Coach’s Corner: A Proactive Approach to Snow and Ice Management

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In this edition of Coach’s Corner, Regional Snow Manager Josh Nichols is subbing in for Coach K (Joe Ketterer, Director of Quality and Efficiency) to talk about his area of expertise.

The winter season is upon us—our landscape management teams are focused on completing final mowing and leaf removal operations, and at the same time, they are making final preparations for snow and ice management operations. Although this is the time of year when snow operations are top of mind, we really start preparing as early as summer. When I joined the Ruppert team earlier this year as regional snow manager, my goal was to create a plan that emphasized a year-round focus on snow and ice management.

Here are some of the critical items that we have focused on throughout the summer and fall months to help better prepare and minimize the stress of our teams and customers later in the year:

Equipment

  • Taking inventory of all snow removal equipment, including plows, push boxes, salters, snow blowers, and shovels, and ensuring these items are serviced and ready to go. (See our most recent Fleet Speak article for more on this.)
  • Planning for new equipment purchases to support new business. Machine rental is also a big part of our operation and making sure we have our vendor secured is important. Working together to project seasonal quantities will ensure we have the right number of machines before the first snowfall.

Materials

Securing de-icing materials in the summer months helps ensure the best price and quantities that will cover our needs for an average or above average season.

In addition to granular materials, liquids are becoming more popular and another important tool to have in our toolbox to manage what mother nature sends our way. In this photo, you can see the difference between the areas which were treated with liquid de-icer the day prior to snowfall and those which were left untreated.

Service Partners

Developing partnerships is critical to help support our snow business. Identifying companies who have the right resources and team members that compliment our team takes time. We are always looking to partner with great companies. If you feel you fit these criteria or know someone who does, reach out to start the conversation now: jnichols@ruppertcompanies.com

Administrative

There is a lot of administrative work related to snow and ice management. These include customer and service partner agreements, 3rd party weather services, snow plans to allocate equipment and resources, and pre- and post-season site inspections.

Training

Evaluating the prior year’s training curriculum and identifying any additional topics to include, such as liquid pre-treatments, application rates, and pro-active communication—internally and externally. Snow and ice management is a business that requires an all hands on deck approach. Proper training and focusing on safety at the branch level will set the stage for a great winter season.

Waiting until the last-minute causes stress that can be avoided. A proactive, year-round approach to planning for snow and ice operations will allow our teams to be ready for the season and instill confidence in our customers. With this plan in place, we are ready to say Let It Snow!