Part Of The Productivity Equation

Graham Vicary is the Group Service Manager for B&T Plant Hire, responsible for keeping its fleet of 350 Cat ® units in full working order for its large client base across the South East of England.

As part of his role, Graham has been instrumental in developing the service and maintenance strategy for the business, with a clear focus on cost and machine uptime.

With the businesses recent transition to the new online parts store, Finning News caught up with Graham to find out more.

Graham: “In order to achieve the high levels of uptime and availability of Cat plant that our customers expect, we have developed a two tier strategic approach to our repair maintenance and service operation.

“Using, our in-house team manages the availability of our less than 8 tonne fleet, with Finning looking after the rest of our equipment, mainly through its local Ashford branch and mobile engineering team.

“In practical terms, this means that no matter where our service engineers are, they can login to our online parts account using a smart phone, tablet or PC and order the parts they need for the next day.

“Because we have a number of different Cat machines we look after, one of the best functions of is the ability for us to setup details of each unit on the system. This makes finding the right parts much quicker and because we have an order history, we can just use the repeat order function.

“Equally, for team members that use the system on a daily basis, they often use the in-built parts identification tool. This makes searching for the correct part much simpler and avoids any errors.

Similarly with parts that we order more often, the team can now just use the search function to get straight to the part and order it.

“As with any plant hire business, we also get periods where we know a lot of kit will be coming back from a large job, which allows us to better plan regular servicing in one batch.

By building up our parts order online in advance, even if the hire is extended, we can save and delay the order, without having to start the process all over again.

“Generally, because members of our team pass the Finning branch on the way to our workshop facility, we often opt for the click and collect service, as the branch opens at 7.30am in the morning.

 Using this option is very convenient and also gives us the chance to check on any larger machines that are being looked after by the team.

“There are however times when we want parts to be delivered to different locations, so having this option available at the point of ordering can be very useful.

“Because we keep our larger fleet refreshed and invest in extended warranties, our service team is really focused on repair and general maintenance work.

So from a financial point of view, with the reporting function and the fact we have a rolling account with Finning, we can understand the cost of repairs and manage cash flow much better, using the online system.

“This is particularly important when we have machines that have been damaged, as we can quickly calculate the repair costs that need to be passed onto the customer.

Equally, as soon as we know of any non-standard repair or component damage, we can get straight onto the site to check maintenance.

“Although I expect the majority of our orders to now move online, we do still have the ability to talk to the Finning parts team and I think their support will continue to be important to us moving forward.”