Keeping score

Columns - Nuts & Bolts

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June 7, 2016
Paul F. Grayson

As an equipment manager/maintenance shop manager I needed to find a way to show the superintendent what the value of the maintenance shop is to the Crown Golf Club. Traditionally the shop was considered nothing more than an expense the course could not get away from and needed to be reduced or eliminated. The alternative to having a maintenance shop is to farm out all critical maintenance and repair tasks to other shops such as the equipment dealer. Sending the work out is not only inconvenient, it is much more expensive. Suddenly, I got the idea to change our focus and start reporting how much the shop saved each day.

Real numbers. To get real numbers to work with I started by getting competitive quotes from outside shops on how much they would charge to do specific tasks and what their shop time charge is. That is when I discovered how much a bargain having our own shop really is. Here is a typical day last week:

Sweepster repairs. The generic gear box I ordered was half the price of the last remaining custom made gear box at the dealer. Oh, by the way, the generic gear box was made by the same company that made the original gear box for the sweeper company — $550 saved.

Tap & die set layout. Someone helping in the shop broke a tap. It happens. To see what taps and dies I have, I arranged them by size, coarse thread along the bottom row, fine thread along the top row. I discovered the set is complete and the broken tap was an extra. Not having to buy a new tap — $6.50 saved.

Ball picker. Oddly, as it turns out, buying the whole roller as an assembly is about $30 less each than buying the parts separately. I bought three replacement assemblies — $90 saved.

Door closer problems. The weather, radio interference from LED bulbs, sheet metal on the building and cold weather acting on the batteries in the outdoor key pads made them unreliable and frustrating to use. Past door company service calls only solved the problems for a short while. Purchasing two old fashioned wired keypads and installing them ourselves made all the problems go away. The wired keypads have their backup battery inside the building, and have a “program/operate” switch at ground level so no tall ladder is needed to change the codes. The wired key pads have a slimmer profile, nice positive feel to the buttons, have a light that tells you they are working, and the door opens or closes promptly. They are a joy to use. No door company service call needed to solve the problem— $294 saved.

Radio failure. The rear door closer’s radio quit working. The replacement was an easy to install plug in the power outlet unit with a wire running to the wall push button connection on the door closer. The maintenance shop crew installed it saving the cost of a door company service call — $98 saved.

Out of warranty mower modification. The original battery pack had failed and needed replaced. The original style batteries because of where they were located could not be accessed for testing or troubleshooting. I chose to replace them with the same kind of battery the mower uses for starting. While they are the same weight and located close to where the original batteries were, they are easily accessible for testing, troubleshooting, visual inspection, etc. The new batteries were on sale for a third of the price of the original style — $260 saved.

Other advantages. Beyond the dollars saved, there is real value in being able to repair a mower in a few minutes and get it back out mowing again rather than shipping it off and waiting days before you get it back — Priceless.

This day’s total. All this totals a savings of about $1,298.50, and while the repairs are different every day, my goal is to save more than what I am paid each day. While savings is not income, only sales can create income, money saved does show up in the bottom line figure. In this example, the shop saved over a thousand dollars in one day. OK, I know the beverage cart girl can bring in a similar amount each day in sales, but you really do need both to keep the course running smoothly. Right? GCI

Paul F. Grayson is the Equipment Manager for the Crown Golf Club in Traverse City, Mich., a position he’s held for the past decade. Previously, he spent 8½ years as the equipment manager at Grand Traverse Resort & Spa. Prior to that, he worked as a licensed ships engine officer sailing the Great Lakes and the oceans of the world.