Five years ago I wrote a special report outlining the six most costly mistakes hydraulic equipment users make when it comes to maintaining their hydraulic equipment, and started giving it away at: www.hydraulicsupermarket.com
If you have read it, you’ll likely be aware that I actively solicit feedback from everyone who downloads it. I make a point of reading all and replying to most. And it makes for interesting reading. But this response I received just a couple of weeks ago is a standout:
“Yes the points were useful… It spurred me to order a temperature gauge for my excavator to monitor the temperature of the oil during sustained rock-breaking.
As far as oil changes go, the dealer has the oil analyzed at each service and I am given a copy so the changes from service to service can be seen.
The filter [continuous monitoring of pressure drop] I believe is irrelevant as the time and effort to determine if it is nearly blocked or barely blocked would be more than the cost of a new filter. With these things I believe it is easy to devote much of your time with no attributed value, to worry about things which are relatively cheap compared to the labor component of servicing.”
In case you’re scratching your head wondering why I’ve singled this out for special mention, here’s why:
This hydraulic equipment owner didn’t just read the report. He considered it, applied it to his unique situation and then took appropriate action:
“It spurred me to order a temperature gauge for my excavator to monitor the temperature of the fluid during sustained rock-breaking.”
VERY smart move. Particularly when you consider that a rock-breaker is a very effective oil heating device. He didn’t only join the dots on this – he acted on it by ordering an oil temperature gauge.
You can see this machine owner’s mind working in the rest of his feedback:
“As far as oil changes go, the dealer has the oil analyzed at each service and I am given a copy so the changes from service to service can be seen.”
He reckons he’s got this one covered. And he presumably changes his hydraulic oil when it needs to be changed based on oil analysis – not on hours in service.
“The filter [continuous monitoring of pressure drop] I believe is irrelevant as the time and effort to determine if it is nearly blocked or barely blocked would be more than the cost of a new filter.”
His call, not mine. But for his machine, changing the filters on hours in service rather than on condition may be the right call – provided they don’t go on bypass first of course.
He goes on to justify his decision this way:
“With these things I believe it is easy to devote much of your time with no attributed value, to worry about things which are relatively cheap compared to the labor component of servicing.”
Can’t argue with that. You should never spend a dollar on preventative or proactive maintenance that you won’t get back – with interest – that is, with an acceptable return on the investment made (ROI).
Of course, in these matters, ROI comes about through increased component life, improved reliability, fewer breakdowns and less downtime. And the long-run nature of these returns can sometimes make these ‘investment decisions’ hard to call.
But the main reason I’m discussing this machine owner’s response to my six mistakes report here, is not to critique or second-guess his decisions. It’s because he took the information and used it to ‘run the ruler over’ his current status quo. And then took action where he determined it was most he needed. To profit from the information presented to him.
And, by the way, without knowing the specifics of his machine, the one thing he did take action on (continuous monitoring of hydraulic oil temperature) is – based on 80/20 thinking (80% of the problems are caused by 20% of the possible causes) – probably the one he’ll get the greatest return on.
You see, most of the feedback I get about my six mistakes report falls into four categories:
“I knew that”,
“I didn’t know that”,
“I agree with that” or
“I don’t agree with that”.
There’s NO profit in any of these.
It is always beneficial to learn something you don’t know. But the most important question to ask yourself when presented with information relevant to your main business or profession is:
“How can I apply or use this for profit?”
I can lay the information out in front of you. But this part is up to you. So in this sense, my “Six costly mistakes report” is not just something to read: it’s something to do. Download it here