The Managing Director of Impact, the UK’s sole Cat® Lift Truck distributor, believes that equipment downtime in the materials handling sector could be drastically reduced if more suppliers followed its example and implemented proactive maintenance programmes for their customers.
Terry Kendrew says service teams working from Impact’s 11 branches across the country take pains to develop tailored maintenance schedules for every customer, which in turn ensures maximum uptime with minimum fuss.
Engineers aim to visit customers outside of their peak times wherever possible – such as in the late afternoon or early morning – to carry out regular preventative maintenance on Impact-supplied and maintained equipment. Once on-site, the engineers work hard to spot potential issues before they develop into breakdowns, minimising instances of customers making distress calls when a forklift grinds to a halt mid-shift.
In contrast, Kendrew believes too many in the materials handling equipment industry are focused on keeping factories fed with new truck orders, rather than helping customers get the maximum performance out of their current fleets.
“When it comes to maintenance, we at Impact know that the best type of engineer is the one that focuses on prevention rather than cure,” he says.
Referring to Impact’s proactive maintenance programme, Kendrew says the benefits of such an approach quickly become clear: “Less downtime means improved productivity; improved productivity can mean a smaller, more efficient fleet – and that all adds up to cost savings.”
He adds: “We want our customers to get maximum value out of every single piece of kit they operate, and that leads us to place aftermarket support, quality technical assistance and proactive maintenance at the very heart of our client relationships. The high build quality of Impact’s various products – from Cat® lift trucks to Konecranes to JLG scissor lifts, and many others besides – means the equipment responds well to a proactive maintenance programme, cutting downtime to an absolute minimum.
“This streamlined approach pays dividends for all involved, as our customers’ business is our business. It’s not about sales figures, but ensuring excellent through-life support and a close working relationship built on understanding our customers’ individual business needs, and adapting our service provision to suit.”
However, despite Impact’s forward-thinking approach to maintenance, Kendrew is quick to reaffirm the company’s round-the-clock commitment to customer support: “Proactive maintenance aside, we’re always alert for emergency call-outs, 24/7. We guarantee to be on-site within four hours of a call – although our average response time is usually two hours or less – and we aim to improve this all the time.
“That said, our ultimate goal will always be to make emergency call-outs the exception, rather than the rule – and our proactive maintenance programmes are helping us towards that goal. Prevention is, after all, better than cure.”