Buy Reliability & Support Services-Not Marketing & Support Claims-Part 2

By Scott Paton

When purchasing equipment for a facility, there are several things to be considered. In part one we looked at the hallmarks of in-service ‘vintage’ equipment including superior manufacturing processes and personal equipment support. Read Part One here.

Today we’ll look at manufacturer support offerings such as service schools and discuss what you should look for when replacement parts are needed.

Service Schools

Always look for an equipment manufacturer that holds Service Schools for their equipment, says Dave Clark, Braun’s VP of Aftermarket Operation & Customer Service. “The service seminars should be free-of-charge and should address aspects of operation, maintenance, service and more so that you become familiar with the equipment you are purchasing.”

The MGM Grand’s Felipe Carrasco took advantage of one of Braun’s Service Schools. “We sent our Chief Engineer, Senior Washer and Plant Manager to Braun’s headquarters for training. “It was valuable in enabling us to handle matters of routine maintenance and preventing any problems before they occur.”

For those who prefer to know a little more about their equipment. Some manufacturers offer a Custom Service School – a billable, advanced training program that can be held at a clients’ facility or location of their choosing. Braun’s custom service school offering is tailored specifically to the customer’s unique needs and their equipment on-site, says Clark who adds that someone looking at new equipment should also inquire about customized maintenance contracts.

Old as New

Sometimes purchasing new equipment isn’t in the cards – but ‘new’ isn’t always necessary when you can still increase your turnaround and volume with certified remanufactured pieces. And by updating your equipment there are also non-measurable benefits such as an uptick in employee morale from working with more up-to-date machinery that makes their jobs easier and more productive.

“When purchasing remanufactured equipment – ask questions,” says Clark. “Find out how the equipment was remanufactured. At Braun, we strip it down to its basic steel housing, refinish it, replace components, re-wire it and it’s virtually new. Also, ask about a warrantee.”

NorthStar Mat Service of Wixom, Michigan (pictured top right) is currently celebrating its 50th Anniversary, servicing the Healthcare, Hospitality and Property Management industries. John Sloan is the president and owner, helming a successful enterprise founded by his father in 1968.

“In 2013, we purchased three Braun washers and two dryers. The products were remanufactured. Braun’s rep never attempted to sell us anything more than we needed but, honestly, the equipment looked brand new,” says Sloan.

A Successful Equation

Of course, products and service are only two-thirds of a successful equation. When a vital equipment part is required, machines come to a screeching halt until that part is sourced and implemented. Who are you going to call?

“Before you lay your money down – make sure that the company you are purchasing from has replacement parts available,” says Clark who adds that if the Braun Parts Desk doesn’t have a necessary part they will help customers find it.

Another thing Clark stresses to prospective buyers is that they should ask the manufacturer they are considering purchasing from if they are using original equipment manufactured parts, or secondary-market parts….there is a difference.

“Many of the latter are sourced and fabricated overseas, often resulting in substandard quality and long-wait times for delivery,” he says adding that Braun’s refurbished parts (R-Parts) are of comparable quality to its Certified Remanufactured Equipment and fully-warrantied.

“When purchasing equipment, do your homework,” says Clark. “Good equipment backed by good service pays dividends, and ultimately does not cost the provider. At Braun, we believe that if we are reasonable and reliable partners with our clients, we win together.”


About the Author
Scott Paton is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Textile Services, Laundry Today, Los Angeles Herald-Examiner and The Baltimore Sun.