The good news is that structural repairs do not require the approval of the OEM and can be done safely and compliant to all OHSA and ANSI standards and regulations. An OEM may have policies that prohibit structural repairs, but crane owners and their insurance providers can and should defend the right to repair damaged equipment. While an OEM may defend their policies through threatening letters, they cannot prevent a crane owner from repairing a crane that is deemed repairable by a qualified registered professional engineer. Companies like WHECO work every day to successfully defend customers against strong arm OEM tactics.
The top five reasons you should consider a repair option are to:
1. Strengthen the decision-making process.
Knowing all of the options available to you will help in making an informed decision. You need to have the facts and know the truth about your choices when it comes to a damaged crane. Having a repair option will provide a method of benchmarking your choices.
2. Provide a method to measure vendor competency and candor.
Just because your distributor/service provider cannot provide engineered repairs doesn’t mean that this route is not available to you. While your distributor/service provider may be very competent, the company’s management should be forthcoming about their capabilities and help you find the best repair solution, even at the expense of losing the sale. It should be every vendor’s responsibility to see to the best interests of their customers. There is no better litmus test than to have one supplier refer you to another supplier who can provide a better solution.
3. Provide a platform for comparison of competitors’ facilities, methods, processes and practices.
Structural repairs, by their nature, are challenging. You need to understand how your repair provider plans to provide you with a safe, compliant and documented repair. Facilities, tooling and a controlled environment are critical to a quality repair. Additionally, the company that repairs your machine should have processes and best practices in place that provide for detailed surveys, inspections and written proposals on the damaged components.
4. Provide a benchmark to evaluate the total cost to repair a machine.
In addition to the hard repair costs, downtime can be a significant factor in determining the overall cost to repair or replace. What is the crane being out of service really costing you?
5. Challenge vendors to compete at a higher level.
If your service provider cannot provide structural repair solutions, by necessity, they will either need to figure out how to get into the business, find a qualified subcontractor to work with or be left to provide just traditional repair services. More importantly, by acknowledging the validity of a structural repair, it will oblige vendors to provide a higher level of ethical and moral service to their customers.
The paradigm against structural repairs is rapidly changing. Customers are learning that they have access to safe, compliant, time- and cost-effective solutions. Be sure to consult with a reputable third-party structural repair provider to measure and challenge tradition replacement philosophies and enjoy the benefits of being an informed customer.
The Author of this Post is Jay Shiffler, Vice President of Business Development, WHECO Corporation