Facility Maintenance Planning is Essential in 2022
Managers of industrial facilities, warehouses, and distribution centres have a lot to consider these days: From long equipment lead times and supply issues to everyday concerns around efficiency, safety, and energy costs. These modern challenges are affecting industries of all kinds and creating new administrative, logistical, and personnel issues.
At Lenworth, we do everything we can to both understand the challenges facing facility managers and respond to them effectively. It’s our mission to provide our customers with the best advice, information, and service we can. With that in mind, we sat down with Patrick Wilson, Lenworth’s Vice President of Marketing & Sales to get his perspective on the challenges facing the industry and how facility managers can rise to meet them.
Currently, what are the biggest challenges facility managers face when upgrading equipment around their facility/loading dock?
Patrick: Long lead times on new equipment installations and replacements have been an issue for years in our industry, but they have become more of a problem throughout the pandemic. As timelines for these service calls stretch out, it just becomes harder for facilities to maintain a normal workflow. Disruptions can also arise during the installation process. For us, it becomes a question of how we can minimize downtime or disruptions to their operations during equipment installation.
Finally, there’s the challenge of understanding and selecting the equipment that will work best for their application. Outside of just choosing equipment that will perform consistently, are they selecting equipment that can help them find more efficiency, unlock more productivity and improve safety standards? This is why product education is so important to us during our conversations with customers.
In talking with customers, what concerns do they have about their facilities?
Patrick: Reducing the downtime associated with equipment maintenance or repairs is top-of-mind for a lot of the facility managers we speak with. That’s why one-call completions and response times are so important to us: we arrive at every service call with the intention of addressing the problem the first time.
Reducing energy consumption and improving employee safety around the loading dock are other concerns that often come up, and for good reason: accidents and energy waste are both very common around loading docks. Ultimately, these are issues we try to address through honest, detailed facility assessments, good product education, and sound product recommendations.
How long are lead times for dock and door equipment in the industry right now?
Patrick: This varies by product. It’s very common right now to see 24-28 weeks on average for loading dock levelers. Overhead doors can be anywhere from 12-14 weeks and the same can be said for loading dock seals. No matter how you look at it, it’s definitely a challenge for facilities to get the products and equipment they need on time.
How is Lenworth working to reduce lead times?
Patrick: We are taking a two-pronged approach here at the moment:
1. Stocking as much common-sized equipment as possible at our warehouse. An example of this is loading dock levelers — we have mechanical and hydraulic models on hand and ready to deliver.
2. For products and equipment that must be installed to certain specifications, we build productive partnerships with manufacturers that offer industry-leading lead times. Currently, with overhead doors and rolling steel doors, we are able to offer 6-week lead times for our customers.
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How can facility managers better plan ahead when it comes to facility maintenance?
Patrick: By taking a proactive, scheduled approach to preventative maintenance. The more regularly you have your equipment inspected, the better you will be able to plan ahead and order any new equipment before it fails. Plus, by completing routine inspections, you’ll be able to extend the life of your equipment.
This is why we offer our Preferred Service Program (PSP) to our customers. We help them mitigate risk by performing routine maintenance inspections to ensure that everything is in proper working order. If anything isn’t, the PSP membership helps our customers take advantage of reduced service costs and guaranteed 4-hour service response times.
How often should facility managers have their dock and door equipment inspected and serviced?
Patrick: This is highly dependent on how often the equipment gets used. That said, we typically recommend at least two times per year for single shift applications and four times per year for 24/5 or 24/7 applications.
In your experience, where/when do facilities run into the most equipment issues?
Patrick: It’s very common to see facilities run into issues due to poor equipment selection. Regardless of whether the equipment is undersized or simply ill-suited for the application, poorly-selected equipment is bound to fail prematurely.
A common example of this is dock levelers with undersized capacities that are being used in heavy load applications. Facilities will also run into problems when they don’t make routine maintenance enough of a priority. Without preventative maintenance, minor issues can turn into major ones faster than a lot of facilities expect.
What is the most important part of preventative maintenance?
Patrick: That it’s done thoroughly and consistently enough to extend the life of your equipment and identify any issues. This means systematically committing to inspection, minor adjustments, lubrication, cleaning, and performance testing each and every time.
Ready to Commit to Preventative Maintenance in Your Facility?
We believe in providing our customers and clients with the best services possible no matter the situation. If you have more questions about our preventative maintenance services, product line, or our PSP, contact one of our representatives today!
As the VP of Sales & Marketing, Spencer is an energetic and company-oriented manager that places an emphasis on continuous organizational improvement. Spencer's acute focus on building a customer-centric business drives his team to consistently go above and beyond customers' expectations. At Lenworth, Spencer places the customer as the focal point of all decisions.
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