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Equipment failure

Equipment FailureDon't let Equipment Failure control your outcome

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Equipment Failure is Inevitable

Everyone who has lived beyond the age of 10 has experienced equipment failure.  Even the kids have cell phones by age 9, a computer by age 10 and a reliance on electronics.  From the time babies leave the womb, they are destine to rely on equipment.  Lets face it, most of us can’t keep from stressing out if our cell phone batteries are showing low. Never mind, that nothing is actually broke.  The very thought of being without our electronic life lines scares us.  It’s hard to imagine life without equipment.  Consider your immediate surroundings during the day; copier, printers, cell phones, digital telephones, servers, shredders, head sets, electric everything, electronics everywhere.

Don’t Let the Stress Of Equipment Failure Overpower You

We’re all guilty of letting the little things get to us.  There is no way around it sometimes. As humans, we are prone to anger, anxiety and at times utter despair.  However, its important that we maintain our perspective so we can perform at high levels.  More importantly, our very sanity and well being depend on keeping cool when its rough.   The copier breaking just when you need it most is an example most office people have faced.  It seems pretty bad when the deadline is coming up fast.  If the deadline is a half hour ago and the copier repair guy isn’t here yet, its time to get radical.   But is it?   Is it going to help make the copier work better if you yell and kick and your blood boils?   Take a deep breath and let it out slow and controlled. Breath into a bag, if you must.

Be Prepared for Those Things That Will Happen and Are Beyond Your Control

Mechanical items are going to break. So, we need to have a plan “B”  for the worst case contingencies.   This is part of our risk management strategy.   Take the copier example, for instance.  Is it realistic that your copier breaks at the most critical times?   If it breaks at crunch time, how much of a problem does that create?  If your answers to those two questions don’t concern you, you may not need a plan B.  Conversely, you need to have a backup plan if you dread the though of the machine breaking at crucial times.  A best practices approach is for you or someone you delegate, to assess the effect of equipment failure for each piece of equipment in your office.

Backup Plans Required for the Anticipated Equipment Failure

Once your equipment failure cost analysis is complete, its time to plan.  Consider purchasing or leasing a secondary machine for backup.  It won’t make sense for some equipment.  For others, it may be a needed addition.   Keep in mind this second machine will not likely be used as heavily. The purpose of a backup machine is to reduce office stress and facilitate production at times when the primary system is down.   If you can also make use of this second machine during other peak times, that’s a bonus.  You might consider a good used machine with a warranty and service coverage.  On the other hand, you may be fine with a $300.00 desktop machine to get you by the tight spots.

The extra cost can improve the work environment

Imagine how good you will feel when the copier takes a dump and your  office staff has a backup machine.  Your employees will appreciate being able to continue their work, uninterrupted.  If you are the one to make the copies,  you will benefit from not having to hang out at the office longer than you might have otherwise. If you have a backup machine, perhaps your spouse or partner will benefit because you are at home earlier.    The stress of not having a back up plan may have greater cost than the cost of having a second machine.   This example was a copier.  Suppose it was a printer or a widget or a whatever.   Take inventory and see where you are with your back up plans.

Here’s 6 ways to keep stress in your office to a minimum:

  1. Recognize how and when things go wrong, before they go wrong.  Identify the problem the first time you experience it and pay attention to it.  Determine if the problem is a one off, or if its likely to recur.
  2. Develop a plan “B” for each problem you anticipate.  The recurring ones, such as a printer breaking, are the ones you need to focus on.  Having a backup plan will give you comfort, confidence and security.
  3. Rank the importance of each task associated with malfunctions (problems) in the scheme of your business or job.  The malfunctions that affect the most critical, time sensitive tasks should take priority with respect to configuring a back up plan to accomplish the task.
  4. Above all else, mentally prepare yourself by knowing how you will behave if a specific problem comes up at the worst possible time.  For example, visualize the actual occurrence of the problem and put yourself in that place. Work through the situation and see yourself making the best of the scenario.   That way, when the actual prolem presents itself, you will have already survived it once, in your minds eye.  Now, you are ready to face the contingency head on with confidence and resolve.
  5. Purchase or lease back up equipment to temporarily meet critical needs, when equipment breaks or needs down time for service.  For instance, I’ve had many customers or prospective ones tell me how they cannot function when their copier (MFP) goes down.   If that’s the case for you, get a back up.   How many times will the copier have to break to make a back up worthwhile?
  6. Be realistic with your expectations and don’t simply will the worst not to happen.  For instance, as much as customers tell me how important their copier working 100% of the time is, neither my service personnel nor anybody else’s is going to keep a copier from breaking on occasion.  Face it, they don’t break when you’re not using them.  It’s during intense use and mission critical projects the copier seizes up.  Perhaps an older used one will serve as a backup.   The point is; just have a backup where its needed.   You’ll be glad and not nearly as angry when the problem arises.


Things are not going to work out sometimes. Technology and things are going to break, for one. Life is just going to happen at times when you’re not ready for it. However, you can be prepared for those undesirable situations that you can count on happening.  In doing so, you’re less likely to suffer from anxiety and you’ll keep your stress levels at bay. Always Have a back up plan “B”.  In some cases, redundant equipment may be required.  Spend the money when that’s the case.  Your business and your sanity are worth it. In other cases, simply make a contingency plan to follow, should the need arise.


About the author

Eric Klee

My name is Eric Klee. I've been in the equipment leasing and service business since my first professional job in 1984, in Saginaw Michigan. I've owned several small businesses, including two copier companies. I presently own Digicor, inc., an independent copier sales, service and leasing compay I began in 2000. I call Tampa Bay, Florida home, having moved here from Flushing Michigan in 1989.

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