Crews across the country are battling a “Season of Shivers," which is the theme of this year's Farmer’s Almanac winter weather forecast of “bone-chilling with below-average temperatures across most of the United States.” Procurement leaders are working to ensure their school or agency’s crew members have the best equipment to prevent product repairs, downtime, damage and injury due to weather.Prepping your facilities comes with a lot to manage- maintenance, repair & operations (MRO), cabling and networking, roofing, electrical and lighting, grounds maintenance, heavy equipment sales, rentals and more.
Procurement teams are managing a large spend cube and several factors to take into consideration while purchasing for changing outdoor conditions. Partnering with a cooperative purchasing organization gives you immediate access to suppliers who specialize in winterizing your equipment and buildings while protecting your teams doing the work.
We've highlighted critical steps that you can take with your cooperative to protect your people and equipment during a harsh winter.
The Effects of Winter Weather on Your Organization
Extreme weather adds stress as crews must allow more time on routine tasks due to different worksite hazards. Production is inevitably impacted and may slow, and your teams still have to meet deadlines.
Harsh winter conditions can also negatively affect materials being used on facilities projects such as wood, steel, paints, concrete, adhesives/glue and more. Construction teams deal with changes in steel when temps fall below freezing. The material becomes brittle and instead of bending, steel can shatter. The dry weather associated with cold can make a project’s wood shrink a great deal and when curing concrete, ice can damage long term integrity by cracking.
The materials and products must be adaptive to any climate to ensure the structure of the project is not compromised. Due to the risks faced in winter, procurements leaders can use this as an opportunity to leverage their cooperative partner to find supplier solutions that keep their stakeholders safe and productivity maintained.
Steps to Protecting Your People & Fleet
Now that you’re up to speed on what your stakeholders are dealing with while handling various equipment and materials, let's take a look at winterization solutions you can access right now.
OMNIA Partners supplier HercRentals offers a variety of portable heaters to protect materials like concrete, steel beams, paints and more mentioned above.
To ensure your equipment fleet is safe and ready for your teams to use, supplier partner Caterpillar (CAT) has a winterization checklist:
1. Check Your Oil: It's a good idea to use low viscosity oil in the winter so it flows faster. Change oil before and after winter
2. Visually inspect tracks and tires: Remove debris/snow often and make sure tires are properly inflated.
3. Inspect hoses and belts: Especially sensitive in extreme cold.
4. Keep your fuel tank topped off: Refilling fuel after every shift helps prevent condensation which can lead to water freezing in the fuel line.
5. Keep an eye on your diesel exhaust fluid (DEF): It’ll freeze at 12 degrees. Warm & thaw DEF to keep machine running or drain DEF if equipment not used in winter.
6. Check your battery: Make sure battery electrolyte is filled to recommended level, check alternator & test the battery. Remove battery if not using the machine in winter.
To be prepared for a dangerous situation, supplier partner Advanced Auto Parts has a list of items to keep in your emergency kit.
There’s an increased risk of injury when snow and ice cover the parking lot and walkways around your facility. As your organization switches from dealing with tall grass to snow piled up, OMNIA Partners supplier Grasshopper has a 7-step process of ensuring mowers are ready for winter work.
Cooperative Purchasing Solutions When You Need Them Most
Purchasing teams have access to a robust contract portfolio through their cooperative to make sure the proper tools and protocols are in place at their school or agency throughout the entire year. The purchasing power of cooperatives paired with the vast list of industry leading supplier partners is the perfect recipe for success within your organization.