Monthly Archives: May 2018

Hugg & Hall Service Technician Among First to Complete Bobcat’s Platinum Certification

Tim Wilhite Among First to Complete Bobcat's Platinum Certification Program

Tim Wilhite (left)

Tim Wilhite, Service Technician at Hugg & Hall Equipment Company (Hugg & Hall), is among the first two people to have completed Bobcat Company’s platinum certified training path. Wilhite completed 43 web based training classes and 8 instructor-led training classes and is an official platinum certified technician.

“The Bobcat University is the best training system I have used,” said Wilhite. “The online classes are easy to understand and navigate. The hands-on class instructors are very knowledgeable and make learning easy. It is a great honor to be one of the first to complete platinum certification. I would like to thank Hugg and Hall for allowing me to participate in this training.”

Platinum path classes are the most advanced courses offered by the company and aren’t offered as frequently as those in the silver and gold learning paths, according to Bobcat’s website. The next platinum training classes will be offered in September.

Bobcat offers many training courses, via their training programs facilitated by Bobcat University, on Bobcat equipment and the electronic tools and computer systems used to maintain the equipment, according to their website. The training paths were created to guide technicians through the foundational classes (including basic electronics courses and traction control system courses) necessary to work on Bobcat machines with optimal performance.

Hugg & Hall strives to remain apprised of industry advancements and is committed to providing their dedicated professionals the necessary training to keep them at the forefront of their trade. The company congratulates Wilhite for the well-earned certification and thanks him for his hard work and dedication.  

How Telematic Technology is Transforming the Equipment Industry

How Telematic Technology is Transforming the Equipment Industry

The use of telematic technology, i.e. telematics, is transforming the way equipment companies manage and maintain their fleets. Telematics have streamlined workplace methodologies from equipment maintenance, reporting, safety/training procedures to operations and more. Telematics combines telecommunications with data processing, storage and retrieval systems. Equipment companies are exploring the capabilities of telematics and how the technology can support more efficient business practices.

How it works

Telematics can be used to track and assess vehicles and is spearheading innovation in the equipment industry. Recently, Matt Conner, Product Support Sales Representative at Hugg & Hall Equipment Company (Hugg & Hall), spoke on how the use of telematics is reshaping the industry.

“Telematics is a technological way to assist companies in managing their industrial equipment and/or fleet,” said Conner. “It allows accurate, up-to-date business metrics at a click of mouse.”

Telematic systems can be customized to fit the varied needs of users. One example of this is in construction versus industrial equipment needs. Construction equipment tends to require satellite-based systems because, locationally, internet-based systems would be more challenging and less reliable. Industrial equipment, often used in plants and warehouses, are often connected to Wi-Fi-based systems. Conner extrapolated on how the different methods are applied.

“The difference is, construction equipment is typically found at many different job sites, so it’s not always contained under one roof,” said Conner. “That’s why satellite is utilized for construction equipment because, using this system, equipment can be pinged anywhere in the U.S. Whereas, industrial equipment, such as forklifts, are typically found under one roof and usually can use Wi-Fi and the cloud to receive information and deliver it back to the portal.”

“It (telematics) allows people, and managers, to work more efficiently,” said Conner. “It keeps them off the floors and doesn’t require them to spend as much time with operators and equipment. They can basically generate reports off of production, utilization and other key components to better manage their fleet, and possibly, their operators.”

Before the implementation of telematics, equipment assessment required more physical time at job sites and with equipment. Telematics has significantly reduced travel and assessment requirements which, in turn, has increased efficacy and productivity rates.  

“Prior to telematics, if there was an issue with a piece of equipment, we had to go on site or rely on the customer to give us enough information to be able to assess issues with equipment and/or asset damage,” said Conner. “So this will free up a lot of our time and prevent us from traveling to unnecessary locations. A lot of customers, when we’re talking about contractors and construction equipment, may have twenty pieces and they might not know where that equipment is located so they might send you to Fayetteville and, in reality, it’s in Bella Vista or something like that. So we can use telematics to track locations and eliminate those issues.”

Safety features

Some capabilities of the technology include tracking operator training schedules, reminder features and safety goals; which can all be assembled in reports and exported for retention and metric tracing.

“So, there are several ways that telematics are affecting the construction and industrial equipment industry, with compliance being one,” said Conner. “On the compliance side, we can manage the equipment. We can actually recertify operator training all through the telematics system. This is tracked automatically, so if your company requires operators and trainers be trained every year, you can set up calendar reminder dates, things like that, so you know when to retrain the operators.”

Telematics is attractive to company safety departments because of the capability to incorporate compliance requirements and auto-track metrics which can then be recorded and saved digitally, which increases efficiency.

“I think that telematics naturally occurred with the development of technology but there were probably some driving forces behind it, too,” said Conner, referring to the implementation of telematic technology within equipment fleets. “I think safety departments were a big push for this because typically, with telematics, you can incorporate compliance checklists. So we’re getting away from the paper trail, everything can be filed online, in the cloud. So, as far as complying with OSHA, and some of the safety aspects of particular companies, it’s a lot more manageable with the telematics system.”

The future of telematics in the equipment industry

Telematic technology has transformed the way companies track maintenance schedules, assess impact damage, track operator productivity, meet compliance requirements, locate equipment and more. Telematics is expected to further progress and offer fleet owners more advanced features and capabilities.

“Telematics has already progressed quite a bit and I think that we’re really just at the beginning of it,” said Conner. “I think there’s going to come a time when you can purchase a telematics system that’s totally customizable, per specific customer needs. There’s some software out there now that will actually cause forklifts to slow down in certain areas, if you have a really highly trafficked pedestrian area in a plant for example, which minimizes accidents. Once the forklift goes into this location it will automatically slow down until it reaches certain parameters where it will then go back to standard operation.”

The full potential of telematic systems is yet to be seen, but is expected to continue progressing with the development of computer applications, improved processing power and fleet owner needs/expectations.

ANSI A92: NEW STANDARDS TO REQUIRE CUSTOMER EDUCATION, TRAINING & ENGAGEMENT

ANSI_ NEW REGULATIONS WILL REQUIRE CUSTOMER EDUCATION & TRAINING

Hugg & Hall Equipment Company (Hugg & Hall) is committed to transparency and keeping customers informed of industry updates/regulations to ensure successful transitions and positive experiences.

The importance of educating customers on impact of new standards

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is expected to release new standards for boom and scissor-type lifts, in the coming months. The updated standards have significant implications for the construction, equipment rental and equipment sales industries and will impact prices, training and operations. An important aspect of the implementation will be equipping customers for the change; both for awareness and preparation purposes.

The new regulations are replacing prior ANSI standards A92.3, A92.5, A92.6 and A92.8 which covered manually propelled aerial, booms, scissors and under-bridge inspection machines. The updates are focused on moving North American equipment toward current global standards. The updates to regulation will include: terminology changes, platform load sensing technology requirements, new wind force requirements, new stability testing, new railing height requirements and new platform entry requirements. ANSI and their Canadian counterpart, the Canadian Standards Authority (CSA), are moving toward equipment design standards that will bring North American equipment up-to-date with the current standards implemented in Europe to reduce global variances in the industry.

Educating customers is particularly important because of the, plausibly, profound impact that the new standards will have on equipment operation and prices (on compliant machines). Manufacturers will be forced to invest in production to supply compliant machines within the one-year from implementation limit and the new features and production costs will raise the prices of machines for direct buyers, including rental companies.

The precise impact of the new standards is yet to seen, but it’s clear that the standards will have a significant impact on prices, equipment operation and training procedures. Thus education will be very important to ensure a smooth transition for companies and their customers.

How training will play a part in the implementation of the new standards

Training is expected to play an integral part in the successful implementation of the new A92 standards. New training and familiarization requirements will be implemented under sections A92.22 and A92.24. A significant change to prior requirements is in the new requirement of training occupants and supervisors along with operators. In addition, online theory will be available as an option for operator training.

Occupant training will include the use of fall protection, stability factors, safe use of accessories, work procedures, hazard avoidance, manufacturer warnings/instructions, site risk assessment, general knowledge and basic operation comprehension.

Supervisor training will include proper equipment selection, potential hazards training, applicable rules/regulations/standards and manufacturer operation manuals.

Recently, James Lennartz, Training Manager at Hugg & Hall, spoke on the importance of training as it relates to the ANSI A92 updates.

“We need to make sure that our customers are prepared for the changes so that they do not lose valuable time on their projects,” said Lennartz. “Every single one of our customers are on time schedules to complete their projects and if they are not aware of the coming changes they have the potential to fall behind on the completion date and lose money; their delays cost their customers time and money. A vicious cycle.”

The standards specify requirements for application, inspection, training, maintenance, repair and safe operation of Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs) formally known as Aerial Work Platforms (AWPs), according to Lennartz.

“Our task as trainers is to ensure that our customers are aware of all changes and how they will affect their daily processes throughout the work day on each jobsite,” said Lennartz. “No one jobsite is the same nor are the conditions at which the MEWPs are being used by our customers. We need to make sure that both operators of MEWPs and their supervisors are able to safely operate and evaluate the use of MEWPs.”

Lennartz elaborated on how Hugg & Hall trainers are strategizing to accomplish these important goals.

“We hope to accomplish this by providing the necessary information in regards to the features, functions, safety devices, equipment limitations and operating characteristics as defined by the manufacturer, utilizing both the standards and operator manuals,” said Lennartz.    

The new ANSI standards will require more customer engagement, which is a primary reason customer education/training, leading up to the implementation of the standards, is essential.

“From what we are seeing the customer is going to have a bigger role in how their operators are using the MEWPs,” said Lennartz.

Customers are expected to be more involved in areas such as safe use planning, records retention, personnel qualifications, training requirements and rescue from height plans, according to Lennartz.

“Personnel operating MEWPs will be trained based on the classification of equipment that they will operate as equipment will be divided into different types and groups,” said Lennartz.

Though the new standards are yet to be released, the Hugg & Hall team is committed to keeping customers educated on upcoming industry changes and is dedicated to providing the needed support and resources.