Oct 11, 2021
Train Your Operators to be Proxy Mechanics
Not every company is lucky enough to have an experienced mechanic on staff. You may need to take a couple of your equipment operators and train them for the job. And that makes sense in this age of worker shortages. You want to think of the mechanic as a traveling equipment doctor. When a machine on the job goes down, you call the mechanic out to the field to get it back up quickly. Let’s start this week’s quick tip with a focus on the equipment operator who will take on mechanic responsibilities.
The responsibilities include keeping each machine in optimum working order. These days, we have electronic logs to help operators perform the daily walk-around for routine upkeep and tracking maintenance. We have telematics that let the operator (and the main office) know when to bring the machine in for routine maintenance. Some systems will even tell you when something is about to go wrong. But don’t let those systems be a substitute for the operator who can “feel” the machine.
When training your operators, share more than the steps for a repair. By sharing the reasons for equipment updates, you help the employee grow. Look at wear plates as an example. A brand-new loader operator might not understand the reasoning behind the style and type of wear plate your company bolts onto the wheel loader bucket at the plant. Take the time to explain it. Let the new guy learn how today’s extra elbow grease and technology offers longer uptime for a piece of equipment.
Equip your mechanics-on-the-job with the tools they need for problems in the field. Whether that’s the roller operator with an uptime kit he keeps close at hand, or a fulltime mechanic who stocks a truck for emergency repairs, train these workers to keep the right tools at the ready. There’s a “quick tip” download included in the Asphalt Paving 101 online training course with some of the essential items your team will want to keep in the mechanic’s truck. Having a well-stocked truck, manned by a skilled mechanic, will help the entire crew keep going, no matter what happens in the field.
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