We supply a lot of equipment for environmental research in the UK and overseas and the one constant – whether you have a water level logger or sophisticated telemetry system – equipment can go wrong. We constantly remind our customers that no equipment is infallible but it is how you deal with equipment failure that sets you apart from other suppliers. We don’t under-promise and over-deliver, we try and work with you to ensure you get the right equipment for a job – it is fit for purpose, you understand how it works and we are on-hand to help should things go wrong.
Why we’re keen to talk about this is to make it easier for you when you’re onsite, up against a deadline and desperate to get accurate results – please expect to take some time to get to know your equipment. We know we are all used to and expect our mobile phone to work wherever we are in the UK. We can download our emails and read them from our smartphones, even do the weekly shop with the Tesco App; we can type in a postcode into a sat-nav and find our way, door-to-door, to the remotest of locations but we have probably invested time and energy to use our phone to this level. When you are on site with your new environmental equipment which you may never have seen/used before you may also be battling the elements rather than be operating it from the comfort of your office. Your colleagues may never have used this equipment before so, all things considered, far from ideal conditions!
So it is worth remembering if your site is in a remote location and your mobile phone won’t work then neither will a telemetry system. Your sophisticated water quality meter will need to be kept clean, warm, dry and regularly calibrated to ensure accuracy each time, every time. Your level logger, inserted 50m down a well, will need regular checks to ensure your data is being recorded. Rodents may find your cabling extremely tasty and beware vandals can be bovine as well as the usual hooded variety!
What we are trying to say is when you begin a project we recommend you assess the risk of equipment failure as: very severe, severe, moderate, low at the outset of project planning, through to full blown crisis management or data redundancy plans, an example of which is the duplication and sometimes triplication of computers in aircraft.
At Van Walt we like to have this discussion with you at the earliest opportunity in the order process, whether for rental or purchase, so we can work together to find a cost effective solution. Our message is: if we know the severity of the potential negative impact to you we can cost a potential solution.
Of course you may suggest that each project is critical but we want to come to an understanding on the severity a malfunction might create… death threatening, loss of future business, risks to humans or ecological risks, financial penalties…. only by scaling like this is it possible to assess the extent of mitigation that should be offered and costed out. For example we can:
– duplicate equipment at preferential rates
– supply equipment earlier to avoid start delays
– provide telemetry as an early warning of data retrieval
– send rental equipment early at reduced rental rates
– visit you on site for training or installation advice to ensure you are up and running instantly
– help you pre-install software or prepare equipment in the office prior to deployment.
All or a combination of these is possible if we know, in advance, the details of your project. So if we interrogate you during initial discussions our motive is purely to assess your exact requirements.
For more detail on this subject download our Information Sheet – Project Critical Procedures.