equals reassurance.
Given the nature of our industry the technicians within it are drawn from a wide variety of backgrounds and experience. These are generally related to plumbing, electrical maintenance or appliance repair and maintenance. But the most reputable companies will ensure that all of its technicians go through an intensive training program to become familiar with the units the company produces and the common issues that may arise. This allows technicians to easily diagnose and repair units quickly.
The final advice is simple: any facility or property manager keen to dodge disgruntled Darjeeling devotees or Lapsong lovers should sign up to a service plan to ensure that their equipment is regularly serviced and maintained, so that major issues can be pre-empted and avoided before they arise. Easy! ●
Gareth Williams is the national technician team leader at Billi.
This article also appears in the December/January issue of FM magazine.
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