Technology Short on Glamour, Long on Results

If you are looking to invest in technology this year, you're going to want to take care of it. Whether you are looking to update your fleet of zero-turn mowers or add some attachments, you are going to want to maintain it to get the most out of it. Some of the best technology investments perform some of the most unglamorous — but important — tasks. For example, maintenance management software can help manage your investments in new lawn care equipment technologies along with the rest of your lawn care assets and equipment.

Maintenance software can pay off and help you pull it together in a number of different operations, including the lawn care industry, public works and recreation departments, nurseries, farms and public gardens.

As a general rule, maintenance management software pays for itself within six months. Software can yield a 30-percent or more reduction in spare parts inventory values and up to a 10-percent reduction in part pricing through better control of purchases and elimination of paper work. Better repair and maintenance histories hold repair vendors accountable and lead to longer equipment life, increased equipment availability, better replacement decisions and more.

But it isn't simply a matter of installing the software on a computer and pressing a button. It just doesn't happen that way.

In our experience, only one third of the companies who adopt automated maintenance management complete implementation. They use the deployment of their maintenance software to establish more efficient operational controls and procedures that yield valuable benefits — most notably to the bottom line. They train staff to use the software, keep it in support and always run the latest version. These companies discover other benefits even more valuable than those they originally expected.

However, another third implement only a limited number of features, usually the features they originally had in mind. While it serves their basic purpose, they rarely keep their software updated or supported and reap only marginal benefits.

Finally, the last third buys technology believing it will solve all their problems. They try the new technology in fits and starts and it never really gets off the ground. This often happens in crisis-oriented businesses and shops without the will or discipline to implement the technology they've purchased. These shops set the software aside “for now” and soon forget they ever bought it.

Maintenance management software will only provide the maximum benefit only if it is properly implemented. Your organization must: (1) get management to back the effort, (2) be willing to become more organized and open to change, (3) learn the software and train others to use it in a disciplined manner, (4) keep data entry current, (5) use the data you've collected to make positive, productive changes in your daily operations, and (6) stay abreast of upgrades and new offerings that could increases efficiency even more.

Compared to more glamorous technology investments you may be considering this year, nothing will have as large an impact on your overall business, your bottom line and provide you with better control than acquiring and deploying maintenance management software technology.

Unglamorous, maybe, but a better bottom line is a very attractive reward.

Charles Arsenault is president of Arsenault Associates (Atco, N.J.). The company has provided maintenance management expertise since 1979. Its Dossier software serves a growing customer base of more than 3,000 commercial fleets.

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