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. Let’s continue:
For the new laundry owner who’s just learning about scheduling maintenance, distributor reps had some recommendations.
“Talk to other laundromat owners and see what they do,” suggests Michael “Stucky” Szczotka, president of Eagle Star Equipment, Troy, Michigan. “Read articles in trade magazines. Contact your local distributor for guidance. Then do it yourself for at least the first few months so you know exactly what can be done and how long it takes. If you do nothing else as far as maintenance goes, keep everything clean so when things start breaking down, a technician will have an easier time diagnosing the problem.”
“I would tell them to get to know their equipment and to follow the manufacturer’s recommended daily, weekly and monthly maintenance schedules for each piece of equipment they own,” says Terry Risner, service manager for Laundry Solutions Co., headquartered in Springfield, Missouri. “Also, I would recommend they attend distributor service schools/open houses and/or their manufacturer’s training schools.”
“Not to say each machine is different but get to know your equipment’s quirks,” Andy Wray, sales manager for ACE Commercial Laundry Equipment, Westminster, California, says. “Speak with your distributor, repairman or manufacturers for PM recommendations. Also, common sense plays a huge factor. All of the machines are running at different turns, so some of the ‘higher-volume’ machines might need more attention than others.”
“Be patient when creating a maintenance program, and do not be afraid to add more to the list,” advises Cheo Cruz, service and install manager for CLEC Distribution in Dallas. “Some tasks will require some time to complete, so do not set an expectation of time or you’ll be looking at the time and end up disappointed that it took longer than you expected. Remember, maintenance is not about speed but more about protecting your ROI.
“I always recommend splitting the store in two. That way, you can take your time going through the machines without having that feeling of dread that the other half of the store still needs to be completed before you can stop for the day.”
“New laundry owners need to understand how important preventive maintenance will be for the long term of their business,” says Trampis Kelly, service manager for SLM (Service Laundry Machinery) Corp. based in Belton, South Carolina. “The huge investment that has been made needs constant attention to operate at maximum efficiency. They need to be dedicated to a schedule, and please don’t neglect to follow through with scheduled maintenance. The safety implications alone can create huge problems for customers and staff as well as unnecessary damage to equipment.”
“Get acquainted with your equipment after you’ve opened up,” says Brandon Hoffman, who works in sales for Gold Coin Laundry Equipment, Jamaica, New York. “When something is wrong, something will tell you—you’ll hear a noise, you’ll hear a leak, you’ll hear a vibration, you’ll see water on the floor. Just be a good, all-around owner in general and just pay attention to your equipment.”
But a store owner doesn’t have to rely solely on his/her own senses to detect possible trouble. Much of the laundry equipment available today has software built in capable of tracking errors or unusual operating events. Management software can immediately notify an operator of critical errors or send reminders that maintenance is due on certain equipment.
In many cases, simple wear and tear is a predictor of impending service issues. Tracking your high-volume pieces of equipment will keep their PM needs front and center.
And while washers and dryers may naturally get the most attention when it comes to maintenance, don’t fail to keep up other store components such as laundry carts, water heaters, chemical pumps, ozone systems, changers, vending machines, drain troughs, sewer lines, vent pipes and surveillance/alarm systems.
“Just about anything in a laundry can use some maintenance attention from time to time,” Risner advises.
Miss Part 1? You can read it HERE.
In Thursday’s conclusion: Why keep maintenance records?
Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Bruce Beggs at [email protected].