"In The News" - Automated Warranty Tracking: A Powerful Addition to Maintenance Management

March 15, 2016

March 15, 2016

Read the article in Construction Executive magazine’s TechTrends e-newsletter

By: John Kane, B2W Software

Construction companies that maintain hundreds of pieces of equipment, or even a few dozen,  know that optimizing warranty coverage and keeping track of varying warranty requirements and expiration dates for each asset, component and part can be a full-time job.

Doing it more effectively can have a big impact on the success of their overall maintenance program and on their bottom line. To solve this warranty tracking conundrum, many turn to tried-and-true Excel spreadsheets. Even if there is a wiz at creating Excel spreadsheets and pivot tables on staff, the document still can’t send an advance alert when warranties are expiring. Unfortunately, Microsoft® has not put in a self-regulating alarm and notification system for each cell. Spreadsheets and manual systems also introduce the challenge of maintaining and reconciling multiple files, especially for companies with multiple sites.

Many construction companies are losing tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars from expired warranties and from simply failing to realize which repairs and replacements could be covered. Shop managers, who typically own warranty tracking responsibilities, often are rushed and don’t have the time to update spreadsheets with warranty data, manually pull files or read through all the paperwork. This lack of an automated procedure to track warranty information drains profitability as companies try to get total maintenance and repair costs close to the industry best practice target of 5 percent of total revenue.

When a piece of equipment breaks down in the field, there is a rush to get it fixed because every second of downtime threatens productivity and on-time completion of a job and translates into a financial loss. In their haste, shop managers often don’t go back and look at the manufacturer’s information to see if the issue is with a faulty part still under warranty. This creates an unfortunate cycle of lost revenue associated with a machine, or part of a machine, that’s no longer in operation.

Putting the ledger aside for a moment, warranty compliance impacts safety and is often looked at when insurance companies investigate injury cases. Faulty equipment is often pinpointed to company negligence with regard to the maintenance and upkeep of field equipment. Complying with the manufacturer’s requirements and having the right documentation on hand to prove that warranties are valid can put companies in a stronger position.

Without proactive, automated warranty tracking, construction companies risk leaving big money on the table. Expecting mechanics to rummage through paper files just doesn’t cut it in a fast-paced environment. However, there is hope. Just like every other piece of construction equipment that has evolved to handle more work, with less effort, in a shorter amount of time, strong maintenance management software programs have developed automated warranty tracking components.

New software is emerging that seamlessly integrates into any existing back-office system and cuts through the mountains of independent Excel sheets to alert and notify when warranties are expiring. These automated warranty tracking systems bring the benefits of:

  • tracking warranty data for each piece of equipment in one central system;
  • alerting technicians in advance of warranty expiration dates;
  • ensuring all information and records required are properly captured and labeled;
  • reducing the amount of disallowed claims due to missing information or missed timelines;
  • eliminating any double entries; and
  • reducing time and maintenance expenses.

Automated warranty tracking is a more advanced tool for construction companies to gain additional efficiencies and improve the bottom line. When a repair request or work order is created, the tracking software will automatically search the warranty data per the equipment, components or parts and create a notification if there is any applicable warranty coverage. In addition, these automated tracking solutions run warranty threshold reports to determine, in advance, which warranties are due to expire. With this information, organizations can schedule inspections and accomplish any necessary work to meet warranty requirements and maximize coverage.

In an age when companies across many industrial sectors are taking advantage of software-based solutions, construction companies seem to be the last holdout. There is no need for them to hesitate. Progressive companies are already embracing automated warranty tracking solutions to ensure better functioning equipment in the field, as well as avoid unnecessary expenses due to their failure to recognize and take advantage of warranty coverage.

 

– B2W Software’s John Kane explains the financial and up-time advantages of tracking equipment and component warranties automatically with a software-based maintenance management solution.Construction companies that maintain hundreds of pieces of equipment, or even a few dozen, know that optimizing warranty coverage and keeping track of varying warranty requirements and expiration dates for each asset, component and

Construction companies that maintain hundreds of pieces of equipment, or even a few dozen, know that optimizing warranty coverage and keeping track of varying warranty requirements and expiration dates for each asset, component and part can be a full-time job.

Many construction companies are losing tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars from expired warranties and from simply failing to realize which repairs and replacements could be covered. Shop managers, who typically own warranty tracking responsibilities, often are rushed and don’t have the time to update spreadsheets with warranty data, manually pull files or read through all the paperwork. This lack of an automated procedure to track warranty information drains profitability as companies try to get total maintenance and repair costs close to the industry best practice target of 5 percent of total revenue.

John Kane is a product manager for B2W Software. He has had a leadership role in the development of the company’s specialized B2W Maintain element for equipment maintenance and repairs, including the incorporation of customer-requested features. John has more than 15 years of project management, program management, technical data analysis and troubleshooting and reporting experience.

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