"A key item that can not only make a mechanic more productive but also save him some pains of getting on his hands and knees to fix a piece of equipment is the use of lift tables," notes Justin Mehringer, marketing coordinator at Stens Corp. "Lift tables can bring the machines to eye level so the mechanic doesn't have to get on the ground or bend over to work on the equipment, saving time and energy, which makes him more efficient."
One of the most important tasks your service department performs on a daily basis is lubrication. The best tool for ensuring proper lubrication is an air-powered grease gun. These tools, powered by your shop's air, inject grease into fittings under a large amount of pressure, making a difficult job a lot easier - and ensuring the lubrication of critical parts.
These guns are not inexpensive, but there are oil and grease distributors who will provide one for no charge, provided you buy your grease from them. If that's not an option, expect to pay over $1,000 for a good quality system.
The types of safety equipment needed might vary from shop to shop, but there are a few constants. Each employee in your repair division should have a pair of safety glasses, hearing protection, good quality work gloves and, for additional protection, face shields and guards should be used with grinders and sanders.
A word about safety glasses - most employees only wear them when grinding or hammering. The fact is, there are several solvents, cleaners and other chemicals in use in the repair shop every day that can injure the eyes. Safety glasses should be used when checking for hydraulic or other fluid leaks, when working around batteries, using parts cleaners or working under any piece of equipment.
Equipment that is being repaired should be tagged, but in addition, any sort of equipment that has a safety problem should be labeled and locked out. Accidents will happen, despite your best efforts to avoid them. As a result, you should have a comprehensive first aid kit on hand, as well as employees properly trained in first aid.
It goes without saying that customers should not be allowed in the shop area unless they're accompanied by an employee. Allowing customers to wander through your shop is opening yourself to liability if anything should happen. Posting signs is one way to prevent this problem. If possible, your service department should be separated from your rental and retail counter.
Service departments can be a bit difficult to set up, but after all, they are the mortar that holds a rental business together. By taking steps to make yours safer and more efficient, you'll be able to provide service with a smile.