CHICAGO — Performing certain daily, monthly and yearly tasks can prolong the life of your laundromat’s equipment, thereby keeping your customers happy. But there are a couple aspects to a preventive maintenance (PM) program aside from the work itself that can, as they say, “make or break it.”
Scheduling those PM tasks—determining future dates/times to perform certain work like cleaning out machine components or replacing wearable parts—can help ensure this critical labor is done and equipment continues to operate like it’s supposed to.
Tracking the work—logging the chores that are performed and when—can help a laundromat’s staff chart a piece of equipment’s useful life and maybe even anticipate when it will need to be replaced.
American Coin-Op sought the input of several equipment distributor representatives from across the country about the importance and benefits of scheduling and tracking PM work. Part 1 addressed the makings of a good program, while Part 2 offered some recommendations for the new laundry owner just learning about scheduling maintenance. Let’s wrap things up:
WHY KEEP PM RECORDS?
Performing the recommended and needed tasks is at the heart of any PM program but keeping track of the work that’s been done carries its own importance.
“So you always know what has been done and when, and what needs to be done and when,” Bob Macauley, service manager for Curtis Equipment, Lowell, Michigan, says matter-of-factly.
“It is very important to keep records for a number of reasons,” asserts Trampis Kelly, service manager for SLM (Service Laundry Machinery) Corp. based in Belton, South Carolina. “One being, it proves you are maintaining equipment in regards to warranty issues. Other reasons being it shows the staff and customers you are serious about safety concerns, and it will also be proof to fire inspectors and insurance companies in the event of an accident.”
“Logging maintenance issues is important because it helps better understand which areas of the store (are) having issues and what each machine is costing you in maintenance,” says Michael “Stucky” Szczotka, president of Eagle Star Equipment, Troy, Michigan. “At some point in a machine’s life … it makes more financial sense to replace it with new equipment. Tracking maintenance tasks is also important to see if there is a recurring problem on a piece of equipment.”
“Not only does it limit the headaches, but also keeps machines running in optimal fashion,” says Andy Wray, sales manager for ACE Commercial Laundry Equipment, Westminster, California. “They run efficiently and cut utilities to make the owner more and more (money) each load. Just like a car being serviced, so should each component of (your) laundromat.”
“A laundry machine is an investment that you have committed to, for you to see a return on your investment, you need to keep it maintained,” Cheo Cruz, service and install manager for CLEC Distribution in Dallas, says. “By tracking the maintenance on your machines, you are.”
“If you ever want to sell that store, just like an automobile that has a maintenance record, you’re going to be able to command a higher resell price,” adds Brandon Hoffman, who works in sales for Gold Coin Laundry Equipment, Jamaica, New York.
There are equipment systems and management software available that allow operators to set maintenance reminders and to track completed work. In some cases, software can be configured to send reports to a distributor for analysis. Apart from laundry-specific systems, there are many online spreadsheets and calendars available to schedule and document PM efforts.
“Yes, there are so many programs available that are computer- or app-based and can help you schedule and keep track of the maintenance completed on your machines,” Cruz says. “Just be sure to do some research on them first to see if they fit what you are trying to accomplish.”
For a more basic approach, you can always keep notes using your smart phone. Or, if you’re not tech-savvy, use pen and paper to record your maintenance efforts in a notebook. Whatever tool you use, just be sure to keep your records organized by date and accessible.
PARTING PM THOUGHTS
However you choose to go about it, performing PM will benefit your business in a variety of ways. Scheduling and tracking your efforts will help you and your staff stay the course.
“Patience is the main key that I tell owners,” says Cruz. “If you try to do too much at one time, then you will be less enthusiastic about doing it again the next week, month, or year. If you need help, please reach out to your local distributor; we are always more than happy to help you with scheduling, suggestions, and training for you and your staff.”
“Stress to (your) staff how important these tasks are to operate a safe and productive business,” Kelly says. “Be diligent in following through with your maintenance plan. Understand that when things are not maintained properly, customers notice and will go elsewhere.”
“A good preventative maintenance program is a sign that the owner takes a lot of pride in their facility,” says Szczotka. “Instead of letting soap boxes build up with dried chemicals, it gets cleaned. Little things like this are noticed by customers. A good program will help you budget for the future high-dollar maintenance costs.”
“Pay attention to your equipment. It’s like anything else in life,” advises Hoffman. “The more you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it. If you take the time to keep your stuff good, then it will treat you better. You’ll have a better product if you want to sell the store. And you’ll have a more profitable laundry if you just get ahead of problems before a small one becomes a large one.”
“Eighty percent of the operators out there do the bare minimum,” asserts Wray, “so anything you can do to get moving forward will help your store (in the) long term.”
Miss earlier parts of this article? You can read them here: Part 1 — Part 2
Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Bruce Beggs at [email protected].