Recently, Peterson Cat’s Chico store became a Caterpillar-certified Five Star Contamination Control facility, indicating that the store is acting in accordance with Caterpillar’s meticulous contamination control procedures.
As many machine owners and operators know, contamination is responsible for the majority of hydraulic systems failures, and it can enter clean systems during maintenance. This is why Caterpillar places an emphasis on clean shops, and a dealership can only claim to be 5-Star certified after scoring more than 95% on a 16-section, 94-standard review of its facilities and procedures.
Milt Taylor, Chico Product Support Manager, explained how the Chico store was able to earn certification: “The process started for us in February,” Milt explained. “A Cat Technical Communicator visited our facility and checked our wash facility, fuel injection test bench, hydraulic cylinder and hose rebuild areas, and transmission bench and verified that we followed proper parts and fluid storage procedures. By the end of the visit, we had a list of areas for improvement, and we made it our mission to address them.”
So Milt and the team went to work to bring Chico up to Caterpillar’s strict standards, but it was not an easy—or a quick—process: “It was like eating an elephant,” Milt said. “We took small bites and kept at it. It was a lengthy, laborious process.” After approximately six months of work, Caterpillar’s Parts and Service Operations Rep surprised Milt and the team with an unannounced inspection of the facilities.
The Chico store passed with a score of 470 out of 492 possible points, or 95.5%. Their hard work was rewarded with certification!
According to Milt, the Chico team worked together to earn certification, and have done a
great job in making sure that the improvements they initiated remain in place: “Teamwork was the deciding factor in earning certification,” Milt said. “No one person could have brought this store into compliance with Cat’s requirements for a five-star facility. Our shop foremen took the lead in organizing our efforts, and every person at the store joined the fight. We made contamination control our priority and changed our way of thinking—following proper procedures is a better way to do business and we all recognize that. We don’t leave parts on the floor, we clean equipment when it comes in the shop, we battle dust and dirt on a daily basis… It’s something that we do to set ourselves above the competition and deliver value to our customers.”
According to Milt, customers at the Chico store have definitely noticed the difference: “Our customers noticed differences in the shop as soon as we started pursuing Five-Star Certification,” he said. “I’ve gotten several positive comments about the shop’s cleanliness. One customer even said, ‘I can’t believe how clean it is! You guys work here?’ It blows them away, and it represents the quality of our rebuilds and repairs.”