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At CarWash College™, we stress the fact that one of the most important ways to satisfy customers and increase throughput is by eliminating down time. In our Maintenance course we provide you with the blue print to making a solid maintenance schedule that will help eliminate that down time. However, there are instances when, no matter how well you maintain the equipment, it still fails. And as the majority of experienced operators will tell you, it happens at the most inopportune time.
Today we will look at replacing the drive end components of your conveyor and minimize the amount of down time to be expected while performing the repair. Also, we will compare the costs of the equipment versus the loss of profit accrued during said amount of time.
When replacing the gear box on an over-under conveyor, the estimated amount of time from start to finish assuming no problems is usually between three to four hours. Unless you predict a problem and replace the gear box after hours, before the problem reveals itself, you will most likely be performing this repair during business hours.
As Murphy's Law would predict, if your gear box can go bad on a very busy Saturday, it will. On such a Saturday, depending on your location's volume, you could wash in excess of 120 cars per hour at a ticket average of $17 per car. This could equate to a loss of $8,000 during the four hours estimated to complete the repair. At a much lower volume car wash, 60 cars per hour on a busy Saturday at $15 per car could equate to a $3,000 loss of revenue. This is not including the amount of dollars lost from potential life customers.
For a fraction of the cost, you could pre assemble the gear box, mounting plate, taper lock bushing and sprocket to have it ready to install, significantly decreasing the down time. A typical gear box, sun gear and mounting plate will cost around $900 depending on where it is purchased. The sprocket and taper lock bushing should cost around $120. So, for about $1,000 you have a ready to install drive end assembly.
Having the pre assembled drive end components you can decrease the repair time by more than half, giving you an average down time of less than an hour. By doing so, you could see savings in excess of $2,000 - $7,000 which will pay for the parts and then some. Not only did you prevent the loss of thousands of dollars but also the loyalty of your lifetime customers.
Wes Rowe is a Training Instructor for CarWash College™. Wes can be reached at WRowe@carwashcollege.com. For more information about CarWash College™ certification programs, visit www.carwashcollege.com, or call the registrar's office at 866-492-7422.