No rental operator wants to hear that a machine is down and preventing a customer from completing a job. But it does occur, and when it happens, nothing is more important than quickly and accurately diagnosing and troubleshooting the problem so the customer can get back up and running without delay.
To help members hone that skill set, the ARA of Colorado offered MEWP (mobile elevating work platform) Service Tech Training on April 12 and a Forklift Service Tech Training on April 13 at the Arvada Rent-All Littleton branch’s education facility. Featured presenter was Randy Sweet, field service representative with Skyjack.
As the service and safety director of Arvada Rent-Alls, Arvada, Colo., Brian Galvin Sr. knows how important this type of training is.
“This is super-important because the guys in the field from the service departments need to know how to troubleshoot stuff efficiently, quickly and accurately so we can order the right parts. If we are not training our people properly, the downfall is that we are ordering wrong parts, and we are already experiencing long lead times for parts, so if you have a piece of equipment that is down and you have ordered the wrong part, you have doubled the time that piece of equipment is not available to rent. If there is a failure on the job site, being able to safely and accurately fix it to get the customer back up and going is paramount,” he says, adding that “if your equipment is not running properly and you can’t troubleshoot properly, that is going right to your bottom line. You have to have trained technicians to take care of your equipment.”
Galvin, who helped Sweet set up the training sessions, was impressed with how both classes “covered the hydraulic and electrical aspects, going through how to read schematics, what the different electric symbols meant, going through troubleshooting charts, going through the online help system, etc. After highlighting the schematics and functions of the machine, he actually put bad parts on the machines and had groups of guys troubleshoot, using what they learned and going through each step to find which part was bad. It was really a hands-on training, so it was very good and extremely informative,” Galvin says.
It was an effective strategy for both new and veteran rental operators.
As a relative newcomer to the rental industry, Dallas Penn, driver/technician with Indian Peaks Rental, Tabernash, Colo., was eager to attend both training sessions.
“My family bought the business from the previous owners about one and a half years ago. I came onboard about seven months later. I am always eager to learn and get as much information as I can, especially about what we have. The classes were quite specific on scissors and telehandlers. We have quite a few of those, so it was more for knowledge expansion and general awareness. The best thing was that even though it was a Skyjack presentation, everything covered in the classes applied to all types of telehandlers and scissor lifts. That was the best part. We don’t own Skyjack equipment, yet I took away a lot of information that applies to the other brands. I left with a plethora of knowledge about these types of machines,” Penn says.
Robert Garrett, who has been in the industry for years and this past May opened his own rental operation, Colorado’s Rental Team in Granby, Colo., attended the MEWP training. “I received a lot of new information and a lot of refreshers. I’ve had this type of training with other brands in the past, but to do it with Skyjack opened the door to understanding how their schematics and hydraulics work, how to access the information that we might need through new databases to get the right schematics,” he says.
In addition to the troubleshooting and diagnostic techniques that were covered, Garrett says he appreciated learning more about the new American National Standards Institute (ANSI) regulations as they relate to MEWPs.
“The instructor talked about the new safety features that are part of the new ANSI standards and how they tie into old systems that we knew about, such as level indicators,” Garrett says. “Now it is all electronic and computerized and can be recalibrated if it gets bumped around. With the new safety regulations, it will stop operating at a lot less of an angle than the old lifts did. That was helpful to hear so we can help our customers understand what is happening with the new machines. If they use the new machine and do the same job that they did with the older machines, they might be frustrated and think there is something wrong with the machine.”
Garrett also liked how Sweeney built time for questions and answers into the presentation. “There were lots of questions that he answered. The instructor was very knowledgeable and offered everyone a quality experience. I have been to a lot of service trainings, and I believe this is one of the best ones I have ever attended,” he says.
Galvin agrees with Garrett’s assessment. “To me, the value of the training was priceless. This course offered the meat and potatoes — going into real-life events and not just all textbook material. The instructor was very good and very relatable. What he covered could be applied to every brand. When you are learning how to read hydraulic, electrical and wiring schematics, they are usually 90 percent the same, so the courses covered good general knowledge for a lot of equipment,” he says.
It was not just the training that Galvin considered valuable. It was also the networking. “Getting the service techs together in a room and talking about what they are passionate about is a great networking tool. They were exchanging phone numbers, providing them someone to call if they get into trouble. It was really good stuff all the way around,” he says.