Now, more than ever, it’s important for financial institutions to keep costs predictable and people safe. Conducting preventative maintenance regularly, on all equipment helps businesses protect the longevity of the equipment itself, and also ensures customers and employees are using clean machines.
At Equips, our goal is to help business operations be as efficient as possible. One of the many ways we do this is improving companies’ ability to perform maintenance. In this document, we’ll look at preventative maintenance as a key part of operational successes—especially for financial equipment at banks and credit unions.
Since all pieces of financial equipment are unique and have different uses, there isn’t a single rule or process for preventative maintenance that can be applied to all types of machines. There are, however, some basic guidelines to consider.
General preventative maintenance involves the cleaning of equipment to keep dust, dirt, or foreign objects from building up and damaging sensors or mechanisms.
This maintenance can be completed by a service provider when on a service call, separate call, or annual visit; or it can be completed by branch staff doing regular equipment checks (usually performed monthly or quarterly).
When a service provider is onsite, they usually do the following:
Run equipment to verify it is working correctly (if not, they will repair the unit as needed)
Clean the unit (wipe down screens, vacuum out dirty/dusty areas, remove debris)
Retest all processes (to verify all is now working correctly)
Depending on the complexity of the machine and the accessibility of its design, this kind of basic cleaning may be done just as easily by branch staff as they would by a professional. This can allow for more frequent maintenance that is less expensive than calling someone in for service.
A maintenance plan is key
Regular preventative maintenance has been proven to prolong the life of expensive financial equipment, increasing its lifetime ROI. However, perhaps more important, it can reduce breakages and downtime. Consistent maintenance ensures the units are up and running so you can always provide customers/members with efficient services and not create service bottlenecks for branch staff.
Using staff to conduct regular maintenance can be particularly important for machines that receive heavy use and are prone to minor issues (be sure to read the “Insider’s Experience” later in the document to see an example).
Depending on the machine, basic maintenance by staff may be the only way to ensure a high amount of uptime. If a machine is dependent on professional servicing, it is locked by the technician’s schedule—which can mean days of waiting and disrupted customer service each time it needs servicing. In fact, the machine may spend so much time out of order, that customers/members simply stop trying to visit your branch when they need to use it.
Keep in mind!
When a staff member cleans or conducts preventative maintenance on a piece of equipment, they need to take their time. If they are not familiar with the workings of the piece of equipment, the “maintenance” could do more harm than good. For instance, teller cash recyclers (TCRs) can get extremely dusty from the money being run through the components. Using an air compressor or vacuum can work to quickly remove this buildup. However, there are extremely expensive parts inside TCRs that are difficult to replace. If one of these broke from careless cleaning or too much stress from the cleaning tools, the machine may not only cost a lot to repair, it may take quite a bit of time to obtain and install the replacement parts.
During the holiday season, the equipment at banks and credit unions are heavily used and financial institution staff does not have much downtime for projects. However, in January, things may slow down and offer the opportunity for extra projects. These slower times of the year are an opportunity to have staff practice basic machine upkeep and create an annual maintenance schedule to maximize the efficiency and longevity of the equipment.
Preventative maintenance checklist
Over our years of experience, Equips has found that preventative maintenance is particularly important to certain pieces of equipment. For these items, preemptive work can drastically improve usage and uptime… > FREE DOWNLOAD HERE!
To find more tips about maintaining financial equipment, check out what our experts have shared on other pieces of equipment. Our series, “Financial Equipment Tips & Tricks” provides more details on helpful ways to keep your equipment in peak condition. Click on the equipment below to learn more preventative maintenance tricks for your financial institution.
- How to Clean a Check Scanner
- Tips for Drive-Up Equipment
- Tips for Self Service Coin Sorter Machines
- Anti-Skimming Devices Complete Guide
- Free Equipment Maintenance Calendar
– By Kara Guse, CUDE
I’ve been in the financial industry for over 25 years—the last 14 years were spent serving multiple roles at a credit union. At our branch, preventative maintenance was a huge part of our equipment strategy. Some of the maintenance we were able to do ourselves and some were done by service providers.
Teller cash recyclers were particularly important to us. We had our machines serviced annually to prevent any problems before they happened. TCR units are extremely expensive (the parts are too), so preventative maintenance saved us so much money.
But it wasn’t just the financial costs. Our TCRs were the main method our staff used to give and receive cash for our membership. These units allowed the staff time to execute transactions quickly while also freeing them up to get to know the membership, make small talk and even have important banking conversations. If one of these units went down, it took longer for transactions to occur, creating delays and major time crunches— especially during the holidays or other heavy traffic days.
Similar to the TCRs, we also had our drive-up equipment and self-service coin sorters get professionally serviced annually. However, we also conducted our own maintenance on these units on a monthly or quarterly basis.
Regular maintenance by branch staff was especially important for self-service coin sorters. These units get absolutely filthy in a remarkably short amount of time. Members would dump their coins in and pay no attention to anything else that might be going in with it. There were the common problems like lint or foreign coins that wouldn’t fit, but we also would see damaging objects like screws, bolts, and even a bullet one time (yes, it did go off inside the machine).
By taking the time each month to vacuum out and wipe down the unit (not just the reject bin, but the table and internal parts), the units lived well past their expected life. It ensured the equipment was always ready for our members to use, as well as giving us more time to budget for a new unit down the road. All of this was possible because we were consistent in our small efforts to maintain the equipment.