A few months ago, my trusty minivan that has rarely needed any repairs, suddenly became a money pit. Something was clicking…off to the mechanic. It’s pulling to the right…off to the mechanic. What’s that grinding noise? Off to the mechanic. I was frustrated. What is going on with this car? The mechanic let me know that my van is in the final quarter of its lifespan. If I had paid attention to what a typical life expectancy for my vehicle was, I could have anticipated that repairs would likely have been needed around this time.
This scenario applies to managing your financial equipment as well. How can you use information or data to drive your decision-making, help predict upcoming maintenance expenses and manage your expectations of equipment life cycles? Here are 3 benefits of using data to help manage your equipment:
Let’s say you have a coin sorter in your lobby. Do you know what is the normal and customary service experience for this piece of equipment? Knowing the industry standard for a piece of equipment can be extremely helpful in managing expectations of repair costs and expense predictability. Also, it can help you assess whether equipment is underperforming or is requiring too much maintenance.
Some data points that can be helpful include:
- Service Events: how many can you expect the coin sorter to require vs. how many it’s currently requiring
- Age: knowing the age of your equipment lends predictability to your expectations of its performance
- Life cycle status: every piece of equipment has an expected life span. Once you know the age of your coin sorter, you will know where it falls on that spectrum and be able to predict whether you are approaching a point of increased maintenance needs and related expenses. This information can help you anticipate and plan around downtime.
It can certainly be tempting when a new, multi-purpose, shiny piece of equipment hits the market. Understanding the data behind a new purchase can help you plan realistically for maintenance costs and expected service events. The very “newness” of an item may result in an increased maintenance costs.
Here’s an example: If you purchase a new advanced technology ATM machine, parts will likely be expensive. The more elaborate the technology, the more ways in which the item can break down. You may even see an increase in charges for service events due to the advanced skillsets required of technicians.
Getting your hands on this information before making a purchase or upgrade can be tricky. Reaching out to multiple providers for estimates on service (labor and parts) costs is one way to gather the information. Equips has the advantage of access to multiple service providers and service event histories, which allows us to advise clients about how many service events they may have if they upgrade a piece of equipment. Either way, it is worth the effort to make sure your equipment’s performance, life span and related cost expectations of the new equipment are realistic.
ALIGNING EQUIPMENT WITH STRATEGIC GOALS
Now let’s talk about how data can help you take a strategic view of your equipment, rather than going with a one-size fits all approach. We have found that it can be immensely beneficial to think about a branch profile and how you equip it in a unified, “big picture” way.
We like to think about equipment in the same way you may think about staffing a branch. It’s important to have the right people, with the right skills within a branch. The same is true with equipment. Too often equipment purchases are made in siloed, departmental ways (e.g., the IT department buys printers and copiers, the CFO buys coin sorters, etc.) rather than in a strategically planned way that aligns with the needs of the branch.
Digging into equipment data pays off in the form of more accurate budgeting, realistic expectations and increased branch efficiency. The end goal is to ensure equipment stays up and running and that your operations are not impeded by unnecessary equipment downtime. Data can be your secret weapon in achieving those goals.