Day in and day out, the IceMasters team goes out to facilities due to operational issues (this is, of course, the main service we provide). Time and time again many of these facilities do not preform preventative maintenance on their equipment or do not have proper maintenance teams who have the proper knowledge to resolve problems instead of masking them. While this is great for our business, as breakdown repairs are far more costly than preventative maintenance repairs, this is not great for your business.
The following are just a few examples of the types of challenges and issues we are able to help our customers with every day:
1. Supermarket refrigeration repair and reprogramming
A call came in last summer from a small independent grocery store on a Friday afternoon. They were in a panic as they had fired their current provider and were unable to find someone to come and look at their equipment. We took the call and found that they had fired their provider for a good reason as they were in over their heads, big time!
The unit was crashing due to overheating. We found one dead compressor, three dead condenser fan motors, and a slew of programming issues. Just to put out the fire and get things running properly again was weeks of work and close to $45,000 in parts and labor. This particular customer was a little leery that we may not be much different than their previous provider, which was understandable considering the costs and time spent on the last company’s sub-standard results. We proposed a maintenance contract but they wanted to wait and try us out a bit, which was more than fair.
Like most grocery stores, they had coffin-style freezers (waist height, open-top) – these cases are notorious for freezing up. The customer was made to believe that it was normal for his staff to pull all their product out every two weeks and wash ice build-up from the cases. This went on for years; just imagine the cost of this in man-hours alone!
The problem was solved by simply programming a correct defrost schedule. These cases have not been washed out manually since (going on 11 months now). After the main problem was fixed, we found and resolved a similar problem with 48’ of produce case in the same store. This customer now has trust in our abilities; he also has a maintenance contract, a finely-tuned store, and is one of our best customers to date.
2. The right design and equipment for the job
We received a call last summer that a customer’s facility was not maintaining temperature. The facility was a million-dollar production plant and only a few months old. After getting our bearings at their plant, we could see immediately why they were not getting temperature: a major design flaw.
Being diligent, we took multiple measurements and calculated some loads, only to find that they had about one-third of the horsepower they required to get their target temperature. We double- and triple-checked the math, to find that they were way undersized. In addition, the units were all air-cooled yet were installed in a small upstairs room which was extremely hot.
Thankfully they had multiple facilities and we were able to use the equipment in this facility at one of their smaller locations while replacing it with larger equipment at this location. Although this was still very costly, the operational benefits in the immediate and long run far outweighed the costs. In this particular scenario, the customer’s main facility was a long way out of town which meant they did not get multiple companies to quote the original job and just went with the “local guy”. The “local guy” is no longer in business!
Always, always, always research what you are doing and who is doing it for you, and never go with the cheapest quote. It’s cheap because either they are cutting corners or they are selling you substandard equipment. If you want years of trouble free and correct operation spend the money up front, or don’t, but we guarantee you will be spending it one way or another!
3. Distribution centre maintenance neglect
In a recent call from a large North American distribution company, we were asked to provide a second opinion on a quote that was from a large nation wide refrigeration company. The distribution centre was not on a maintenance plan of any kind, and did not pay much attention to their large refrigeration/cooling infrastructure.
After three service calls, two propositions to start a much needed maintenance plan, and countless unexpected findings, this company finally realized that they needed to pay more attention to their refrigeration systems.
Read the whole preventative maintenance case study for the detailed story. As it turns out we now have a great relationship and preventative maintenance schedule with this company and are pleased to take care of their refrigeration needs so they can focus on their core business operations.
If you are unsure about your company’s refrigeration status, calling a trusted professional is an invaluable decision. A simple preventative maintenance plan can save you downtime, money, and countless un-needed headaches.