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  • Chris Smith

Servicing & inspection is important for just for vehicles… right?

It’s that ‘S’ word - Service, I know, its only important for your vehicle, or is it…

I have been in the service & repair industry nearly 20 years, others have been longer but it’s the common theme I think all of us have experienced have come across no end of time where the importance of servicing the tail lift or any other ancillary equipment fitted on to the customers vehicle has been so far down the list of priorities I think choosing between a red and blue neckerchief for Toby the new company mascot dog is more important.

“its only a piece of farmyard equipment fitted to the back of a vehicle”

In all seriousness the perception of value I have personally received of tail lifts in particular from some of the most important people in a company has been surprisingly low.

I remember one time years ago when I was just starting out in this game, I had attended a meeting at a large customer and one of the high ranking persons within the company made a comment about tail lifts that stuck with me. The comment that was made was “its only a piece of farmyard equipment fitted to the back of a vehicle” , as if it was to justify why they did not want to pay too much for the works done to their tail lifts. I was taken back, I was thinking how come someone so high up and with much responsibility within a company has such small value on a piece of equipment that could become dangerous to the operator if it failed due to lack of maintenance. Maybe it was just ignorance, maybe it was just to save money or maybe it was my perception that was biased as that was what we did for a living.

In the end it was our job to show the value in the service we provide, armed with facts and information that can be presented to educate and change the perception of the tail lift being a piece of “farmyard equipment” that is fitted to the back of the vehicle, to being just as important of a priority to the mechanics of the vehicle.

Any ancillary equipment is a great feature to your vehicle when it works fine and maybe you take it for granted that it works all the time without fail but then the equipment stops working, your driver is stuck with more deliveries to do. Does it only become important when it becomes a problem?

Picture this, You get the call from the driver that his tail lift is not working, already on the back-foot with other pressures going on around you this problem lands on your lap. You don’t know who to call or maybe you do, you make the call. You get the breakdown logged with your company of choice and they give you the standard 60-90 minutes. You think OK its not great but not terrible and you let your driver know and go back to what you are doing.

*Ring Ring* its your favourite driver, 90 minutes had gone by and he informs you no one has arrived yet and is getting slightly agitated because the clock is ticking and he is running out of time. You get straight on the phone to chase the company that is supposed to attend the breakdown and ask where their engineer is.

You’re on hold and listening to the hold music and the constant propaganda telling you what they can do for you. It seems never-ending and you’re getting more and more infuriated. Eventually you come off hold and get a controller stuttering like an machine gun giving you the news that the engineer who was coming out to you had [insert excuse here from company hand book] and they had to send another engineer out to you but its going to be another 45 minutes.

You tell your driver, he is not a happy, you get the “not doing it” and you come to the realisation that not all drops are going to get completed for today and what consequences that would bring.

A call from the driver an hour later saying they have got the lift working, you ask what the issue was and he said it was a corroded wire in the power pack. You might think it was just one of those things or you might think If only you had the tail lift inspected & serviced this could have been avoided.

The importance of getting the tail lifts serviced & inspected every 6 months (minimum) is just as important as getting you vehicle inspected & serviced. The number one benefit of preventative maintenance is making sure your equipment is safe and reducing risk for the operator. Other benefits is that it reduces the downtime of your vehicle and also the the risk of big nasty bills due to wear through lack of maintenance. The other consideration is that your inspection of the lifts forms part of your obligations under the LOLER regulations, but I’m sure you already know that?

So is a service & inspection important for just vehicles? Definitely not!

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