Benefits of expert service for Industrial and Commercial Scales
Protect against high cost of inaccuracy and unscheduled downtime
When a product is bought and sold by weight, the scale acts as a cash register. Scale uptime and accuracy is absolutely critical for performing transactions necessary for remaining in business. Over time, losing even a few pennies per transaction due to an inaccurate scale can add up to losses into the hundreds, thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. This holds true whether the products are large or small and whether the scale is a small counting scale or a large hopper, truck, or railroad track scale. Regularly scheduled scale service by a reputable scale service company protects against the high cost of inaccuracy and unscheduled downtime.
Importance of scales to production
Scales are an integral part of production, whether the product is raw materials or finished goods. A scale breakdown can potentially shut down an entire production line, costing a manufacturer an ever-increasing amount of money until that line is up again.
Businesses selling product based on weight must usually have the scale tested by the local weights and measures inspector. Should that agency determine that the scale is not within tolerance, the inspector may lock out or close the scale – possibly closing the business until the scale can be brought back into tolerance.
Expert scale service will ensure maximum accuracy while preventing costly downtime
A scale is a precision measuring device, built with delicate high precision components. It may represent a huge investment – and one that is often placed in a harsh environment. Over time, especially in heavy capacity applications, wear and tear of key components will degrade the accuracy of the scale. A scale service expert will work to understand the unique weighing applications and service requirements of their customers and help to determine a service program and frequency that will best service them to maintain accuracy and uptime.
Expert service does not simply mean placing a weight and a sticker on a scale when on site for a preventative maintenance service or an emergency repair. Expert service means taking the time to become familiar with a customer’s unique weighing application and service requirements and providing trained technicians who will take the time to inspect the critical components. It also involves taking the time to check for dirt and debris that will impede weighing accuracy as well as reviewing major component wear or damage to ensure the scale is in top operating condition.
Expert service includes test and calibration with certified and traceable test weights; compliance with National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Handbook 44 standards; and provision of written reports that will indicate section testing and overall calibration – with as-found and as-left readings recorded. An added value that an expert service company can provide is a secure online portal that allows the end user to access, view, and print reports any time.
Costs can add up quickly when an owner scrimps on scale service. Simply placing a weight and a sticker on a scale can end up costing more than expert scale service. Take the example of an owner of a truck scale with a 300 pound (lb.) error. If that owner is selling product across the scale for $0.05 per pound and sells 20 truckloads per day, that would be 100 truckloads per week and 5200 truckloads per year. The error translates to a loss of $15 per truckload, $300 per day, and $1500 per week – that is $78,000 per year!
Costly breakdowns can be prevented with expert scale service. A scale failure can shut down production of an entire operation. Many of these costly breakdowns can be avoided with proper preventative maintenance inspections that identify potential failures that can be resolved long before they become a costly problem.
Loss of production is not always caused by a scale breakdown. Operation can be shut down if a scale does not pass weights and measures inspection. In addition to the loss of revenue from production stoppage, a company may also face fines for scale inaccuracy.
With proper service a business owner can avoid the additional and unexpected costs due to inaccuracy and component failure.
Environmental, regulatory, and economic factors determine the need for scale service
Most truck scales are installed outdoors, where they are exposed to the elements year round. In additional to the daily wear and tear from fully loaded trucks rolling across a scale, truck scales are exposed to rain, snow, ice, dirt, debris from surroundings, and even wildlife. All of these will affect the operation of the scale, creating the need for regularly scheduled service.
Scales used in commerce where product is sold based on weight are subject to local weights and measures authorities. Most weights and measures jurisdictions require annual scale testing and certification. Regularly scheduled testing and calibrations ensure that the local weights and measure entity will not take the scale out of service or levy a fine due to inaccuracy.
Safety and Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations also factor in to how service is offered. An expert service company will maintain excellent safety ratings with thorough job planning, providing safety training, use of proper personal protection equipment (PPE), and job safety assessments. These factors, as well as mandatory DOT electronic logging device (ELD) regulations, greatly influence how certified weights are transported in commercial vehicles.
Benefits of expert scale service
There are several benefits to expert scale service, and each results in cost saving. Expert service will:
- Ensure accuracy, which will prevent loss caused by unknowingly giving away product.
- Ensure that a scale is dependable and far less likely to suffer a crippling breakdown in the middle of a production run.
- Extend the life of a scale. A truck scale is a substantial investment. Expert scale service means not only checking for accuracy but also inspecting and addressing the potential problems before they become catastrophic failures. With expert scale service, some older scales can be overhauled and returned to their original condition, thereby extending their lives for years to come.
Above all, an expert service provider can safely transport and handle a variety of certified weight capacities. This will ensure the correct amount of test weight is provided to correctly certify the customer’s scale.
Several metrics can demonstrate the quality of service provided. Customer satisfaction ratings are a very important factor in determining service quality. Important metrics that can be used to determine customer satisfaction include first time fix rates, ability to provide national coverage, and response time to address customer issues.
One metric often used to illustrate the benefit of expert scale service is the preventative maintenance to contract emergency (PM to CE) ratio. This measure means that, in a defined period of time, there should be one planned preventative maintenance visit and no more than one emergency repair service call. The typical PM to CE Ratio would be 1:1 or better. With expert scale service in place the number of PM service visits would always exceed the emergency repair visits.
Do not pass on expert scale service in favor of a cheaper alternative
All too often, business owners pass on expert scale service and instead opt for a cheaper alternative. This can result in lost dollars and production due to inaccurate weights and unexpected breakdowns. A scale owner should invest in the proper care of their weighing equipment by contracting with a service provider with the proper expertise, and who will take the time to provide quality inspection and repair service as well as the proper documentation to ensure maximum accuracy and uptime.
An expert service provider is actually a partner for critical weighing solutions. From application process evaluation and consultative new product sales to installation, calibration, inspection and repair services, an expert service provider is a partner who will provide the right weighing solution.