W&P Pumps says the right choice is crucial

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Choosing the right pump for the right job can be the difference between success and failure, so getting the right advice is crucial, according to W&P Pumps

Getting the right information and advice before purchasing a pump is the most important part of the process, W&P Pumps owner Wayne Surplice believes.

Surplice speaks with 35 years of industry experience, having started W&P Pumps as a family business in 1986 in the northern Victorian town of Kyabram.

Since then, he has seen plenty of change in the industry, witnessed the most common mistakes and built a wealth of knowledge about what to do – and what not to do.

With 35 years of experience, W&P Pumps knows the perfect pump for every application

He says the best approach with any new customer is for both parties to get as much information as possible about what the pump’s intended use is.

"Getting the right advice and information so you know what you are getting for your money is very important," says Surplice.

"Sometimes a job might seem more expensive, but from a longevity point of view it isn’t because you have fewer breakdowns.

"The first thing I’d do is ask ‘where are you pumping the water from, how far are you pumping the water and how often?'

"You want to ask whether you’re pumping out of a reuse dam, whether you are pumping direct out of a Goulburn Murray water channel system and how far your pipes and risers are going because that has a big bearing on your pipe size.

"The further you pump water in a pipeline, generally the bigger you need the pipe so you don’t get too much friction in the pipeline."

The crucial part of the process, and where W&P Pumps’ knowledge comes in, is "selecting the right pump for the job".

"There are many different types of pumps and in the industry we see a lot of wrong pumps selected for the job, which creates abnormal wear and tear and impacts the longevity of the pump’s life," says Surplice.

"Selecting the right pipe size is important – too small a pipe puts undue pressure on the pump and won’t be as efficient.

"Suction lines are also very important. If you put too small a suction line on your pump it will cavitate and damage the impeller.

"It won’t pump as efficiently and will damage the bearings in the pump.

"Bearing failures are the most common breakdown and I’d say 60 per cent of that is poor pump selection or undersized suction lines causing cavitation."

The starting point is to find out what the pump will be used for

After 35 years in the industry, there is no doubt that plenty has changed.

Surplice highlights the replacement of steel pipes with polyethylene as one of the major industry shifts, along with technology such as automation and remote starting of pumps and motors, plus more efficient uses of water.

There have also been systemic changes in the types of piping and pump systems that have been used, with W&P Pumps adapting to changes in the market.

"There are a lot more pipe and riser systems in now, so channels have been slowly closed down," Surplice says.

"When people start their pump up it’s more efficient, so water is coming out the end of the pipeline rather than having to fill a complete channel up and wasting water.

"There are a lot more centre pivots and drip irrigation – we’ve moved into that market at all.

"That’s a bit of a shift for our business and we’ve put a fantastic young fella on who is doing a great job.

"We’ve moved into spray irrigation, whereas predominantly it was flood before.

"That’s just responding to the shift in the market because you’ve got to be able to cater for everybody."

To stand the test of time and still be going strong after 35 years in a country town, and now employing 25 full-time workers, speaks to a focus on customer service and creating loyalty.

Surplice says a strong supply of local spare parts, around-the-clock breakdown service and an attitude of accountability are crucial to keeping customers happy.

"Anything we sell, we service, and the buck stops with us," he says.

"If a customer rings us at 6am on Sunday morning, someone will answer the phone.

"We always have a technician on call and we’re not the sort of business that switches our phones off on the weekends.

"We’ve got fantastic backup service and we keep a lot of spare parts in stock. If there is a breakdown, we’ve normally got the parts on the shelf.

"We sell Legend motors and we’ve got spare parts on hand in Kyabram, not in Melbourne or Sydney or elsewhere."

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