Digital Inspections

One Form, One Question, $500k in Annual Savings

Situation

Any business that relies on equipment expects some unplanned downtime events. For a regional crane company covering the western United States, their cranes carry a heavy load in their business, literally. The company had a few consecutive years where they experienced one or two major unplanned boom repairs per year. A lack of grease on the boom and wear pads was resulting in a recurring problem where the boom was being damaged. After spending roughly $500,000 per year in downtime and repairs, the company was on a mission to improve the maintenance or operations and reduce these events. They had always performed maintenance and pre-op inspections, but they were done on paper and resulted in slow response times. The company realized minor lubrication issues, when communicated faster, could prevent these large downtime events. They needed a way to highlight leading indicators about inadequate boom lubrication that inspired re-lubrication before major repair work was needed.

Action Items

The company chose to digitize and automate its maintenance and inspection processes with Redlist. They digitized all of the maintenance and inspection forms used in the field by operators, foremen, and riggers. During this process, they decided to add a new question to their crane pre-op form: “Is there any boom chatter when operating?” Then, they configured the form to automatically send an immediate notification to the maintenance manager if an operator answered yes. The maintenance manager would send a technician to grease the boom and eliminate the issue. This ensured that any crane with inadequate lubrication would be addressed quickly before it resulted in any major repair due to lack of lubrication.

Impact

Since implementing Redlist and this real-time reporting process in 2016 the company hasn’t had a single unplanned boom repair due to improper lubrication. This resulted in an estimated savings of $500,000 each year. Speeding up response times and adding that single question to their pre-op inspection completely eliminated this extremely costly repair that had become repetitive. The fact that reported issues are quickly taken care of has created marked improvements to their culture of awareness around pre-op inspections. Employees feel their time and effort are valued, so inspections are more mindfully and thoroughly completed. And not just a piece of paper that ends up in a stack in the office. Furthermore, the cultural improvements initiated a drastic change in employees caring for assets. Crane operators at the company actually started taking care of a lot of issues on their own. The maintenance manager often receives a notification from Redlist triggered by the inspection form, followed, within minutes, by a note from the operator saying they greased the boom or handled other issues. In addition to the boom repair savings, the company has saved their mechanics many hours traveling to job sites for minor issues, saved drive time, and vehicle wear for the travel. The company achieved all of this with one new question on a single form.

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