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ASCO Doubles Preventive Maintenance Jobs With Mobile Lube System

Wed January 05, 2022 - West Edition

ASCO upgraded to a Sage Oil Vac class 5 lube truck in 2020.
ASCO upgraded to a Sage Oil Vac class 5 lube truck in 2020.

The name Associated Supply Company Inc. (ASCO) carries a lot of weight in Texas.

With 23 locations across the Lone Star State (and one more in New Mexico for good measure), the family-owned heavy-equipment dealership has been delivering steadfast support for more than 60 years. It sells and rents equipment, and provide parts and service for construction, agriculture, material handling, oil and gas, local governments, landscaping and infrastructure.

Talk to any of ASCO's 600-plus team members and you'll understand the secret to its success. First, ASCO is committed to being a blessing to those it serves. Second, it knows what's on the line for its customers. Third, it strives to be the first call customers make when they have an equipment need.

ASCO's business foundation is comprised of respect, understanding and responsiveness. It's fairly simple when you think about it.

Of course, it also helps when your dealership group represents top-notch brands of equipment. The ASCO lineup is a real "who's who" list of premium original equipment manufacturers (OEMs): Case Construction, Case IH, Doosan, Volvo, Cat Lift Trucks, Crown, Genie, JCB, JLG, MCFA and several other lines of construction, agriculture and material handling equipment and contractor supplies.

"We take a lot of pride in offering a wide range of new and pre-owned equipment from brands that you trust," said Monty Bonjour, branch manager of the Amarillo location. "But our customers are buying more than equipment. They're investing their trust in ASCO and our people, counting on us to keep them up and running."

Machines Mean Maintenance

Preventive maintenance (PM) is the name of the game in the heavy-equipment industry and the Amarillo service crew keeps busy. Cranes. Loaders. Dozers. Excavators. You name it. In addition to selling equipment, ASCO also has a sizeable rental division. That's good for business, but creates challenges when it comes to keeping up with PM schedules.

For instance, between sold equipment in the field and rental units on the lot, the Amarillo location is responsible for a $16 million-fleet — or approximately 500 pieces of equipment. A few years back, this created a major bottleneck in the service department. Things have changed for the better since the company purchased a Sage Oil Vac trailer in 2016.

Impressed with the results but wanting even more capacity, it upgraded to a Sage Oil Vac class 5 lube truck in 2020.

"Since we were servicing our rental fleet as well as our customers' equipment, we were having a hard time keeping up with the preventive maintenance aspect of the business," said Bonjour. "But since purchasing a Sage Oil Vac trailer, and then later a lube truck, we have gone from doing one PM a day to three PMs a day. That's had a major impact on our business."

The efficiencies are spread across different areas of the business. For starters, a technician can now service multiple pieces of equipment (usually three or four machines) on a single customer trip, which leads to labor and fuel savings with fewer technicians making fewer trips. Next, the faster oil and fluid changes made possible by the Sage Oil Vac fluid exchange system allows the technicians to perform a thorough inspection of the equipment and identify potential issues. Lastly, ASCO enjoys some savings from bulk oil purchases and disposal of waste oil.

Fewer Pumps, More Efficiency

Sage Oil Vac equipment also can be found at the ASCO location in Lubbock, where 90 percent of the service work it performs is PM offered through the Case Construction Equipment 2-year/2,000-hour service package known as PROCARE. Previously, the service crew was using an older trailer system that featured pneumatic pumps. When brancher manager Daniel Schueler and service manager Justin Parker saw a Sage Oil Vac trailer at the ASCO Amarillo branch, they knew it was time to get one.

"The Sage Oil Vac trailer just looked so much cleaner than what we were used to," said Schueler. "Once you understand how the system works and see it in operation, it makes perfect sense why Sage Oil Vac trailers are faster and cleaner. It's an all-around more efficient system than what we were previously using."

According to Parker, the pneumatic pump system took twice as long to perform an oil or fluid exchange. Plus, it presented numerous safety and operational challenges for technicians, such as having to lug around 5-gallon jugs of oil.

"On the old system, our techs had to literally get up on the trailer to load oil, which as you can imagine, isn't very safe," said Parker. "Carrying around heavy canisters of oil is like begging for a back injury. Plus, there was always a risk of someone dropping oil on the jobsite. The Sage Oil Vac system eliminates all of these concerns."

Aside from operational advantages, Sage Oil Vac class 5 lube trucks and trailers have no CDL requirements, which helps when it comes to personnel considerations. This is especially important as qualified labor becomes increasingly harder to find, train and retain, according to Parker.

"Our technicians are always excited to hook onto the trailer and drive along to the next PM job. It's what keeps us running."

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