One of the great pleasures of talking to people about Medic52 and MountainOffice is that I have had the opportunity to talk to many wonderful people and see the inside of mountain operations from the biggest ski areas to the very small.
Recently I was working with a small ski area developing their work schedules to use with MountainOffice. This was a small ski area, one aerial lift, one groomer and 15 snow guns. When I had completed the review of the manufacturer’s manuals and code requirements and developed the necessary work schedules, this small ski area had 460 required work schedules for preventive maintenance and required testing. These schedules had to be planned, managed, and performed by two individuals, and really the management of them is done by one individual; a fairly demanding task
Counter to that, a large ski area having gone through the same process; one detachable quad lift yielded 738 work schedules. Granted this ski area has a lift maintenance manager and a team of lift technicians to perform the work required.
The takeaway for me after completing these two exercises at the same time is there is an amazing amount of information that has to be scheduled, tracked, managed and recorded and yes work performed within a lift maintenance department.
But it isn’t just lift maintenance that has a significant amount of work to track, the similar situation relates to snowmaking and vehicle maintenance. In one vehicle maintenance shop I worked with, there were 215 pieces of equipment from trucks and buses, groomers to snow blowers that the vehicle maintenance manager had to manage and maintain.
Snowmaking can be as similarly complex, especially since the ski world has become more and more dependent on these systems; from pumps, compressors, cooling towers, booster pumps, snow gun hydrants, fan guns and the infamous infrastructure of piping, valves, and bunkers. I say infamous as many of these infrastructures have been built over time, many with no documentation, so what is in the ground or the psi rating of a specific valve is often a guess.
There are many ways those responsible for maintenance try to keep this vast amount of detail organized. I sell one of those, MountainOffice, a system uniquely design for the ski industry. But that point aside, the point I want to make here is that the management of this level of detail is a responsibility that cannot be minimized or downgraded in importance. However, there are many instances where the importance of this responsibility is downplayed. Yes, maybe recognized, but when it comes to committing resources very often downplayed by those who have no comprehension of the complexity of the maintenance required and the amount of detail required to be tracked and recorded.
The awareness responsibility falls on all who have to manage and do the maintenance. The case has to be made both from a customer experience perspective and the risk assessment perspective. The impact of imperfect maintenance and a lack of record keeping doesn’t need to be elaborated on, all of us are fully aware of the potential consequences. The cost to do it right no matter the system is inconsequential compared to the downside.