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Understanding Servicing Strategies

There are two distinct elements common to all servicing strategies: Service Interval and Service Duration.  Quite often, people don’t realise the distinction between the elements and wrongly assume one element means a set outcome for both elements of the strategy.  This often leads to confusion and misalignment, with servicing objectives not fully understood by all parties involved.

Service Interval Strategy

The most common service strategy interval is the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) default that is typically an operating hours-based strategy.  This means the equipment must be serviced at set hours of equipment operation, such as every 250 hours.  Where utilisation of equipment is low, the time between servicing increases.  Use of this strategy ensures equipment is only serviced as required.

The alternative to this is a fixed time strategy where the equipment is serviced on a set time frequency such as every four weeks.  While this strategy is not as common for mobile equipment, it lends itself well to equipment that is consistently utilised and allows for a more consistent approach to planning and scheduling of labour.  The risk, however, is that if it’s poorly timed there is the potential to over (or under) service the equipment.

Service Duration Strategy

While the service interval strategy is typically clearly understood, the service duration strategy typically causes most confusion when adjusted from the OEM standard.  The default OEM strategy is to stack the service tasks based on the frequency at which the tasks are due.  An example of this is a piece of equipment that has an OEM service frequency of 250 hours with additional tasks required at frequencies of 500 hours, 1,000 hours and 2,000 hours.  The below figure shows how service durations change over a 2,000-hour period because of the tasks at different frequencies.

Servicing Strategies 01 - Bluefield AMS

This basic strategy typically sees only four different service sheets with tasks that are required at these intervals – 250, 500, 1,000 and 2,000 hour services.  The services in-between these are a repeat of the respective 250 or 500 hour services.  This means both the labour required and the duration to complete the services varies significantly depending on the service to be completed.

The alternative to this strategy is often referred to as an “8-Step” or load levelled service strategy.  This is a strategy employed to help smooth out the labour demands across large fleets of similar equipment, which allows for better resource planning with the intent that each service requires the same labour and duration to complete.

To develop an 8-Step service strategy, one must deconstruct the individual tasks knowing their frequency, duration, and level the tasks/durations during the 2,000 cycle.  Thus, creating eight separate “steps” or service sheets. The key element to this is ensuring the frequency of tasks remain the same within the 2,000 hour service cycle. The table below shows how this can be achieved for each individual task.

Servicing Strategies 02 - Bluefield AMS

Thought must be put into how tasks are moved around to ensure they are properly grouped and linked to interdependent related tasks.  It is best to develop this strategy with the people involved in completing the job to ensure they understand the objective and have buy-in on the arrangements of tasks for each service.

When implementing this strategy, it is important there is a clear communication plan for all involved.  A common issue we have seen when this has been implemented is during the first round of servicing people believe they are overservicing the machine when a 2,000 hour service task comes up on the first step (PM1).  While it may be overserviced the first time it is completed, the next time it will be done is 2,000 hours later when it cycles back to PM1.

Knowing the two elements of a service strategy means you can effectively implement a complete service strategy that best suits your equipment.  Of course, there are variations on both approaches.  The table below summarises these and the other options that people may choose to use.

Servicing Strategies 03 - Bluefield AMS

There are no right or wrong options when it comes to the servicing strategy, it just needs to be right for your application where all involved are aligned with the approach.