UPS Service Plan or Pay-As-You-Go: Weighing the Options
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When it comes to choosing the best UPS preventative maintenance strategy for your organization, one size does not fit all. There are numerous approaches to UPS maintenance: you can get comprehensive protection from an independent service provider, undergo Time and Material (T&M) service or enter into a basic support agreement.
Before deciding on the best policy for your organization, it is important to consider both the complexity of the UPS system and their importance to your business. For example, does your UPS support mission-critical applications? In the event of a UPS failure, could your organization afford an uncertain amount of downtime until a technician was available for a service call? Can the business handle the costs of additional service, parts and repairs?
Purchasing a support agreement/service contract from a third-party organization offers numerous benefits. These providers typically offer a broad range of services for both UPSs and other power quality equipment. These services include: professional maintenance, consulting, start-up, installation and emergency service. Contracts can usually be custom-tailored to meet any need, and generally combines parts and labor coverage for the UPS’s electronics, batteries or both. Contracts can include at least one annual preventive maintenance inspection. Customers also have the option of bolstering protection with features such as remote monitoring, battery replacement insurance and spare part kits.
A service plan purchased through an independent service provider is often priced lower than those available through UPS manufacturers. When compared to T&M service, the upfront cost can be less over the long term. However, it is impossible to put a price tag on the peace of mind afforded by a UPS maintenance plan. Consider some of the advantages: 24/7 coverage, guaranteed response time and preventive maintenance coverage.
On the other hand, some organizations opt for T&M service, a pay-as-you-go approach in which the service provider performs UPS repair only as needed. Although T&M service doesn’t require an upfront charge, it can quickly end up being more expensive over the lifetime of a UPS. Of course, this all depends on the number of problems experienced and their severity. Available at any time to all customers, T&M is typically charged per hour (often with a minimum number of hours required) and fees are usually higher, after-hours and on weekends. Keep in mind that with T&M, replacement parts tend to be expensive. But perhaps the biggest drawback is response time — which is typically “best effort” with no guarantee of arrival, since customers with existing service agreements are always given priority over T&M customers.
Even though slow response times during, additional expensed and unplanned repairs tend to make T&M less attractive mission-critical organizations, it can be appropriate in certain situations. For example: repair of old UPS models where no service contract is available or in environments where a UPS is not being fully utilized.
What is best for your business? Look into both options and see what better meets the needs of your business/ organization.
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