OPL 101: Find Equipment Functionality Edge with Trained Professionals

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Certified service technicians “speak the language” of the machine used by an OPL. (Image licensed by Ingram Publishing)

Bill Brooks |

Five reasons to turn to certified service technicians for equipment support

RIPON, Wis. — When it comes to on-premises laundry (OPL) operations, property and laundry room managers are always looking to maximize throughput and quality while reducing costs associated with labor, linen and utilities. 

In order for a laundry operation to run at peak efficiency, the equipment needs to be properly maintained. If equipment is not running properly, it will have a significant impact on the success of the business. 

Luckily, laundry room and maintenance staff are not alone when it comes to servicing and repairing equipment. Certified, factory-trained service technicians are only a phone call away and are ready to provide prompt and thorough service, no matter where you are located. 

With their extensive training, vast knowledge of the equipment and access to the manufacturer, certified service technicians can provide OPLs with the peace of mind that their equipment will be tended to in a timely manner. Read on to learn why you should turn to a certified service technician the next time you need support with your equipment.

REASON 1: IN-DEPTH CERTIFICATION TRAINING

In order to become a certified service technician, a person must complete an extensive training program that is led by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM). The program provides technicians with a full understanding of the equipment and arms them with the professional skills needed to provide support and service. 

For example, UniMac® offers a detailed online certification service training program for its distributor network. There are four different levels in the certification program, with level four having the more advanced classes. At each level, a service technician must complete the required online classes, additional elective classes and successfully pass an exam. 

Certified technicians receive patches and an identification badge, which prominently identifies factory-trained service technicians. In total, the program has more than 100 classes available for service technicians. While all four levels of the certification program are not required, 69% of UniMac-trained service technicians complete the level four certification.

Beyond the online certification courses, laundry equipment manufacturers have additional programs for service technicians to help them meet all of a customer’s equipment needs. 

Andy Lubahn, UniMac product trainer, has been in the industry for 22 years and provides onsite three-day, in-depth training sessions that cover equipment installation, maintenance and high-end troubleshooting. 

“The training is three eight-hour days and the curriculum is based off of real-life examples we learn about from our service technicians,” says Lubahn. “The program changes based on people’s specific needs, and with the product line changing over time, the training also changes.”

REASON 2: EQUIPMENT EXPERTS

Following the factory certification program, technicians will have a strong understanding of the equipment that ultimately helps them work more independently to complete the service needs and get in and out more quickly.

“A certified service technician speaks the language of that machine,” says Lubahn. “A general service technician will work on everything, and they may not be familiar with your equipment.”

Stan Hannibal, vice president of engineering for McKibbon Hotel Management, has many responsibilities across 85 properties. When it comes to the laundry operation, Hannibal is responsible for equipment selection, preventative maintenance and equipment replacement. Hannibal has been in the hospitality industry for 30 years and through his experience understands the importance of working with certified service technicians.

“Oftentimes we have had general service technicians who do not always know what they are doing, which leads to more costs and equipment downtime,” says Hannibal. “I always look for certified service technicians because they are experts in the field and the equipment. They’ve been through the proper training and they know what should be done.”

With their extensive training, service technicians are specialists when it comes to equipment, and they give laundry room managers the confidence that the job has been done right.

“The certified service technicians we work with across our properties have so much knowledge on the equipment and they know exactly what they are talking about,” Hannibal says. “We have good working relationships with our distributors and I have a phone list with their contact information in each of our properties so that the staff can call the technicians if they need support.”

REASON 3: DIRECT ACCESS

The laundry manufacturer will continue to be a resource for the technician far beyond the certification completion. It is there to provide continued support to help technicians troubleshoot any equipment issues and provide ongoing online and onsite training as new products are released.

“Certified distributors have a direct link to the equipment manufacturer that they can turn to for help when needed,” Lubahn says. “This support helps resolve equipment maintenance needs more quickly.”

The manufacturer is only a phone call away and will work closely with a technician to address any problems they are experiencing. In addition to having field service managers and staff ready to answer a service technician’s call, they also have a number of online resources available.

“If a technician is onsite with a question, they give us a call and we have an answer for them right away,” adds Lubahn.

Certified service technicians will also supply OEM replacement parts. Equipment parts a customer secures from a distributor are specifically engineered for that equipment and have been put through testing to ensure proper operation. Another advantage is that certified technicians also know and honor manufacturer equipment warranties, which can be up to five years on some parts.

REASON 4: TRUSTED RESOURCE

Beyond equipment repair and maintenance needs, a distributor’s certified service technicians can help with other laundry room needs, such as training staff, evaluating an operation to identify inefficiencies and providing recommendations for when it may be time to replace outdated equipment.

McKibbon Hotel Management recently began working with its service technicians and equipment manufacturer to implement a training program for laundry room staff throughout multiple cities. The training provides education on the equipment to reduce machine downtime and operating costs.

“The training has increased the working knowledge of everyone in the hotel laundry room, which was one of our critical success factors,” says Hannibal. “An important part of the training is educating staff on when they should call a service technician for help.”

Additionally, your distributor and service technician can help make recommendations for when it might be more cost-effective to replace outdated equipment. Today’s advanced equipment has more technology that reduces water and energy consumption, helping to save thousands annually on linen, labor and utility costs. 

“Proper preventative maintenance will help maintain the quality of the equipment and extend the life,” says Lubahn. “But there is a point when businesses’ equipment is in the double-digit years and heavy mechanical replacement parts—such as the bearings, shaft and cylinder—are needed. That is when it becomes time to weigh the costs of those repairs versus the cost of new equipment.”

REASON 5: HELP REDUCE DOWNTIME

While there are many benefits to working with a certified service technician, one of the most important is efficiency when it comes to servicing equipment.

“The greatest value service technicians provide is time,” says Lubahn. “Any OPL needs to handle laundry processing as quickly as possible and reduce equipment downtime so that the property does not lose time and money.”

When working with a certified service technician, there is a higher chance that he or she will be able to find the cause of the problem and handle it in a timely manner, rather than someone who is not as familiar with the equipment.

“When non-certified technicians don’t know the products as well, they have to ask a lot of questions and it takes longer to fix the equipment, which leads to more equipment downtime,” Lubahn says.

An OPL plays a critical role in the success of a business, no matter what the industry may be, which is why it is important to have someone ready to provide quick and thorough service.

Knowing there is a trusted resource that is up to date on industry practices and is ready to help with all equipment needs provides a peace of mind for laundry room and property managers.

About the author

Bill Brooks

UniMac

National Sales Manager

Bill Brooks is the national sales manager for UniMac, a provider of on-premises laundry equipment. He can be reached at bill.brooks@alliancels.com or 920-748-4437.

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