The world is changing fast and so is the way we do business. Today’s business concerns, such as the drive to expand business across borders, growing demand for exportation and increasing labor costs, are forcing manufacturers to adapt quickly by seeking new ways to secure and sustain their businesses.
The first few months after new equipment is installed and commissioned are critical. To ensure optimum performance in the long run, you need to be 100% confident that your staff can safely operate and properly maintain the equipment, and that any problems will be identified and resolved in a timely manner. In partnership with your original equipment manufacturer (OEM), you should focus on two key aspects: staff training and preventive maintenance, which includes spare parts management.
If you think that your operators and maintenance staff need only one week of training to handle a new machine, consider this: Our expert service technicians receive one full year of training. And if your current equipment is older, expect a sea change in safety requirements—and a very steep learning curve.
The exact amount of initial training required depends on various factors. Here are some of the questions you should ask yourself:
- How comfortable/experienced is our staff?
- Is our staff well aware of the latest safety features and procedures?
- Is this our first automated/robotic machine?
Most importantly, do not forget to invest in train-the-trainer programs. This is often overlooked, but you will need people on-site to teach new hires and provide ongoing refresher training.
Every plant should have an annual maintenance schedule. Why? Because it will keep your equipment in tip-top condition for optimum performance. Annual preventive maintenance also reduces downtime—saving you a tremendous amount of time and money.
Make sure to check the equipment several times a year, follow the maintenance checklists, keep the operation manual right next to the equipment for easy reference, and always have a spare-parts kit on hand. (Ideally, you should purchase a spare-parts kit prior to installation.)
WHAT YOUR OEM CAN DO FOR YOU
Your OEM can help you with your new equipment in several ways.
Service agreement: Follow-up visits can be scheduled, preferably before installation. For instance, your service agreement could include the following:
Help desk: Your OEM most likely provides technical assistance. The help desk staff is there for you. If you let them know about the problems you are experiencing, they can assist you and forward your feedback to the product improvement team. They may even be able to connect to your equipment remotely to solve problems.
Your OEM’s Client Services team is dedicated to client success. Its job is to make your life easier and to help you take ownership of your equipment. Sharing information with that team and committing to proper training and maintenance will be crucial as you familiarize yourself with your new equipment.