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Once managers have identified and purchased the most appropriate powered grounds equipment, the next step is to implement a comprehensive equipment maintenance plan to protect and extend the performance life of the equipment.
First, managers need to make sure operators and mechanics read the operator’s manual and receive necessary training so they fully understand proper care and operation before using new equipment. Manufacturers set these guidelines to maintain reliability and extend equipment life. In addition, managers need to remember that failing to stick to the guidelines can void your warranty.
To comply with the manufacturer’s warranty guidelines, managers, operators and mechanics need to develop and execute scheduled equipment checks. Fortunately, tracking equipment use is less demanding now, thanks to built-in hour meters that are a more common component of mowers and utility vehicles.
Still, managers need to regularly record data from meters, so a schedule is essential, as is an organized documentation system to track use accurately. Managers with large arsenals of grounds equipment to manage might consider using software developed specifically for tracking equipment use. For smaller properties with fewer pieces of equipment, a notebook or spreadsheet often works fine.
The final step in the process is to create a monthly maintenance schedule that accounts for all landscaping equipment, keeping in mind that operators and mechanics need to perform some tasks more than just once a month. When it comes to maintenance or repair of major components, such as mower engines, it is better to let the manufacturer-approved dealer perform the service.
Today’s mowers have more specialized parts and can be complex to repair without specialized knowledge. By entrusting the work to specialists, managers also eliminate the risk of damage to the engine and associated expenses, as well as the possibility of voiding the manufacturer’s warranty.
The strategy also means managers must include the dealer in the monthly maintenance schedule, along with the anticipated time a piece of equipment will be unavailable due to maintenance.
Managers who do not plan are not using their resources effectively, which means they are losing efficiencies they cannot afford to lose. A monthly maintenance plan that keeps essential equipment operating efficiently and reliably ensure managers get the most value out of the investment in equipment.
Mike Fitzpatrick is vice president of U.S. Lawns — www.uslawns.com — which has more than 260 franchises nationwide. Fitzpatrick has more than 30 years of experience in the green industry.
Protecting and Extending the Performance Life of Grounds Equipment