ERIC: Kurt, why do we spend so much time on equipment maintenance? It’s taking the techs out of the field when they could be getting production done. What can really go wrong, if they treat their stuff right?
KURT: Oh Eric, you really don’t understand the operations side, do you?
ERIC: Of course I do. We need to get more production done. We have backup equipment if they need it.
KURT: Do you realize how much time it takes when equipment gets broken, and then all of a sudden a tech can’t get the job done?
ERIC: I would imagine it would be a good bit of time, especially if they aren’t close to the office. But can’t their supervisor meet them out there with a new piece of equipment? I mean, how often does that really happen?
KURT: Think about it this way: If you don’t do routine maintenance, like an oil change on your car, it won’t work anymore, will it?
ERIC: But we are talking about backpacks, compressed air sprayers, aerosol delivery systems, dust sticks, bulb dusters and augers. They should be built to last, right? I mean, it’s not that complex of equipment.
KURT: See, you just proved yourself wrong. You said it isn’t that complex of equipment. So the benefits of taking a little bit of time and cleaning and lubing up your equipment will save a lot of time vs. how much time it takes to do routine maintenance.
ERIC: Fine. But why can’t techs just switch their equipment out once a month with the warehouse manager, and have him do it? I remember dreading taking my backpack apart when I was a tech; it was such a process. Why not have someone who’s an expert at it whip through them so we know they are done right? It gets back to my point of not pulling the techs out of the field more than we need to.
KURT: That’s a good idea, actually. But our warehouse manager doesn’t have time to perform routine maintenance on everyone’s equipment. He already has plenty to do with tracking inventory, issuing product and managing the fleet. Also, back when you and I were techs, we had different backpacks that were very hard to take apart — I will give you that. But you need to get out of your office-and-sales mindset and go look at the backpacks we have now. The time it takes to perform routine maintenance on them is very little.
ERIC: Hey, come on now… OK, I’m going to look.
Brothers Eric and Kurt Scherzinger are vice president of sales and marketing and vice president of operations, respectively, for Scherzinger Termite & Pest Control, Cincinnati. The fourth-generation pest management professionals can be reached at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.