“I didn’t know I could reduce my scaffolding costs!”
The maintenance manager at a global food production company, we will refer to him as Brad, is spending about £20,000 per month on outsource scaffolders.
As a monthly cost this was not an excessive amount of money, his company was a large food production company and these costs were regular and “it’s just what it costs to keep the line running”.
But it was £20,000 every month out of his maintenance budget and when considered over a 12-month period this amounted to approximately £250,000, per year – every year.
In addition, there were other issues with the scaffolding company; they could not come on demand or would be late and leave early. Or not come when they were most needed to make changes and then charge for every minute of their time. But, since this was a food company, scaffolding always seemed the best option when dealing with the high demands of maintenance and hygiene required.
When looking into these issues Brad identified three threats to his business, which if not dealt with properly and professionally could negatively impact his workers and the company.
Here are his three concerns.
1) Safety 2) Performance 3) Compliance
Brad was responsible for a team of 15 maintenance engineers and he had to ensure their safety, but he also needed to look at new ways to reduce cost. Many steps for reducing cost had already been taken, pressuring suppliers for a more competitive price for tools and supplies had already been implemented by procurement and he has had to consider worker redundancies as another way to reduce cost. He was running out of ways to keep his department within budget and help in the overall competitiveness of the company.
Brad put safety at the top of his agenda and was not prepared to compromise on his team’s well being. He would need to implement new safety processes, document and enact new protocols to ensure a smooth implementation and execution. A documented safe system of work was required to augment the work at height regulations.
The second threat was that any replacement would have to perform better, if not much better, than the outsourced scaffolding concept. Performance would be a combination of increased safety and cost reduction. The replacement system would have to be fit for purpose and have a long life cycle and must meet as many of his work at height challenges as possible, especially those in confined and awkward areas around vessels and pipes.
Ideally, a replacement system could be used by Brad’s own staff to reduce the outsourced labour cost and must therefore be easy to assemble and use. To successfully apply for a budget from senior management he would have to identify, quantify and prove cost savings but not at the risk of reducing of safety.
The third threat was compliance, all options to be considered had to meet the current regulations and be acceptable in every way to his own workers, company and external health and safety regulators.
Clearly any replacement could not be inadequate or a danger to employees. He would have to ensure all workers were trained and certified to be competent to use the new system. A training certification process would need to be managed and training records kept, especially for new hires.
What Brad needed to do was find a creditable alternative to scaffolding that was safe to put together. He wanted a product which preferably required no tools to assemble and would therefore be quick to build, where assembly steps could be graphically portrayed by using an easy to understand guide. Routine builds could be documented simply by using a diagramming and graphics computer application. The system could be risk assessed to ensure safety and compliance.
It was important to find a system that, when used in accordance with the manufacture’s certified training, his maintenance engineers were never exposed to the risk of a fall. Cost reduction was an integral driving force behind wanting a change, but safety could not be compromised.
Brad knew that performance increases that come from combining the increase in safety and cost reduction, drives change for the better and so he needed a system that he could deploy to at least 90% of his work at height maintenance problems.
He recognized that having a pool of equipment meant his team could build just about any platform to the required size and shape and he wouldn’t need specific platforms for each application – thereby avoiding duplication and reducing costs further.
The replacement system would have to be as flexible in application, adjustable, versatile and reconfigurable as scaffolding and a ruggedized system with steel modular components could be the answer.
Brad also had electric motors and compressors which were heavy to man handle and an integral lifting attachment would come in handy and simplify many motor swaps.
The replacement product needed to be OSHA and HSE compliant and as risk free as possible: the fact that the system met all relevant compliances and regulations was mandatory.
Training was crucial. A detailed training course should be available for workers and trainers alike, and they should be certified and tested to ensure they fully understand the new system. Ideally a refresher training program to keep workers up to date should be available.
Brad felt that if he could upskill his existing maintenance team with a product that met all of the above requirements, he would be overjoyed.
Instead of wasting time waiting for the scaffolder to send in a quote, arrive on site to build a system and return each time to make modifications or take it down he could keep the line up and moving and everyone would keep working day or night.
Brad purchased a LOBO System……………………and so can you!
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For further information on LOBO Systems visit www.lobosystems.com