Switchboard service & maintenance: an attractive business!

Brendan MEEHAN, Managing Director of BMC manufacturing, panel builder in Ireland, describes the service and maintenance business he has developed, and all the benefits he gets from this complementary activity …

Why develop this service & maintenance offer?

We decided, because the panel building business is so competitive, that we would investigate other opportunities with better margins.

We considered creating a service and maintenance offer for two reasons …

1/ Direct Access to the End user:
During the normal project cycle, we sell the switchboards to a contractor, who sells to a main  building contractor who then delivers to the end user, so we don’t have access to that end user.

Through service and maintenance of the equipment we gain direct access to the end user and are well positioned for modifications to existing product or provision of new product.

2/ High Profit Margin:
Electrical Contractors don’t want to be directly involved in the service and maintenance of low voltage switchboards so they have no problem with us dealing directly which leaves more margin for us.

A service & maintenance package that nobody else offers in the market.

We wanted to offer a service and maintenance package that nobody else was offering in the market, at that time, so we looked at the technology and expertise available in house that we could provide to clients:

  • Thermal imaging
  • Electrical analysis
  • Electrical load analysis
  • Power factor analysis
  • Harmonic analysis
  • Function testing
  • Service of components
  • etc…

We had a complete and comprehensive technical offer but we wanted to offer more, we thought that if all of the information relating to the clients equipments was available for the client to access over the web this would be very attractive to them.

To do this we developed a specific section on our website designed to handle both Electrical switchgear & UPS service & maintenance.

Each Client has a unique User ID & password to access their information on the BMC website.

Within their section of our website we can set up an unlimited number of sub sections to cater for clients who might have multiple locations which they want to identify separately and with these sections every piece of information is there and available for them to access:

  • a timetable showing when the preventive site visit is due to take place
  • a log of all service call-outs,
  • a log of emergency calls to our help line
  • reports from each service visit,
  • thermal imaging reports,
  • the Operation & Maintenance (O&M) manuals to download
  • all test certificates and documentation.

This is a unique offer in our industry sector in Ireland, it has differentiated BMC from the other players. Clients have recognised the enormous benefit of having access to all of this documentation and information over the web.  It has removed some of the hardship for them in terms of keeping, storing and having access to the documentation when they need it. Having this functionality has definitely benefited us in terms of closing deals for service & maintenance. I know for a fact that there are a number of orders we have won specifically because we had this system..

A service & maintenance package is offered to all end users prior to the expiration of the warranty period on the equipment.

When a project is complete, and the equipment is on-site, there is obviously a warranty period on this equipment. Prior to the end of this warranty period, we make contact with end-user, advise them that the warranty will end on a particular date, and that we have this service and maintenance offer which we would like to talk & discuss with them … that’s the process we follow

It has proven significant and attractive in terms of revenue

We have grown this service & maintenance business from zero to being now in the order of just €1M per annum, so it is very significant in terms of margin.

Delivers extra panel building business due to direct contact with end-users.

As we have direct contact with the end-user, it also means that if there are modifications to be done, or if they are building a new plant, they can specify us or they can come directly to us. On a number of occasions, it has happened that the end-users instructed the main contractor that BMC would do the modifications or that BMC would provide the switchboards, it is very important that we provide good  value for money and don’t take advantage of this position.

Brendan MEEHAN
BMC Manufacturing, Ireland


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