Ditch Witch Orange Armor Program Reduces Downtime, Increases Equipment Value
The Charles Machine Works (CMW), Inc., manufacturer of Ditch Witch underground construction equipment, now offers a flexible planned maintenance program that helps customers protect their investment in Ditch Witch equipment.
Available to customers through participating Ditch Witch dealerships, the Orange Armor planned maintenance program offers a variety of ways to keep Ditch Witch equipment in peak operating condition. One of the signature benefits of the Orange Armor program is planned maintenance at factory-suggested intervals, which minimizes downtime due to unanticipated repairs.
“We started [Orange Armor] to help customers better anticipate what their routine maintenance costs would be up front,” says CMW’s Jayson Shields, manager of parts and service business development. “This allows them to be more proactive about repairs and other things that can cause downtime.”
Shields says the Orange Armor program is designed to be flexible, so customers can choose as much or as little protection as they want. “Ditch Witch dealers can customize a program to a specific equipment model and usage,” says Shields. “This can be a long-term plan or an as-needed plan.”
A long-term Orange Armor planned maintenance program involves alerting the customer when a factory-suggested service interval is scheduled. One way to schedule maintenance is through use of a GPS device that keeps track of the equipment’s hours of operation. This is an optional Orange Armor service that Shields highly recommends.
“The GPS system can be programmed to track the equipment’s location, engine hours and operational hours,” says Shields. “When the equipment reaches a recommended maintenance interval, the dealer contacts the customer, by phone or email, to schedule service. This takes all the guesswork out of when maintenance should be performed, and gives the customers peace of mind.”
Shields says another benefit of the GPS service is the capability to set up a “virtual fence,” which sends out an alert when the equipment is moved outside of a designated area, helping to prevent equipment theft. A GPS device can be installed on many types and brands of equipment—not just Ditch Witch equipment—and on a variety of on- and off-road vehicles, such as service trucks.
Routine maintenance can sometimes reveal other equipment issues that customers need to know about. “When [our dealer service technicians] perform service, they are trained to also inspect the machine for any issues that might be developing, and they also can check to see if the machine is in compliance with all factory updates,” says Shields.
Authorized Ditch Witch dealers are extensively trained in the sales, service, and support of Ditch Witch equipment. Dealer training now includes developing Orange Armor planned maintenance programs for their customers.
“We bring in Ditch Witch dealers for a two-day seminar on how to construct a good Orange Armor program,” says Shields. “We stress that a successful [program] requires an agreement with the customer to do regular inspections as suggested by the operator’s manual.
“The ultimate goal of the Orange Armor planned maintenance program is to make the customer feel more confident and to minimize surprises. For customers, [Orange Armor] can lower their operating costs, reduce their unplanned downtime, ensure that their equipment is going to work more productively, and extend equipment life. Another substantial benefit of Orange Armor is that it can increase the equipment’s resale value.”
Among the other benefits that dealers may offer through an Orange Armor program are free pick up and delivery of equipment, reduced rental rates on replacement equipment, in-field service, and extended warranties.
Results of a survey from a recent Ditch Witch equipment seminar indicate that a planned maintenance program is important to many customers when they’re deciding what equipment to buy. Of those surveyed, 40 percent said planned maintenance was either “somewhat important” or “very important” when considering an equipment purchase; 41 percent actually purchased a planned maintenance program with their equipment; and 87 percent said a planned maintenance program was worthwhile.
To make Orange Armor programs easier for dealers to build, scheduled maintenance forms and safety inspection checklists for each piece of Ditch Witch equipment are available through the company’s dealer website.
Dealerships can also benefit greatly from the Orange Armor program.
“[Orange Armor] helps dealerships grow their parts and service business and helps them sell more equipment,” says Shields. “It builds customer loyalty and differentiates the dealer from the competition. And with more regularly scheduled maintenance, dealers can level out their service work flow.”
Jake Sadler, Ditch Witch of West Texas sales manager, is definitely sold on the mutual benefits of the Orange Armor program. “A planned maintenance agreement assures that the customer buys all parts and labor from us,” says Sadler. “And, every time customers call ahead to schedule maintenance, they always have us bring something else that they need, like replacement parts. This results in additional sales.”