Now is not the time to delay maintenance

The current COVID-19 pandemic is making us realise just how much we owe to our key workers – not just in healthcare, but also in supermarkets, warehouses, public transport and deliveries, and countless other environments.

However, spare a thought for the infrastructures that also matter deeply. If we’re locked down and isolated, we depend on our home IT and communications not just for working or keeping our businesses afloat, but also for the virtual gatherings with our family and friends so vital to our mental wellbeing in these strange and unsettling times. Beyond these immediately visible circumstances, availability of IT and communications systems for emergency services and delivery logistics is more than ever essential.

Maintenance cannot be ignored

Regular maintenance is always critical but right now maintenance of your data centre’s internal equipment, including its UPSs, generators and emergency lighting switchgear, should be stepped up rather than relaxed. This will ensure that your equipment remains fit to handle the current elevated demand, while latent faults are cleared before they can cause system failures.

However, is this desirable scenario currently achievable? Are equipment vendors still willing and able to supply the necessary support? After all, they need to keep their own and their customers’ employees safe. Nevertheless, with careful thought and planning it is still possible to offer a modified support service; one that does ensure employee safety while also abiding by relevant authorities’ recommendations.

A support strategy for the current situation

Accordingly, Kohler Uninterruptible Power (KUP) has developed a strategy to help organisations achieve business continuity, covering both maintenance and project services. Our remote monitoring services – PowerNSURE for batteries, PowerREPORTER for UPSs, and Remote Generator Monitoring System – are still online, and obviously attractive parts of any maintenance package in the current situation.

Meanwhile, employee activities and on site visits are also continuing, subject to the new strategy requirements. All employees’ business movements are being reviewed, with appropriate measures in place regarding business or personal travel, or in the event of any self-isolation requirements. For internal employees, we have set up home working for as many as possible, while implementing appropriate segregation measures within our warehouse and workshops. Normal phone numbers remain in use, with provision for contract customers, emergency calls and escalation procedures.

KUP’s policies are designed to prevent any employee attending site if suspected of posing a risk to customers, and our Field Service Engineers have been instructed regarding the risks and best practice in relation to COVID-19, including dynamic risk assessment and Safe Methods of Work. This includes assessing any environment they attend for its working safety, and being empowered to leave any site they consider unsafe.

While we currently expect to complete all scheduled and ongoing works, KUP recognises that our Service team may at some point become depleted through self-isolation or illness. They may also be called on at short notice to attend critical equipment for hospitals and other emergency services. To accommodate this, we ask for our customers’ understanding if we need some flexibility in fulfilling a visit date.

Similarly, Area Sales Managers and their internal support team will continue to support customers with their projects to avoid creating delays. We can convert face to face meetings to phone or video conferences, and site audits to guided video tours.

Overall, we will do whatever we realistically can to ensure our customers’ personal safety and economic wellbeing, and look forward to enjoying better times together in the future.

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