SEATTLE, March 10, 2010: The new Spectrum(TM) Equipment Service System from construction software developer Dexter + Chaney (
www.dexterchaney.com) offers “preventive maintenance by the numbers.” It captures equipment hours each day—both operating and idle hours—and updates the preventive maintenance schedule for individual pieces of equipment. It thus removes the guesswork (and resulting inaccuracies) from the all-important maintenance function.
“By gathering equipment hours electronically, Spectrum Equipment Service System ( http://www.dexterchaney.com/spectrum/ess/index.aspx) ensures that the company has timely, accurate equipment information,” explained John Chaney, Dexter + Chaney president and co-founder. “A preventive maintenance schedule is only as good as the information that’s entered into it, since PM’s are driven by equipment hours. With Equipment Service System, a company can maintain a ‘just-in-time’ preventive maintenance program that keeps equipment on the job and spends maintenance dollars wisely.”
Equipment Service System offers a significant upgrade to the familiar methods of scheduling and tracking preventive maintenance: the “sticker system” and/or maintaining a stand-alone preventive maintenance system.
“A sticker mounted on a piece of equipment certainly lets the contractor know when the last PM—an oil change, for example—was performed and when the next one is due,” Chaney said. “But, because it’s a manual system, it’s easy for information—like mileage and the date that the service was performed—to ‘slip through the cracks.’ Perhaps the maintenance information is not entered on the sticker, and thus PM’s aren’t performed in the correct intervals. Or perhaps the sticker is lost or destroyed.
“But maybe the biggest weakness is that there’s no visibility to that sticker to the main office. Company ownership and management—the people with the greatest interest in that equipment running efficiently and profitably—can’t be certain that the PM’s are being performed on a timely basis.”
A stand-alone preventive maintenance system also has its drawbacks, Chaney explained.
“Whether project managers are tracking hours in a series of spreadsheets or an actual preventive maintenance system, those hours need to be re-entered in the office in order to keep track of the maintenance schedule,” Chaney explained. “The weakness there, of course, is two-fold: those hours must be gathered accurately in the field, and then that information needs to be entered—also without error—into the office system. If a contractor has many pieces of equipment, that’s a significant task.
“There’s also the all-important timing issue,” Chaney added. “If we’re just gathering hours periodically in the field, how does that help us keep current on our maintenance? We’ve got equipment that’s working hard every day in tough conditions, but by capturing that information in the field and then updating the schedule on a periodic basis, it can take days or even weeks before those hours are entered into the system in the office. Thus, by the time that we know that a PM needs to be performed, it’s already overdue.”
SPECTRUM EQUIPMENT SERVICE SYSTEM
Spectrum Equipment Service System addresses those issues head-on. It automatically relays equipment hours, fuel usage, maintenance and other data to Dexter + Chaney’s Spectrum(R) Construction Software. That gives the company easy access to equipment-related information in Spectrum for improved equipment costing and management.
“With Spectrum and Equipment Service System, the company gathers those hours daily—electronically, consistently and automatically,” Chaney said. “There’s no extra data to enter into a preventive maintenance system; instead, that data is automatically in the system and the maintenance schedule is also incremented automatically. There’s no need to call the field to ask about the current meter reading on a piece of equipment, and then update the maintenance schedule.
“Instead, everyone with access to the PM schedule—that includes field and office personnel and project managers—can see the hours that the equipment has worked and when maintenance is required. That ensures that PM’s can be performed right on time—not too early, and not too late.”
That data is helpful for project managers, who can identify when equipment will be out of service and thus plan accordingly. It also assists with scheduling maintenance with an outside vendor.
Chaney noted that Equipment Service System helps the company take advantage of its warranties, in two ways: by scheduling maintenance according to the warranty schedule and performing repairs that may be covered under the warranty before it expires. “It would be a tragedy to have a warranty expire on a piece of equipment, only to realize later that there are two or three repairs that the contractor has to pay for simply because the company didn’t bring them to the manufacturer’s attention in time,” said Chaney. “Equipment Service System eliminates that worry.”
Spectrum Equipment Service System includes three main components: Equipment Monitor, Field Master touch screen device and Fuel Controller. The Field Master—hand-held or mounted in a fuel/service truck—electronically collects data from each piece of heavy equipment via wireless RF signal. Field personnel can see the updated maintenance schedule in the Field Master, helping ensure PM’s are performed as they’re due. Alerts also provide a reminder.
“With the Field Master, technicians have the information right in front of them—they don’t have to search for a little paper form or bring a report from the office,” said Chaney. “After the technician performs an oil change or other PM, they record it using the Field Master’s touch screen. Everyone who needs to know—in the field and in the office—can see the automatically updated schedule, including the PM that was performed, who did it and the meter reading on the equipment.”
Equipment Service System captures equipment idle time as well as operating time. That helps the company schedule PM’s efficiently, by delineating between equipment hours that are spent idling and those hours where the equipment is doing the actual “heavy lifting”—literally and figuratively.
‘BY THE NUMBERS’
It’s not news that—in tight times like these—saving money wherever you can is one key to staying afloat. Scheduling and performing preventive maintenance at the optimum time is one method to “do more with less” as contractors face ever-lengthening bid lists. Spectrum Equipment Service System, in simplest terms, really does provide “maintenance by the numbers.”
“It gives a contractor confidence in the accuracy of their equipment hours and the accuracy of recording preventive maintenance as it’s performed,” Chaney said. “That ensures that you don’t perform maintenance too soon, which wastes money—or too late, which can lead to expensive breakdowns. Instead, doing maintenance ‘by the numbers’ ensures that you perform maintenance on time, and that the next PM on that equipment will also be on time.
“That approach can lead directly to the best kind of numbers: large, black ones on the company’s bottom line.”
ABOUT DEXTER + CHANEY
More than 1,000 construction companies throughout the United States use Dexter + Chaney’s Spectrum(R) Construction Software. Spectrum includes 28 integrated modules that handle project management, construction accounting, equipment management, human resources, document imaging, service management, remote connectivity and data sharing tasks. Contractors who use Spectrum report they have improved profitability and have grown their businesses more than 300 percent without adding financial staff.
More than 10,000 total users make use of Spectrum’s Document Imaging software, which addresses a typically painful problem for construction contractors: giving management, office staff and project managers the fast, electronic access they need to important documents like contracts, change orders, time cards, invoices and others.
For more information about Dexter + Chaney or Spectrum, contact Brad Mathews, Vice President of Marketing, Dexter + Chaney, 9700 Lake City Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115-2347; phone: 800-875-1400 or 206-364-1400; fax: 206-367-9613; e-mail: Email Contact; http://www.dexterchaney.com.
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