Maximizing Maintenance

Today?s software providers want to help you keep your equipment running better and longer

In today's economy, equipment maintenance can be your saving grace. Let's face it, when you can't afford to buy new, you need to keep what you have running longer.

We asked several leading rental management software providers what they have to offer rental business owners to assist them with managing maintenance. Here's what they had to say:

Steve Milcik - Orion Software - Most of the more established rental management solutions offer some kind of maintenance functions as a standard part of their software. Some, like Sirius Pro, have a more robust and complete maintenance program built into the software, as well as offering an optional preventive maintenance module. In the standard package, a client is able to manage each item by serial number, put it into maintenance, assign the internal work order, draw parts from inventory or order them from suppliers and assign staff to complete repairs. All of these actions are kept in history, and then reflect on the value of the item in terms of depreciation and ROI.

When the preventive maintenance module is added, a client can then schedule future maintenance for inventory. For example, if a generator needs to have an inspection, cleaning and oil change every 300 hours of use, Sirius Pro will track the usage of that item, and alert the user when it is time to perform this scheduled maintenance.

Bob Shaffer - Point-of-Rental Systems - Any equipment rental store has both remedial and preventive maintenance needs. Point-of-Rental Systems has recently enhanced its preventive maintenance cycles from four to 10 and added all the fields required to meet the new CARB emission requirements. Rental management software not only needs to flag when preventive maintenance is required or approaching that point, but it should be able to store maintenance instructions, including parts and fluids required for each cycle. Some systems can store and display "how to do it"videos to show the technicians how to properly perform maintenance and repairs. For potential liability and for evaluation purposes, free-form technician comments should be stored. Equipment in for maintenance should be unavailable for rent for at least some estimated period and there should be a method to assign repair costs that affect the ROI of that item.

Jack Shea - Solutions by Computer - The thing to remember about automating maintenance processes for rental inventory is that efficiency has a direct tie to equipment availability, and therefore to revenue. If you cut days or even hours off a machine's turnaround time in the shop, you will extend the revenue-producing capacity of that machine or that category without further capital investment. In addition, planned maintenance is much less costly than fixing breakdowns.

Solutions systems offer work order programs that keep track of preventive maintenance scheduling based on four metrics that make sense for the rental business: elapsed days since maintenance task was last done, number of rentals, number of rental hours and meter reading. When a maintenance task is completed, the clocks are reset. Our systems also track future availability of rental inventory items based on anticipated maintenance completion dates and times.

When a maintenance task is scheduled, Solutions work order software identifies the specific part number for each part that should be used. The system also calculates the cost of the mechanic's time posted to the job, and can be set to optionally charge for the "book" time. To avoid delays in maintenance, we offer purchase order software that flags low inventory for parts stock and recommends reorders based on seasonal usage trends. This minimizes extended downtime in the shop, waiting for parts to arrive.

Mike Stilwagner - Wynne Systems - Today's rental software programs offer scheduled maintenance steps for returning equipment. This maximizes turnaround times while tracking maintenance and usage cost of equipment for evaluation purposes. Systems also offer preventive maintenance work orders, decreasing downtime and minimizing future breakdowns). Also available are repair work orders that streamline for faster, more accurate repairs. This increases time utilization within your fleet and also maximizes mechanic time utilization. Lastly, telemetric information provides hours and location of deployed equipment that is due for service, maximizing profitability and reducing future repair cost. Telemetrics to get location of service vehicles with a value-add of faster, more efficient service calls increases customer service confidence and repeat business.