Thank you to everyone who has been engaging me in thought-provoking discussion over each of the points of focus from my European trip. So many good ideas continue to flow… and already they are making a difference in our maintenance program here at SoccerPlex.
The 3rd point to discuss is the manner in which several of the European sports field operations run so self-sufficiently and how they are highly efficient in all of their tasks. With training grounds similar to the size of the 22-field Maryland SoccerPlex, several of the operations that I observed are similar to ours. However, ultimately, their operations run very differently.
Many of the major maintenance and renovation techniques that take place in Europe are done in-house by field maintenance crews. Specialized contractors are still involved, but many operations have their own equipment to do the tasks on their own as well.
The European operations are more self-sufficient partially because they are so efficient as well though. Tractors in the 100 hp range are not uncommon. A 63″ aerator (our biggest) is small by Euro standards. From a man power stand point, they are able to get many more tasks completed with fewer people because fewer hours are spent in operation of equipment. The extra time equates into the ability to accomplish more tasks “in-house”. It seems so simple, but yet it seems so ingenious! Especially with the security of completing tasks such as aeration more quickly- 1 aeration cycle takes up to 2 week for our SoccerPlex crews to finish. Staggered staffing and overtime make up the time to finish each cycle because 2 weeks un-interrupted by weather or play does not exist. Increased efficiency reduces those challenges.
This discussion ultimately connects us back to my previous post on confidence and aggressiveness. Taking on such tasks such as renovation in-house is a large undertaking! As is the operation of larger equipment. But in the end, it establishes a maintenance program that is absolutely always on “offense”!