SCARBOROUGH, Maine -- Hannaford Bros. here is detecting problem areas in equipment maintenance more quickly, using a new maintenance software system with strong tracking and reporting capabilities.
By analyzing reports created by the system, the retailer can detect and verify patterns early on to address them with the service vendor and/or manufacturer. The retailer's goal is to use this information to ultimately reduce its repair costs.
The system, installed in mid-June, tracks repairs and maintenance on refrigeration systems, buildings and equipment -- including ovens, forklifts and compactors -- for Hannaford's 143 stores.
"By the end of the third quarter, we hope to start seeing reductions in certain types of problems, which would result in reduced dollars spent on repair costs," said Tim Ellsworth, mechanical services operations manager at Hannaford. "If the correct preventative maintenance is done, we should have less service calls," which translates into less money spent on repair costs.
As an example, Ellsworth pointed to maintenance calls over the Fourth of July holiday weekend this year.
"We had a dispatcher in the office taking calls and we ran a report for those three days," he said. "My hunch was that most of the calls would be for meat wrappers. When I came in Monday, we ran a report and sure enough they were. We had nine calls for one manufacturer's meat wrappers. Six of those calls were serviced by two of their offices.
"So Monday we called those two offices and asked why preventative maintenance isn't being done and what the problem is," he explained.
According to Ellsworth,"We pinpointed the problem with the vendor so they could address the issue. Our system helped us get to the root of the problem."
In previous, situations, Hannaford would have had to wait until it got the service invoices from the vendor. The retailer would not have picked up on the problem until it reviewed the invoices as much as two weeks later.
Ellsworth said the new maintenance software, from A. Cook Associates, Thetford Center, Vt., does a much better job than its previous system at tracking repairs and costs associated with those repairs.
Ellsworth added that the new Windows-based, menu-driven system reflects the language used in the supermarket business, making it user-friendly for the dispatchers fielding repair calls.