CHOOSING THE RIGHT COMPANY FOR THE JOB
What is the best way to evaluate a potential elevator/escalator service provider? Do you consider size, route density in your area, quality and expertise of the technicians, and responsiveness to callbacks? All these things are relevant, but let me give you my criteria for evaluating a potential service provider.
- What do they already maintain?
o What brands and types of equipment? Example: If you have high-rise gearless cars and they don’t have solid references for this type of equipment, move on to the next company.
o Get multiple references and call all of them.
o Ask those references the right questions.
- What is their average response time to callbacks?
- How many callbacks are you having per month?
- How are they on the first-time fix?
- Is the superintendent involved and does he keep you informed?
- Do the technicians check-in and out on visits and keep you informed?
- What is their maintenance approach? If they cannot give you a detailed approach with frequency and durations, run the other way.
o Is the frequency systematic?
o What is the tasking model they use?
o What are the durations of the visitations?
- Size is not important; expertise and supervision are.
o Experience always trumps the number of technicians.
o You must have supervision; someone must call the plays or balls get dropped.
o There are cases where smaller is better on less technologically challenging equipment.
- There are many small companies that can provide a very personal and informative level of service.
- Communication and knowing what is going on with your equipment is valuable.
- Companies and their reputations are important, but you’re going to end up putting a great deal of trust into the technician that is assigned to your building.
o Always ask for an introduction and ask them some questions.
- Are they comfortable working on this equipment?
- Do they have experience with this type of equipment?
- Will they always check-in and out when working on my equipment?
I have seen it all in this industry in my time, and I have found it comes down to what happens in any given office that determines if the company is great, fair, poor, or terrible. I have seen offices within the same company that are less than 200 miles apart and they operate like completely different companies and their capabilities are as different as night and day. That is why it is so important to understand the local office’s capabilities and supervision. Most of the time the technicians want to and can do a great job, but someone must quarterback this and if the supervision is poor, then balls will get dropped and frustrations will eventually run high. Superintendents need to be great communicators and great play-callers. If they fall short in either area, the relationship between you and the vendor will be strained. I learned early on in my years as a manager to pay for quality supervision: it is a true game-changer. Labor is the most expensive thing a service company pays for; so if you are not supervising that labor, inefficiency and complacency in the field workforce will drive the business into the ground. I experienced it personally and have seen it happen many times since I learned the lesson myself.
Understanding what it takes to be a good service company and knowing all the right things to look for and questions to ask will help you pick the right one for your building. Reputations both good and bad are the product of the actions the vendor takes. Do your homework and you will be happy with the choice you make, don’t and this may be an exercise you get to experience more than you want.
If you need help, give us a ring at AuditMate, we can help you make the right choice.