Case Study: Planned Maintenance
Wacker Neuson Corporation is a global leader in manufacturing high quality construction equipment and compact construction machines. The international company offers a host of services for customers in industries ranging from construction and industrial to landscaping and agricultural. In addition to manufacturing products such as skid steers and jackhammers, Wacker Neuson also makes replacement parts for these types of machinery. In the U.S., Wacker Neuson operates three manufacturing facilities – one in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, another in Germantown, Wisconsin, and a third in Norton Shores, Michigan. The American company has grown 12 percent in the last 2 years, which translates into a lot of activity at its combined 46 loading docks trying to keep up with demand.
Wear and Tear at the Dock
All of the heavy equipment going over dock levelers from the facility to the trailer inevitably led to breakdowns from time to time. Wacker Neuson had handled those breakdowns with in-house personnel, using regular maintenance crews to repair levelers, vehicle restraints and dock doors on an as-needed basis. However, those crews weren’t specifically trained to work on dock equipment and typically the repairs were short-term fixes – rarely were the roots of these equipment problems fully addressed. This a la carte repair approach was not only dangerous, it was time-consuming, leading to an estimated 200 hours of unplanned downtime at the docks over the course of a year.
When Wacker Neuson hired Keith Hrobsky to be its U.S. maintenance and facility manager 2 years ago, he knew exactly who to call to reduce the chance of major breakdowns and costly repairs.
“Will was one of the first phone calls I made,” Hrobsky said.
Quarterly Checkups with a PMP
He’s referring to Will Wabiszewski, an Arbon Equipment Corporation representative who Hrobsky had worked with at a previous employer. Hrobsky was interested in setting up a planned maintenance program (PMP) with Arbon, the service and distribution arm of the world’s leading loading dock equipment manufacturer, Rite-Hite. Wabiszewski made the trip to the Menomonee Falls facility to assess and inspect the loading dock equipment, as well as to talk with Hrobsky about Wacker Neuson’s needs.
Through a PMP, companies get regular maintenance checkups and repairs from trained Arbon technicians, who meticulously evaluate loading dock equipment according to different regulations and standards upheld by various industries – from food and pharmaceutical to industrial. Based upon his previous experience, Hrobsky felt this planned maintenance would address small, unperceived deficiencies before they turned into large scale breakdowns leading to shipping delays or – even worse – dangerous working conditions for employees. Hrobsky and Wabiszewski determined that a quarterly PMP from Arbon service technicians
would be the best option to maintain dock equipment. Wabiszewski visits Wacker Neuson even more frequently to make sure employees at the facility aren’t having any problems with loading dock equipment.
The results have been overwhelmingly positive in the course of the last 2 years. We've never had a dock taken out of service unexpectedly since Arbon took over our planned maintenance program. That is a huge plus," said Hrobsky.
Saving Time and Money
Because Wabiszewski and Arbon technician Scott Favreau know the layout of the building and its equipment and understand all of the safety protocols Wacker Neuson practices, they are able to do their jobs efficiently. Hrobsky said they have been reliable and easy to work with.
Since Arbon started regular maintenance at the Menomonee Falls and Germantown facilities, Wacker Neuson has replaced six Rite-Hite Dok-Loks (vehicle restraints), three hydraulic dock levelers, high-speed FasTrax Doors, sections of dock doors and a variety of in-plant barriers. Hrobsky said upgrading equipment at the docks has been painless;
workers know when certain docks will be out of service and can plan accordingly. In addition, regular maintenance has been performed on restraints, levelers and door tracks and wheels to keep equipment running at peak efficiency.
Since the change, Hrobsky estimates that Wacker Neuson has gained back at least 184 hours a year of maintenance staff time to work on other aspects of the facility. Keith stated, "The fact that our maintenance guys don't really have to do anything with the Dok-Loks or levelers is a huge benefit for us. We're much more efficient across the board, in the plant and on the loading docks."
Adding Comfort and Real Safety
Not only does the PMP from Arbon help Wacker Neuson achieve greater productivity, Hrobsky added, it’s brought a higher degree of safety. Maintenance workers don’t have to work on machinery that can be dangerous to fix and they aren’t specifically trained to handle. Hrobsky said there’s been a feeling of comfort knowing that Arbon experts are providing regular assessments.
“The dock workers are able to go about their business without having to worry about the equipment they’re working around,” he said. “This program has directly enhanced our shipping and receiving operations, which has definitely boosted profitability.”