Maintaining a reliable and accurate scale is essential to the operation of a business. Like any other critical piece of machinery, equipment, or electronics, budgeting for maintenance and repairs can be a challenge.
Most common scale service arrangements are based on an annual fixed cost for test and calibration combined with additional costs for labor and spare parts for any scale repairs or upgrades. Though this can be an effective method for fixing a problem it may, over the course of the scale’s life, not be the most efficient solution when it comes to cost budgeting, minimizing downtime, or even reducing administrative paperwork to process invoices.
Many scale owners are now opting for a new and popular alternative to the “open-end” service – the Managed Service Agreement (MSA). This option offers:
- Scheduled preventative maintenance and test/calibration
- Coverage for emergency service repairs and replacement parts
- Coverage for dispatching and usage of test weights (light capacity and up to 30,000 pounds for heavy capacity test unit)
- Travel and expenses
- Miscellaneous supplies
With an MSA, scale owners can work closely with their scale vendor to come up with a plan to reduce unexpected downtime by completing proactive repairs and part replacements often preformed with scheduled service (tests/calibration) arranged around the customer’s set period of downtime. The MSA cost can be paid in one up-front payment or convenient installments.
Comparison of open ended service cost versus an MSA agreement
The accompanying graph shows the spikes and variables that are more typical of any open-ended service agreement. Compare this to the consistent monthly costs of an MSA program, for example, the Guardian MSA offered by Fairbanks. The company prides itself on developing vendor/customer relationships based on partnering with customers to understand their operations and guiding them on how to best manage their scale assets.
Fairbanks Guardian Series of MSAs are flexible, designed to match the correct service plan with the usage, age, and operational criticality of the specific scale. For example, a chemical manufacturing facility with more than 100 scales can pick and choose the coverage type that best fits the unique dynamics of their operation. Contrast this to the agricultural industry where an agreement might be created with more attention to critical harvest periods.
All the Fairbanks Guardian Series of MSAs offer testing and calibration, plus a variety of parts and repair labor options. For example, the Platinum coverage offers “Smart Scale” remote diagnostics. The scale is electronically monitored at the Fairbanks Tech Support center 24/7, which proactively calls out any error codes to a field service dispatch center.
Superior scale service is about partnering with the customer to control costs, manage downtime and ensure accurate weighing. Utilizing a menu-driven MSA program, like Fairbank’s Guardian Service, is both innovative and practical in today’s weighing industry.
Purchasing a new scale is a significant investment and pairing the purchase with a Guardian Service agreement by building it into the initial investment is a good option. Consider it as both investing in a piece of equipment and investing in a partnership, in which Fairbanks takes on a critical role in keeping the equipment in optimal working order.