Sunday, January 6, 2013

Choosing an Overhead Crane Service Company

When you’re deciding who you want to service your cranes how do you decide? Do you go with just who you know? What about the cheapest price? Perhaps you decide by who manufactured your crane? There are many reasons why companies pick a vendor to service their overhead cranes. Hopefully your reasons are the right ones.

When choosing an overhead crane service company you want to look for five major points to ensure a successful partnership.

Does the company have enough people to service your facility?
You will need a company that has enough personnel to inspect your equipment, and repair when needed. Most importantly you will have breakdowns throughout the life of your equipment. Does the Service Company have the ability to service your facility during an emergency? What is there response time? Do they have enough people to service all their customers and you in an emergency? If you have a company that cannot get there the same day then you have the wrong company. 

Are they properly trained to work on your equipment?
Ask your service company what kind of training they provide for their technicians and inspectors.  You will want to make sure that they are fully trained with your equipment that is in your facility. Someone untrained in your equipment will lead to increased troubleshooting cost, and misdiagnosis that could lead to thousands of dollars of unneeded repairs, and further damage to your equipment costing even more in expensive downtime. When asking about training you should also be asking what kind of safety training program they have for the people that go on your site. You will want the service technicians, inspectors, and even sales representatives to work in a culture of safety. This will reduce the chances of an accident occurring in your facility.

Does your service company provide any other services besides just a crane technician for your repairs, or perhaps they provide a salesman that pushes things down your throat that you have no idea if you really need it? You should be looking for not just a service company but a consultant, a partner. Typical service companies with just quote for you, a true consultant will offer you solutions. Find a company that offers free consultations; a company that will come in a sit with you and be willing to partner with you. Find a company that will take the time to sit down and discuss your needs. One that will go over any issue and provide multiple solutions so you can decide what the best decision overall is for your facility. Consultants will also come in and discuss issues to help provide a successful partnership. They would discuss with you crane regulations, crane operator safety, crane technology, and modernization capabilities of your equipment.  A consultant will often check up on you just to see how your operation is running. If you do not have this currently with your service company then you do not have a successful partnership.

How soon can you get parts from your service company? Do they stock parts?  Do they have resources to get hard to find parts? Are they the OEM? Do they have the ability to re-engineer hard to find parts? Are they a distributor or a manufacturer? Typically if you have a manufacturer for a service provider, you will save on new equipment, and time resourcing equipment and spare parts. Pick a company that has stocked parts or a parts department. A good service provider understands the importance of getting your parts as soon as possible. Typically when you need parts, delivery time is very important. You do not have the time to wait for a service provider to find the right part for you. Pick a service provider that will take the time to create a recommended parts list for you. Keeping spare parts on hand will help you when spare parts cannot be resourced in a timely manner.


In today’s world, technology capability is just as important as technology capabilities from your cable provider or mobile phone provider. Without it you are limiting yourself to the resources that are out there to make you and your equipment more efficient and reliable. What if you could get a text message sent to your phone every time your crane picked up over capacity, or if the motors were overheating? Would this be helpful to you? This type of technology is out there and ready for you to use. You just need to partner yourself with a company that has the resources to offer you tomorrow’s technology today.

Insurance is something that is often overlooked when companies pick a vendor for their crane servicing. It is still very important to ensure you have an insured company working on your premises. Crane servicing has a huge liability as you can imagine. If you choose the wrong company and an accident happens on site and the company is not insured, it could be very costly. Ask to be listed as additionally insured and get a copy of their Certificate of Liability prior to signing any contract. They should have more than just general liability insurance. Check for Automotive, Umbrella, and Workers Compensation.

When you pick a service company you are also picking a partner in your business whose job is to help you maximize your production, keep your facility safe for your employees, maximize your equipment life, and keep your equipment in compliance of federal and local regulations. Just because you have a crane service company in your facility, it does not mean they are meeting all these needs of yours. Ask the questions to make sure you have made the right decision with the company you have chosen to work on one of the most important pieces of machinery in your facility.