Landscape contractors: never underestimate the importance of equipment maintenance!
If equipping landscaping contractor crews with correct work gear and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is obvious, the reasons for maintaining it are less so. This problem was discussed at Paysalia 2017 where S20 Equipments presented its innovation - a drying cabinet specifically designed to care for landscaping gear. S20 Equipments Sales Manager Cyrille Loiseau explains why it should be a crucial issue for landscape contractors.
Paysalia: For 60 years you have been an expert garment washing and drying equipment manufacturer. How did you get interested in landscaping?
Cyrille Loiseau, in front of the drying cabinet S20 Equipments[/caption] Cyrille Loiseau: We were used to working as subcontractors to laboratories, research departments, etc. and wanted to develop our own product. We are experts in the aerodynamics of drying so we set out to discover other sectors which could be interested in what we sell. This is how we found the landscaping contractor and public authority’s equipment market - clothing and PPE.
We studied the market and learnt that nobody seemed to use their lunch break to dry equipment before returning to work in the field. And putting on wet clothes is unpleasant! Based on this report, we created a solution - our drying cabinet which dries landscape contractors’ equipment in 45 min.
What are the consequences of badly maintained overalls?
The first consequence is that it is very disagreeable to put on wet clothes. The wearer stiffens up, which can lead to Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WRMSDs) - and somewhat reduces enthusiasm for getting back to work! What currently seems to motivate purchases of our cabinets is the need to reduce absences due to sick leave and to improve working conditions for employees as this positively impacts performance. In the longer term, we also aim to maintain the quality and extend landscape contractors’ equipment service life significantly reduced by bad maintenance. Without appropriate drying facilities, landscape contractors may wash clothing and PPE more often than necessary to eliminate odors. Excessive washing causes damage. Lastly, there is the risk of bacterial proliferation. Working outdoors and not drying clothing correctly creates a favorable breeding ground for bacteria. We have met public authorities who have special, separate equipment drying rooms. But even with good fan ventilation, bacteria will develop if the room is heated! This is why our cabinet features ozone treatment. And doesn’t need a separate room!
Are your target groups becoming more aware of these problems?
These problems are no longer marginal - more and more landscape contractor owners, managers and crew leaders know about the benefits of effective clothing and PPE maintenance. And they are just as interested in extending equipment service life as employee comfort. They have all understood that performance, effectiveness and productivity are all improved when workers feel good. However, as the type of material we market is not yet well known, we must first and foremost educate the profession. Some managers have never worried about the importance of the maintenance of landscape contractors’ equipment. Others have already thought about it but do not yet know that solutions exist.
At Paysalia 2017, your drying cabinet won a Paysalia Innovations Trophy. What feedback have you had concerning your invention?
We had enormous interest from visitors. Our innovation was recognized, in particular for its technological aspect, but also for its human aspect, because our prime argument is the comfort of crews working out of doors. The members of Unep highlighted both concepts to motivate their choice. We use this award in our product advertising and promotion. And what is extremely positive is that nobody has ever said that our invention was a bad idea!
We would like to thank Cyrille Loiseau from S20 Equipments for his time and expertise.
Photo credit: © Tomasz Zajda / stock.adobe.com